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Meghan Markle Could Take Lessons From This Royal Shoe Designer’s Exhibit

Every girl dreams of her Cinderella moment, and with the upcoming nuptials of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, royal shoes are at the forefront of all our minds. Tullie House Museum in Carlisle, England, is exhibiting one of the largest displays of footwear from former royal cobbler H & M Rayne.

“Rayne: Shoes for Stars” features styles worn by movie stars including Elizabeth Taylor, Marlene Dietrich and Brigitte Bardot.

However, the brand was also the shoemaker of choice for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, who ordered her 1947 wedding and 1953 coronation shoes from Rayne. Other Royal clients have included Princess Margaret, Princess Diana and the Queen’s grandmother, Queen Mary, who issued the company with the first of three Royal Warrants in 1936.

Black suede trellis pierced platform slingback sandals, c 1948.
Black suede trellis pierced platform slingback sandals, c 1948.
CREDIT: Rayne

The exhibition displays shoes from the 1920s to the present day and tells the story of how Rayne developed its business from supplying the Victorian theater trade to becoming the favored shoemaker for royalty. Of particular note are a pair of trellis pierced platform sandals and another gilt-trimmed version which are similar to those worn by Queen Mary and the Queen Mother. Likewise, a pair of white satin wedge sandals are similar to a pair made for Vivien Leigh, who wore them in the movie “Anthony and Cleopatra.”

From the 1950s, the shoes were designed to complement outfits by Norman Hartnell and Hardy Amies, and Rayne also collaborated with Mary Quant, Christian Dior and Bruce Oldfield.

White satin ribbon wedge open sandals, c. 1947.
White satin ribbon wedge open sandals, c. 1947.
CREDIT: Rayne

Said Tullie House director Andrew Mackay: “We are excited and honored to be working with Rayne and guest curator Michael Pick to illuminate the history of a great British family company dedicated to the creation of some of the world’s finest couture shoes.”

The exhibition runs through June 3. Visit Tulliehouse.co.uk for details.

Silver gilt-trimmed black reptile open-toe platform sandals, c. 1947
Silver gilt-trimmed black reptile open-toe platform sandals, c. 1947.
CREDIT: Rayne
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