She was the girl that caught the king’s eye. Beautiful, intriguing and witty, the young Anne Boleyn found herself the object of King Henry VIII’s desire. She is perhaps best known as the other Boleyn girl, the sister that turned down the role of king’s mistress and instead held out for the crown.
She rose from a lady in waiting to Queen of England. During her journey, she claimed power for her family, set fashion trends, pursued learning, helped usher in a historic break between the Church of England and Rome and gave birth to a future queen.
After spending time in the French court as a young girl, Anne returned to England with style and accomplishments that had all the handsome courtiers vying for her heart. Her time in the foreign court likely inspired much of her good taste, giving her design inspiration that was quickly copied by other ladies of the court.
But not all of her fashion choices were for style alone. There was also a layer of practicality since her long sleeves covered her 6th finger nail and her iconic choker is said to have covered a mole or cyst. Regardless of the reasons that inspired her dress and accessory selections, the trends took off and continue to inspire modern designs like those of Valentino.
The Fall 2016 couture collection featured elements of Anne’s Tudor era, as well as the later elements seen in her daughter’s reign in the Elizabethan era. Though not totally Tudor in spirit, I couldn’t help but think of Anne and her epic story with Valentino’s use of rich tones, including dramatic shades of red juxtaposed with classic black and white.
I can imagine her walking the halls the palace, her heavy brocade dresses skimming the stone floors and the sound of her laughter filling the air as she enjoys the jokes of an admiring courtier. With her dark looks, elegance and intelligence, she was endlessly attracting suitors, including the king himself.
As Anne’s journey to the throne soon turned into a path to the chopping block, the looks turn darker with red color blocking to symbolize the end of her story at the Tower of London. No longer captivating on the royal stage, Anne became the Lady in the Tower.
After rising to the top, the intrigues of the court and heart of the king betrayed the young queen. Anne’s crown would soon pass to the next queen, putting Anne in the ranks of Henry’s six wives.
Though her life came to an untimely end, her story remains forever entwined with the history of England and even hundreds of years later, Anne keeps everyone intrigued.
Runway Photos: Vogue.com