When Cornelia James arrived in England in 1939 as a refugee from Nazi occupied Vienna, she brought with her nothing but a suitcase and a steely determination to succeed. In 1947 the couturier Norman Hartnell asked her to make gloves to accessorise the Princess's going away outfit and in 1979 she became glovemaker ‘by appointment’ to Her Majesty the Queen.
Three generations later, the family business is still making gloves by hand in Sussex, England. Experience is measured in years, but success is marked in moments made special by great gloves.
We put a lot into a pair of our gloves. Not least, 96 inches of stitching, each one executed with care and precision to make a glove fit to stand the test of time. One glovemaker fashions the glove from start to finish and - when it's done - they put their name to it. It's personal.
Company is born
“Design student flees Nazi scourge, arrives in England with suitcase full of fabrics, finds fame and fortune as glove maker to the Queen”.
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.
The Lord Chamberlain, by order of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll, is pleased to grant Cornelia James a Royal Warrant as ‘Glove manufacturer by appointment to Her Majesty’. A Royal Warrant is a mark of excellence that is instantly recognised all over the world. Royal Warrant holders are ‘united by a commitment to the highest standards of service, quality and excellence’
Disaster narrowly averted
In preparation for the Queen’s visit to Korea, Buckingham Palace order a dozen pairs of white cotton gloves. The gloves are despatched. On the eve of Her Majesty’s departure Cornelia James receives an anguished (note – ‘anguished’ not ‘panicked’ – the Palace never panics) call from Buckingham Palace: the gloves have not arrived. Cornelia James reels and then rallies. Replacement gloves are found but – late on Saturday evening – delivery is a problem. As dawn breaks on Sunday –