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Westwood and McCartney Take Over Blenheim With Palace fashion

A new exhibition at Blenheim Palace celebrates British fashion designers like Vivienne McCartney Take Over Blenheim With Palace fashion, Stella McCartney, and Zandra Rhodes.

The journey commences in the 300-year-old Great Hall, showcasing designs by the late Dame Vivienne and her creative partner Andreas Kronthaler.

Subsequently, each significant room in the palace undergoes transformation by a distinct designer.

Each designer personally selects a room after surveying the palace.

This aspect is what renders the exhibition so distinctive.

There are no cluttered spaces filled with random items or appearing embarrassingly sparse. This expansive exhibition, which engulfs the entire palace, immerses visitors wonderfully.


Kate Ballenger, the keeper of the palace, conceived the concept behind the exhibition.

She explained, “We aimed to create a group show that celebrates the best of British fashion. Therefore, I invited the designers to the palace, where they could select a room, engage with the space, and then manifest their vision.”

Fortunately for Ms. Ballenger, all the designers selected different rooms.

  1. Our approach was egalitarian with a ‘first come, first served’ policy, and luckily, it functioned flawlessly, greatly easing my life as nobody desired the same space.
  2. Ms. Ballenger, planning the exhibition for the past year, aimed to create something reaching a fresh audience.
  3. “Typically, our exhibitions delve into history, so we aimed to craft something attracting individuals unaccustomed to visiting historic sites,” she explained.

Don’t overlook these rooms

Disregard the hundred-year-old books; instead, immerse yourself in Stella McCartney’s catwalk showcased in the Long Library. You’ll be entranced by a collection of classic designs from McCartney’s previous runways, ranging from a Beatles-inspired jacket to red carpet outfits.

Over Blenheim With Palace fashion spilfy

McCartney Take Over Blenheim With Palace fashion

Barbour, the outdoor brand, has ingeniously crafted a walk in the woods theme in the Green Drawing Room. Here, you’ll find a countryside retreat adorned with wax jackets, leaves fashioned from Barbour’s iconic tartan pattern, and the soothing sounds of birds.

Additionally, the room displays pictures of celebrities, from David Bowie to Lily Allen, donning the company’s jackets.

It’s disco hour for Alice Temperley as she has transformed her room into a dreamlike party scene with plenty of sequins, leopard prints, and drapes. Keep an eye out for the crystal filigree dress specifically designed for the exhibition.

The silk floor-length dress boasts tens of thousands of cascading crystals and beads, applied by 10 designers who dedicated 30 days to completing the outfit.

In the Red Drawing Room, designer Dame Zandra Rhodes, renowned for creating garments for icons like Princess Diana and Freddie Mercury, presents a section from her archive of 6000 outfits.

Bright and colorful printed garments adorn vintage mannequins, arranged as if at a fabulous party. The mannequins all showcase hairstyles that Rhodes, known as the princess of punk, has sported over her 50-year career.

Taking a glance at some of the finest moments in McCartney Take Over Blenheim With Palace fashion British fashion history, the exhibition also delves into the future and forthcoming innovations within the industry.

Stella McCartney includes her vegan apple-based alternative to animal leather, Uppeal, as part of her display in the library. This fabric, derived from the waste of northern Italy’s juice and jam industries, debuted recently at McCartney’s Winter 2023 runway show.

The Oxfordshire palace, renowned as the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, also utilizes the fashion exhibition to commemorate the former prime minister’s style on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of his birth.

While most designers have adorned their rooms with historic pieces, British shirt-maker Turnbull & Asser introduces an entirely new collection that reflects Churchill’s traditions, sartorial choices, and disposition.

McCartney Take Over Blenheim With Palace fashion

McCartney Take Over Blenheim With Palace fashion

One of the most intriguing items on display is an original outfit commissioned by Churchill during World War Two.

At the height of the war, Churchill tasked Turnbull & Asser with crafting a one-piece garment with generous cuts, breast pockets for cigars, and roomy side pockets.

The outfit, famously known as the siren suit, possessed a particular wartime appeal as it offered easy donning during air-raid sirens while preserving the wearer’s modesty.

Churchill popularized the siren suit during the war.

Other items in the Churchill tribute capsule include a special smoking cap designed by hat designer Stephen Jones.

The traditional velvet cap features embroidered initials, buttons, tassels, and a hand-embroidered clementine in homage to his wife Clementine.

Aside from Churchill, the palace boasts its own history in the fashion world.

Over the years, it has hosted numerous fashion shows and photo shoots, including two shows by Christian Dior in 1954 and 1958 in support of the Red Cross, and again in 2016 for their Cruise Collection.

Icons of British Fashion will be showcased until 30 June at Blenheim Palace.