The Wardrobe Department at Port Eliot 2014

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The Wardrobe Department at Port Eliot 2014

Jenny Dyson, Stephen Jones, Simone Rocha, Alex Brownsell, Louise Gray, Barbara Hulanicki Luella Bartley, Suzy Menkes, Vicki Sarge, Emma J Shipley, Dominic Jones, Jade Parfitt Penelope Tree, Piers Atkinson, The Flower Appreciation Society, MAC, Bumble and bumble

Announcing the inaugural Port Eliot Prom - everyone is invited to parade, dance and show off in Wardrobe Department finery on Saturday night

Every year at festival time, Port Eliot’s walled garden becomes The Wardrobe Department as Sarah Mower, the British Fashion Council’s Ambassador for Emerging Talent, assembles an unthinkably glorious and gifted group of Britain’s foremost designers, to create clothes, accessories and make up for the Port Eliot audience.

“The Wardrobe Department is base-camp for fashion imagination gone wild. We have four walls, a garden and only one rule: that everything we do could only happen here. Top-of-the-range geniuses in clothes design, hair, hats and jewellery are on site offering free-range experiences with the sole objective of letting loose with creative experiments. From children to grown-ups, everyone who steps through our garden gate joins in to dress up, make, sew, draw, paint, create, think, talk and hang around being happy. This is where transformation scenes happen and magical ideas are planted to spring up all over the wide world of fashion.” - Revealing the 2014 line-up, Sarah Mower
The Wardrobe Department 2014: Junior department: Jenny Dyson, founder of cult zine Rubbish and creative director of couture content agency Pencil is back with a serious dose of fashionable fun in the Wardrobe Department; if Narnia had a backstage area, this would surely be it.

Sew Good:
Our first couture sewing bee, Pencil Atelier, invites youngsters to stun the fashion world by making their own one-off outfits and designing their personal fashion labels, to be stitched within. Cath Kidston, Jess and Amelia Pemberton, Amanda Riley, Tegen Williams, Dot Jones and other Pencil pals are all here, sewing machines at the ready! Milliner Piers Atkinson’s floral- based accessories workshops will also form part of the atelier

Important Fashion Event: Budding junior designers will parade their concoctions on the riotous, rural runway during the famous hay bale-front-row afternoon fashion show. Penelope Tree will be introducing them.

The Big Draw: The legendary Barbara Hulanicki inspired a generation of girls with the unforgettable fashion illustrations which flow off her pen. She will pass on her fluid, spontaneous enthusiasm for drawing in a master class, The Tweeny Fashionista Uni, especially reserved for children aged 7 -13 years only. Come dressed as a fashionista and learn how to draw.

Face Time: Louise Gray, Port Eliot’s most-copied genius of inventive face-painting returns, abetted by Central Saint Martin’s MA wild card James Theseus Buck to collaborate with MAC makeup artists.

Great Hair Days:
Alex Brownsell of Bleach London, prime agenda-setter for incredible hair colour, takes a teepee in which hairdressing enters totally new territory. Be in on ground zero for next year’s trends.
Hatty Happenings: Stephen Jones, international milliner extraordinaire, descends on Port Eliot to help everyone make unbelievable on-the-spot headwear with Bumble and bumble for the Prom.

Haughty Culture: Our beautiful florist collaborators, The Flower Appreciation Society, are arriving from London with fresh flowers, ready to bedeck you, in cahoots with Piers Atkinson, our favourite young London milliner and The Garden Gate Flower Company, who will be bringing their own beautiful and slightly wild flowers from their organic farm in Fowey. All weekend the Haughty Culturalists will decorate you in unexpected ways.

Luella’s Fairy-tale Launches! If ever there’s proof of how creative inspiration flowers in the Wardrobe Department garden it’s this: In 2012, Luella Bartley wrote a whole book, The Girl Who Fell To Earth at Port Eliot. This year, she’s published the tale about ‘An alien teenager who lands at Port Eliot festival – a coming-of-age fairy-tale of feminism and freedom!’ Her fabulous launch party takes place here in the Orangery on 24th July.

Growing Ideas: Dominic Jones, the young British jewellery designer of wild repute, has a secret passion for nature conservation. He’ll be sharing his method of growing sustainable miniature plant- worlds in terrariums; bring a jam-jar and make your own with Dominic, finding plants from the Port Eliot estate.

Simone Rocha reveals! London Fashion Week’s most exciting new star is an Irish original from Dublin; an MA alumna inspired by the great Professor Louise Wilson OBE at Central Saint Martins. Hear Simone discuss how her work springs from a huge family background in Ireland and Hong Kong, and her girlhood spent dressing up ‘for weddings and funerals’. In conversation with Sarah Mower, US Vogue contributing Editor and British Fashion Council Ambassador for Emerging Talent.

Shine All Night: With her astute eye for design and beauty, legendary jeweller Vicki Sarge will help you to create innovative jewellery using aluminium foil in master class sessions on the Saturday afternoon of the festival. Be it a bracelet, necklace, earrings or even a tiara, she will turn aluminium foil into something a little bit punk rock for a summer party or the Port Eliot Prom.

Poster Painter:
The designer of this year’s glorious Port Eliot poster, graphic artist Emma J Shipley, specialises in intricate drawings and fabulous scarf design and wants you to turn your hand to bandanas. Come with a healthy imagination and leave with your own personalised bandana!

If Clothes Could Speak: The things we choose to wear capture all kinds of personal memories – happy, bittersweet and always inextricably tied to the times we live in. Three extraordinary women recall the telling fashion experiences – the moment, the makeup, the mood – embedded in a single dress they’ll never forget. With scenography and background research brought to life by young curators Felix Bischof and Holly Bruce.

  • Penelope Tree: The indelible Vogue model of the late Sixties had her life changed forever at the age of 16 by the dress she wore to Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball in New York in 1966. How did she choose that daring Betsy Johnson piece? How did people react, and what does she think of what happened to her afterwards?
  • Suzy Menkes: The legendary fashion journalist comes to Port Eliot to talk over one of the dresses she has saved over decades – a treasured Zandra Rhodes - when she bought it, why she loved it, where she wore it and how it’s taking on a second life in her family today.
  • Jade Parfitt: Finding herself modelling in Alexander McQueen’s incendiary show, Jade Parfitt took part in some of the most extraordinary theatrics of fashion in the nineties. She remembers the experience of working with McQueen through a treasured dress he gave her.
Hole and Corner: The lifestyle and culture magazine ‘about people who spend more time doing than talking’ will move into a corner of the walled garden, presenting all manner of public events that celebrate craft, beauty, passion and skill.

After a year off in 2013, Port Eliot Festival is just around the corner; the railway line is mended, the site is looking gorgeous and (nearly) everything is in place for a special weekend at Napoleon’s favourite place in England. Now as obsessed with food, fashion, music and flowers as it is with books, the festival is a living extension to Port Eliot’s ancient stately home and mediaeval monastery, which sit in more than 100 acres of woodland gardens and park in south-east Cornwall.

Tickets and full festival info:  or @PortEliotFest Day tickets: Starting at £40 for adults, available online in advance from

Dates: 24-27 July 2014. Venue: Port Eliot Estate, St Germans, Saltash, Cornwall, PL12 5ND

For further information and images, please contact Michael Barrett or Kirsten Canning on 020 8295 2424, 07813-558772, or follow @mbpressoffice

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