One of the most absorbing spectacles that I have enjoyed for a long while was the 'Dressed up at Delaval' event.
Couturier and costumier Paul Shriek and his lab coated team delighted the audience with a fashion show of stunning outfits created for the dressing up box at Delaval Hall. Yes, if you visit Seaton Delaval Hall you may get to wear one. Get in line behind me, these are no ordinary dress up pieces. The costumes have been designed to fit over the clothes of an average sized visitor and will contribute to the experience of immersing oneself in imagining 18th century life at Delaval Hall.
Mr Shriek dressed the models on stage. Each started with the hoop crinolines over which he layered skirts then over-skirts, then belts, hats and more hats.
There were jackets, waistcoats, collars and cuffs. Modernity was introduced with belts, studs and vertiginous, spiky heels. Paul was inspired by the fun loving and occasionally outrageous Delaval family of the mid 1700's. I think that he imagined the Delaval ladies and their wardrobes transported to the 21st century, after a day at the mall.
Seaton Delaval Hall was designed by playwright and architect John Vanburgh and is now in the ownership of The National Trust. You will find it near Whitley Bay on the North East Coast.
The Dressed Up At Delaval Project has been several months in the making. Helped with funding from The National Lottery it has involved the revival of heritage skills and community groups. The clothes are for the general delight of visitors to Delaval Hall, wearing one may contribute to the Delaval experience. I don't think they could could fail to lift a persons spirit.
I modelled for Paul Shriek early in his (and my) career. He designed exquiste wedding gowns for two of my friends, had a couture line, designed for TV and theatre and a retail concession in Top Shop that broke all sales records. I still have a few pieces from those days and wore one of them to the Delaval show. He has gone from strength to strength but still recognised my early Shriek...then me. I suggested that he might like to experiment with stencilled fabrics!
That man works hard, there were more than fifty outfits in that show and everyone a delight. Now, I just want a day out at Delaval with my girl friends to visit the dress up box. I was too far from the stage to photograph the detail in the clothes...but I will return.