Princess Fawzia, the oldest member of the Egyptian Royal Family who celebrated her 91st birthday three days ago (5Nov.) -while this blog celebrated its first anniversary- wasn’t only the princess of Egypt or just the princess -then queen- of Iran. but she also was one of the most stylish women in the world in the 40’s and early 50’s.

Queen Fawzia wearing a gown in Iran

Today, we’ll celebrate her highness’s birthday by sharing few tidbits of what she’s done with few designers in her fashion-glory days.

Renown costume designer Ray Aghayan -who designed outfits for stars like Barbra Streisand and Diana Ross and was nominated for an Oscar- said that one of his biggest challenges was designing an outfit for Queen Fawzia of Iran.

The queen had to be wearing mourning clothes, and the 14 year-old child -who the queen had heard about him from friends as his mother was also designing for the Persian royal family- had to face the challenge of designing a mourning outfit that still would not make the queen look extinguished. Ray ended up drawing a sketch of “this big black tulle thing trimmed with droopy red ostrich feathers” the outfit was sewn, the result was glamorous, the queen was impressed.
And that had the biggest impact on Aghayan who shortly after that traveled to seek his dream to end up as one of the best costume designers in history.
Sadly, we have no photos of that outfit or any other dresses that Ray Aghayan made for the Queen.

After the 1948 divorce from the Shah, Fawzia’s sense of style stayed as bold as it was, However she started dealing with more luxurious designers.

Shortly after the divorce, Princess Fawzia went to the famous, French milliner Suzanne Talbot and ordered 100 hats, just because she decided to wear hats.

Below a picture of the princess wearing a hat in 1949 and some photos of Suzanne Talbot’s creations from 1948, Do you think her highness has worn any of them?

2 years later, in 1951, the princess of Egypt attended the Jacques Fath who showed his midseason collection, Fawzia and her sisters reportedly ordered “coats, cocktail gowns, evening dresses, fur garments and casual outfit”, and alone Fawzia also ordered a large number of formal suits.

 Below some looks from Jacques’ 1951 collections

Jacques has also designed Rita Hayworth- who isn’t so respected in Egypt- wedding dress to Agha Khan.

But the most glamorous piece of news about Asian Venus’ -as described by the best photographer of all, Cecil Beaton- is the one with an Indian designer who rocked the creme de la creme of the world for some years.

That was when Princess Sumair, who her father was a maharaja, decided to do fashion (her whole family was against that). Sumair went for extra-glamorous designs, with gowns inspired by saris and beaded with silver and gold thread and encrusted with real gemstones. Not only that, She also designed jewelry.

Princess Sumair showed her first collection in winter 1951 in Paris, and of course Princess Fawzia was invited.

Princess Sumiar (Left) with Happy Rockefeller, USA’s second lady

The princess (Sumiar) showed a strapless gown in green gauze and heavy with pure gold threads, guests who were dazzled by how extravagant it was did not know that the other princess (Fawzia) had already bought the dress before the show for the price of 2 million francs ($5000, and around 1000 Egyptian pounds).

Luckily I have a picture from the show!

It’s the one in the middle, shown with a ruby necklace which was said to have taken 4000 hours to make.

To get the idea of how she looked wearing it, we have a photo from 1948 of the princess wearing a strapless gown with sequins for a gala at AlTahra Palace.

Close up HERE, Note her necklace, a post about it soon!

And finally, our last tidbit, is that one in “Talak Embratoora”, “Divorce of An Empress” by Kareem Sabet (published after the revolution)
The story says that the princess had met all the couturiers in Egypt, even those in Alexandria were asked to come to Cairo, and she ordered clothes from them all along with the clothes she ordered from Italy and Paris, for the total amount of 14 thousand pounds in less than a month (more than 60 thousand dollars back then). As a result, her brother King Farouk, had given her a not so nice warning about how she’ll get herself broke if she kept spending that way on clothes!

Princess Fawzia wearing a white dress with a draped detail with a beaded clutch for a reception at Abdeen Palace.

Those were few tidbits about this Egyptian beauty’s days of glam.

What do you think about Princess Fawzia and her sense of style?

P.S: stay tuned for a set of posts regarding her grand wedding soon.