The History

“Design student flees Nazi scourge, arrives in England with suitcase full of fabrics, finds fame and fortune as glove maker to the Queen”. It is the stuff of legends and seventy years on, the fashion business founded by Cornelia James continues to surprise.

Cornelia had studied art and design in Vienna and arrived in England as a refugee in 1939. After the war, in a world made drab by rationing, the leather gloves that she made in a huge range of colours became fashion essentials. Vogue magazine profiled her as “the colour Queen of England” and Cornelia quickly established a thriving business supplying gloves to couturiers and leading stores.

In November 1947 the marriage of Princess Elizabeth to Lt. Philip Mountbatten provided a vivid splash of colour against a background of unremitting post war austerity. Norman Hartnell made the Princess’ wedding gown and ‘going-away’ outfit and he turned to Cornelia James to provide the gloves. It marked the beginning of a long association with the Royal Household marked, in 1979, by the granting of a Royal Warrant.

Cornelia James History


Today it is Genevieve James, Cornelia’s daughter, who holds the Warrant as glove manufacturer ‘by appointment to Her Majesty the Queen’. The Royal Warrant is granted to companies who have supplied HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh or HRH The Prince of Wales, for at least five years.  It is recognised the world over as a mark of quality and excellence and cannot be bought at any price.

The company, under the successful headship of Genevieve, continues to manufacture its products in England, employing the most highly skilled workers to produce excellent examples of British craftsmanship. Gloves are at the heart of Cornelia James and are sold through some of the world’s most exclusive stores.


Cornelia James History


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