House Style: Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth, Home to the Devonshires
Anglophiles and fashionphiles unite! Literally.
The authors have provided the reader with lessons in both history as well as fashion. If you are lover of the English aristocracy and their idiosyncrasies coupled with fashion that spans centuries then this is a must read. House Style not only exercises your brain but also possibly overstimulates your visual senses. The satisfaction that is gained from this book can be derived from a literal diner sized menu of choices whether it is historical, generational, royalty, title holders, five centuries of memories and the list can go one forever but you get the picture.
The fashion part of this book is inextricably linked to the history of Chatsworth and its seemingly neverending roster of titled British royals who inhabited or visited this amazing home. One is given a rare glimpse into their sartorial choices, their impossibly luxurious living conditions as well as heirlooms, treasures and remembrances. The complex fabric of the Devonshire clan including friends, relatives, and preferences when it came to designers and where to shop, what to buy and what purpose they served is all laid out within.
The text is a bit complex due to the ancestry that includes generations of dukes, ladies, queens, kings, duchesses, and socialites spanning 500 years. Think of it this way, this is not ancestry.com and this is not just a family tree but a forest of relationships and genealogy, each member of whom all brought something to the table: fashion and style by way of Chatsworth.
The authors, of proper British lineage, construct their story in a fact laden and highly formal structure, which might cause the reader to take a pause in order to digest what has just been read. It is a bit of a challenge but so worth the effort as the entire premise of the book is so rare among the genre that anyone who is in search of a truly intelligent and intellectually challenging fashion tome must engage in this reading.