House of STYLE

Lady Laura Burlington speaks to Marie Claire’s JO­CE­LYN STIEBEL about dis­cov­er­ing a trove of clothes span­ning ve cen­turies of fash­ion and the Gucci-spon­sored ex­hi­bi­tion at Chatsworth House in Der­byshire, Eng­land

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - FASHION -

It sounds like a tale from the sto­ry­books, re­ally. A stylish English count­ess rum­mages through the at­tic of her in­law’s stately home in search of a chris­ten­ing robe for her son; there she un­cov­ers a trea­sure trove of clothes rep­re­sent­ing ve cen­turies of fash­ion – from cou­ture Dior to mod­ern Lang.

That count­ess is Lady Laura Burlington, and the home in ques­tion is Chatsworth House, oc­cu­pied by the cur­rent Duke Pere­grine An­drew Cavendish and Duchess Amanda Hey­wood-Lons­dale of Devon­shire: a 16th-cen­tury manor es­tate bought for £600 in 1549 by Sir Wil­liam Cavendish and his wife, Bess of Hard­wick. While a lot of Chatsworth’s orig­i­nal con­struc­tion has changed be­yond recog­ni­tion since its early days, its lav­ish glam­our re­mains the same and at­tracts streams of

House Style cer­tainly doesn’t ig­nore the IM­POR­TANCE o f con­tem­po­rary fash­ion

cus­tom-made Elvis Pres­ley slip­pers.

Equally pe­cu­liar to the slip­pers is the 11th Duke’s col­lec­tion of cus­tom-made, and rather up-to-date-with-cur­rent-run­way-trends, slo­gan jer­seys with the likes of ‘Never Marry a Mit­ford’ (he was mar­ried to one) and ‘Life’s a Bitch And Then You Die’ em­bla­zoned on the front.

When asked about her favourite pieces on dis­play, Lady Burlington is es­pe­cially ex­cited about the wed­ding dress of Stella Ten­nant – su­per­model and grand­daugh­ter to Deb­o­rah. The unique Hel­mut Lang-de­signed gown was lost for 18 years, and thought to have been thrown away.

‘We were sad that we couldn’t in­clude this as­ton­ish­ing avant-garde piece – un­til it was found packed away care­fully un­der­neath her mother’s wed­ding gown,’ says Lady Burlington.

An­other of her stand-outs in House Style is the lm of Fred As­taire’s sis­ter and long-time dance part­ner Adele As­taire, who gave up her dance ca­reer to marry the son of the 9th Duke of Devon­shire, o cially be­com­ing a Cavendish. The lm Lady Burlington refers to is The Heir and

As­taire made by T.J Wilcox 10 years ago but re­worked for House Style to in­clude new­ly­dis­cov­ered footage of Adele – the only ma­te­rial of its kind in the world.

‘We sent reels that were found in the base­ment of Chatsworth to London to be digi­tised and there was Adele, danc­ing in a tweed suit – the only mov­ing images of her in ex­is­tence!’

House Style cer­tainly doesn’t ig­nore the im­por­tance of con­tem­po­rary fash­ion, and this is where Gucci, spon­sor of the ex­hibit, falls per­fectly in place.

Cre­ative di­rec­tor Alessan­dro Michele shot the brand’s 2017 cruise col­lec­tion at Chatsworth House, and clearly some­thing stuck with him. For the ex­hi­bi­tion, and for Lady Burlington and her mother-in-law, he de­signed two dresses: in­spired by Bess of Hard­wick and the 17th-cen­tury et­y­mol­ogy artist, Maria Sibylla Me­rian, re­spec­tively. Alessan­dro in­cor­po­rated de­tails of Chatsworth that in­spired him, and that echo his AW17 col­lec­tion, which Lady Burlington so loves.

‘All the work in the de­tailed lay­er­ing, needle­work, em­broi­dery, ow­ers, in­sects and snakes… The imag­i­na­tion is truly as­ton­ish­ing.’ It all sounds quite like a fairy tale.

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