I don’t normally do this sort of post but after visiting Chatsworth House and seeing the superbly curated “House Style” I just felt the need to share the experience.
My husband comes from Derbyshire so we do visit regularly. When I saw the “House Style” exhibition advertised at Chatsworth House I knew if would be fascinating. From the style setting Georgiana (portrayed by Kiera Knightley in The Duchess) to the youngest Mitford sister, Debo (who marrying into the Devonshire family went on to make Chatsworth the house we can visit today) to the model Stella Tennant, there have been stories intermingled with fashion and style throughout the Devonshire family.
The exhibition takes place throughout the house set within various rooms and was the brainchild of the daughter-in-law of the current Duke, Laura Burlington and was put together with the help of American Editor at Large of American Vogue, Hamish Bowles.
Above, the coronation robes worn by two of the Duchesses is displayed alongside the theatrical dress by Alexander McQueen and headpiece from the 1990’s.
I opted for the audio tour which definitely added to the exhibition and pointed out details I would have otherwise missed. From the grandeur of the coronation robes, to the (I have to say, slightly eery looking) wedding dresses in the Chapel to the finale of the exhibition, the large dinner party with fabulous evening attire, the House Style exhibition was breathtaking in its beauty.
One of the most dazzling pieces within the exhibition was the costume worn by Duchess Louise for the costumed ball at Marlborough House for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. it was dubbed the “ball of the century” and the costumes were almost overwhelming in design and detail. The Duchess’s costume below glitters and glistens with sequins and jewels. To think this was made for a one off “fancy dress party” is astounding.
Contemporary fabulousness is also on display – the gold sequinned definitely my pick for a Friday night out!
I loved reading the biography Georgiana, Duchess Of Devonshire (you can get it here if you’re interested). It shows how she was a strong woman who influenced not only fashion but politics as well as leading a very usual married life. Her influence throughout the Devonshire family is shown to great extent within the house tour.
To show that the 11th Duke and Duchess of Devonshire were well ahead of us in terms of personalisation and logo’ed fashion, on display are the Dukes sweaters all embroidered with places, race horses and slogans which meant something to him and made him and his friends and family smile…whilst the Duchess (“Debo”) had baskets with her name woven into them.
The finale of the exhibition is an after dinner gathering showcasing evening wear. Each piece is as beautiful as the next as you glimpse through the crowd of mannequins further fashion treasures.
If you can get to, or live near Chatsworth House (in Derbyshire), I urge you to go and see the exhibition. You can see more about it and book tickets here. However, if you can’t make it up there 9but do try, if you’re a fashion lover or enjoy history, it’s a truly wonderful visit), you can get the book “House Style” here.