Tribute to Doug Darnell

This year in May it will be exactly 10 years ago that Doug Darnell passed away.  As fans of the Dame are aware Doug made many of Dame Shirley’s stage gowns throughout her long career. Some of them were even given names by the fans such as the ‘Mermaid’ gown and ‘Tassel’ gown as well as the gown worn by Shirley on the cover of the ‘Something’ album. He also designed a gown that started life in the 1950’s and was still being worn by Dame Shirley in the 1980’s although much altered from its original conception by then. It was the ‘Diamond Gown’. One of his most famous creations was of course the Catsuit.

Doug was also responsible for the ‘Catsuit’ which Dame Shirley wore a number of times. Another creation was what became known as the ‘Gownless Evening Strap’ which was held together by one hook.

As well as Dame Shirley, Doug also designed stage gowns for Dorothy Squires and his partner designed the gowns for Dusty Springfield. The label of their fashion house was ‘Darnell of London’.

Today’s Video Show Case is a tribute to Dame Shirley’s dear friend and stage dress designer. Below an interview with Doug and the Dame from 2003 when Dame Shirley auctioned 50 of her stage gowns for charity at Christie’s in London. Also a video from 1994 from Dame Shirley’s documentary Have Voice Will Travel where Doug speaks about her and the dresses. CLICK HERE for 18 of Dame Shirley’s most fabulous looks. (From Vogue)

Doug Darnell & Dame Shirley Bassey


Doug Darnell presenting Dame Shirley a bouquet of flowers at her 1973 Royal Albert Hall concert

4 thoughts on “Tribute to Doug Darnell”

  1. RIP Doug. A true ‘frock’making genius. We loved your fabulous creations and they will live on forever in the hearts of all Bassey fans!


  2. I saw dame Shirley in Gown number 20 in the early 60s,she called it the Cardinal Outfit, I remember Doug’s sister being involved in the outfit ! Memory anyone ?
    RIP Doug.


  3. What a fashion genius Douglas Darnell was. I loved the gown he designed for her 1990 show at Atlantic City, and the Black/ White tassel gown, but all the gowns were Fabulous. Thanks a lot Pieter.


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