Fashion Hall of Obscurity – Joe Allen Hong

With the upcoming royal wedding I thought it might be interesting to look at some other famous royal wedding dresses…

The dress worn by Grace Kelly on April 19, 1956 to marry Prince Rainier III of Monaco was a gift from MGM, the studio where Grace Kelly had been contracted. Kelly still had a seven year contract outstanding with the studio when she left to marry Rainier. In exchange for breaking the contract, MGM was granted permission to film the wedding — a decision Princess Grace later wished she had not agreed to due to the invasiveness of the cameras. A perk of the deal included a wedding dress designed by MGM costume designer Helen Rose, but the rest of the bridal party’s clothes were designed by Joe Allen Hong, the subject of this installment of the ‘obscurier couturier.’

Joe Allen Hong was born in El Paso, Texas on November 28, 1930 and attended the California College of Arts and Crafts. After a short stint in the army, he landed a job as a fashion designer for Neiman Marcus.

At the urging of Lawrence Marcus, Hong entered a competition to design the bridesmaid and flower girl’s dresses for the royal wedding, and won! The pale yellow dresses were demure and in keeping with the royal status of the wedding dress. The flower girl’s dresses were embroidered with tiny floral sprigs, in keeping with the spring time date of the wedding.

Hong eventually settled in San Francisco where his designing talent extended beyond the realm of fashion to include everything from posters to the gift box design for Joseph Magnin Co. Hong died on February 28, 2004.

About Jonathan

Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian. He was the founding curator of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, and the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. He has amassed a collection of nearly 8,000 items dating from the mid 17th century to the present, and has written various books and museum catalogues, including The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A-Z, Forties Fashion, 1950s American Fashion, and Sixties Fashion.
This entry was posted in Designers/Couturiers, Obscurier Couturiers, Wedding and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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