Our 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 60 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 celebrated, in 1979, by the granting of a Royal Warrant. Today it is Genevieve James, Cornelia’s daughter, who holds the Warrant as glove manufacturer ‘by appointment to Her Majesty the Queen’.

The company's identity is underscored by the very close relationship that Cornelia James enjoys with the fashion press. ‘The Independent’ called Cornelia James “a fashion insider’s favourite”. Cornelia James’ products feature consistently in the fashion shoots of the world’s top magazines and fashion editorial.