Visitors to Chatsworth “see the formal tip of the iceberg… they totter out into the fresh air exhausted after three furlongs of red carpet, a 101 stairs up and 62 down.” So noted the late Deborah “Debo” Cavendish, aka the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, about her majestic family seat in Derbyshire, home to the Cavendish family since the 16th century. However, with its new exhibition House Style, Chatsworth is aiming to add a touch of glamour to the traditional red-rope-and-gift-shop stately home experience.
The idea for a fashion exhibition at Chatsworth came about after Laura Roundell — a former model and fashion buyer married to the heir to the estate — was searching the house’s textile rooms with her mother in law, the current Duchess of Devonshire, for a christening gown. After unpacking dusty boxes filled with everything from livery and coronation robes to Jean-Philippe Worth couture , she invited her friend Hamish Bowles, the International Editor-at-Large of American Vogue, to curate the best pieces into a show.
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