See Princess Margaret’s iconic 21st birthday dress in London before tickets sell out

Bringing some extra glamour to the capital, an exhibition showcasing designer Dior’s relationship with Britain is set to open at London’s V&A museum on Saturday.

Spanning from 1947 to the present day, Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, covers his work in eleven equally stunning sections, with fans of the designer able to see his most famous pieces up close.

Although the whole exhibition is packed full of gorgeous couture dresses, there’s one very special gown that everyone will be keen to catch a glimpse of. Set in the a towering glass cylinder in the centre of one of the rooms, is the iconic dress Princess Margaret wore to celebrate her 21st birthday.

Having formed a close relationship with Dior after she visited him at his atelier in 1949, he was the obvious choice to design her milestone birthday gown.

And although the dress, made famous by Cecil Beaton in Princess Margaret’s birthday portrait, is instantly recognisable to most – there are some hidden details you may not have noticed.

Speaking to The Telegraph, exhibition curator Oriole Cullen revealed, "to see it up close is very interesting as it has straw embroidery on it, which I think is not necessarily what you’d expect to see decorating a royal.

"This dress is one of the highlights from the exhibition’s Dior in Britain section, charting Christian Dior’s fascination with British culture."

Whilst some may have been surprised to hear French designer Dior formed such tight bond with the British royal family, he once revealed a love for all things English.

He said, "there is no other country in the world, besides my own, whose way of life I like so much. I love English traditions, English politeness, English architecture. I even love English cooking."

Due to huge demand for tickets, they’re likely to sell out – so snap yours up quick from the V&A website to avoid disappointment.

Adult tickets are priced at £24 for the first four weeks and last four weeks of the exhibition run, and will cost between £20 and £22 for the interim weeks.

Jess Beech

Jess Beech is an experienced fashion and beauty editor, with more than eight years experience in the publishing industry. She has written for woman&home, GoodtoKnow, Now, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own and Chat, and is currently Deputy Fashion & Beauty Editor at Future PLC. 


She caught the magazine bug during a stint as Fashion Editor of her university newspaper alongside her English degree, and hasn’t looked back since. As for the fashion bug, that came as part and parcel of growing up in the 90s, but the less said about that the better!


Jess’ average day in the office is spent researching the latest fashion trends, chatting to industry tastemakers and scouring the internet to bring you this season’s must-buy pieces - as well as advice on how to wear them. Weekends are equally fashion-focused, and Jess has been known to visit no less than five Zara stores in a single day in search of the perfect occasion dress. 


The only thing that comes close to a buzz of finally tracking down that much-coveted dress is the joy of discovering a new beauty wonder product or hero ingredient. A beauty obsessive, Jess has tried everything from cryotherapy to chemical peels (minus the Samantha in Sex and The City-worthy redness) and interviewed experts including Jo Malone and Trinny Woodall.