You already know everything there is to know about the royals’ style secrets (the day we found out about those hem weights was a game changer). And you better believe there’s as much thought put into what goes underneath the outfits as there for the elements the camera actually sees. The palace actually has an official corsetiere, June Kenton of premier lingerie retailer Rigby & Peller. She’s had the Royal Warrant to fit Queen Elizabeth II for 33 years, and has worked with Princess Margaret and Princess Diana as well.
Last week, Rigby & Peller opened its first U.S. stores (they have more than a dozen shops all over the country!). We caught up with Kenton at the launch of their 5th Avenue flagship location in N.Y.C., and chatted with her all about her experience as a royal fit master.
Ian Rutherford/PA Wire; Courtesy Sean Smith/Rigby
For Kenton, nothing compares to the experience of meeting the Queen, whom she encountered for the first time in her bedroom at Buckingham Palace in 1982! And though we imagine there would be some nerves in getting so close to the U.K.’s longest-reigning Queen in history, Kenton says that the experience doesn’t differ much for Her Majesty or a regular gal off the street.
“Every woman in the world grew two, and these two that are here need to be sorted out. The Queen is no different from any of our customers because they need to be seen to, and they need to be wearing the correct size,” she says. “They don’t need to have two here, two more up here and two more under their arms.” (Here she’s pointing at various spots on her torso, referencing the tragic lumps and bumps that can appear down your front if you’re wearing the wrong sized bra.)
Okay, there is one key difference between fitting the Queen and a commoner: “Well, I wouldn’t think that anybody walks into my store where I would have to curtsy and say, ‘Good morning, Your Majesty!’ It’s nothing like fitting anybody else really. It really isn’t. And that’s the wonderful joy of it.”
For Kenton, the most important thing about creating garments for the Queen is “to make sure it fits her,” says Kenton. “That’s the first thing. The most important thing. To make sure that she looks amazing because we know that whatever she’s going to be wearing over it has got to look good … Anybody who is wearing the wrong underwear underneath, their clothes look terrible.”
Ready for the royal treatment? Your first step is to enlist in the brand’s “Lingerie Styling,” an intricate fitting process where you’re matched with everything from bras and panties to sleepwear and swimwear. (But sorry, you can’t just order the full Queen Package right off the shelf — she opts for exclusively made-to-measure pieces made at the U.K. brand’s Knightsbridge location).
Courtesy Rigby & Peller
Through her many years in the business, Kenton has learned a lot about women’s lingerie shopping habits. “Everybody is different. There are some people who wear their bras until they’re falling off of them. And some people just collect bras because they love new bras and they love the new styles. It all depends,” she says. But is the Queen one of those collectors? “No, I think she’s quite frugal,” says Kenton. “She doesn’t order things she doesn’t need.”
When asked to sum up how it feels to see the Queen step out and know she’s wearing Rigby & Peller, Kenton says: “Total pride.”