Museum no. T.717 & A-1974
Given by the Duke of Windsor
The lounge suit dominated men's dress from the 1920s onwards. It was worn at events and in places where in previous decades more formal attire would have been required. By 1940s men were wearing lounge suits with a pullover in place of a waistcoat. Pullovers were previously worn for informal and sporting occasions but they gradually became integrated into mainstream fashion.
This suit was worn by HRH The Duke of Windsor. As Prince of Wales he had been crowned King Edward VIII in 1936, but he abdicated the same year and took the title of The Duke of Windsor. The Duke was acknowledged internationally as the leader of men's fashion. He rebelled against the stiff formality of dress and became famous for his casual style. Using the best London and New York tailors, he continued to be adventurous in his love of bright colour, strong texture and bold pattern.
The Duke gave this suit to Sir Cecil Beaton, who was then collecting fashionable dress for his 1971 exhibition, Fashion: An Anthology.