Paper iPad app turns Royal fashion exhibit interactive at Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace has teamed up with 53, the developer behind the popular iPad exclusive app Paper, to create a dedicated version of the app to accompany the palace's new show, Fashion Rules.

The exhibit, which looks at the changing dress styles of the royal household between the 1950s and 1980s, features a number of dresses worn by HM Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales showing how fashion has changed while the Queen has been on the throne.

But rather than take the more traditional route favoured by many exhibitors, the curators of the exhibition, along with Tim Powell, digital media manager for the Historic Royal Palaces, have turned to technology to help them tell the story behind the dresses.

"People told us that the one thing they didn't want was another TV screen blurting out information," explains Powell to Pocket-lint at a preview of the exhibit that is now open to the public.

That urge to make sure the attending public are happy has led to there being not a TV in sight. Instead visitors are treated to the odd projection of the three leading ladies wearing the garments, NFC and QR code panels that let compatible smartphones fire up dedicated YouTube videos on their own screens, and a handful of iPads with the dedicated Paper app.

"I was shown a drawing of Hampton Court Palace on the Paper app and was blown away," Powell adds and said that was one of the main reasons the two companies started talking to each other.

Pocket-lint's efforts at colouring in a dress worn by Diana, Princess of Wales

The bespoke version of the Paper app, a favourite of ours here at Pocket-lint, sees the Palace turn to David Poole, a fashion illustrator, to create 16 bespoke templates for the app of the dresses featured in the exhibit that visitors will be able to colour in or add to with their own embellishments.

Would-be artists will then be able to share their own versions of the dresses they see before them via a dedicated tumblr 53 has set up.

To make things even easier, Paper has set it so the default tool is a brush and then made sure the colour palettes are the right ones for the right era (there are three dedicated colours per era) depending on which room you are in. Peach was big in the Eighties understandably.

Zandra Rhodes redraws one of her own dresses
worn by Diana, Princess of Wales, for the launch of the exhibit
 

Sadly the Kensington Palace version of Paper won't be available to download for yourself, but it is something developer 53 is looking into.

The exhibition is running for the next two years, with The Royal Historic Palaces monitoring usage and deploying more iPads if needed, as well as looking at using them in other exhibits elsewhere - perhaps in Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London - so those interested should easily get to have a go.

Fashion Rules is on now. Ticket prices are included in standard admission prices, which are £15 for adults. Concessions and online booking rates are available.