GAME of Thrones enthusiasts will be delighted to learn that Brienne of Tarth, alias actress Gwendoline Christie, is coming to Cornwall this summer.
Port Eliot Festival at St Germans will see a mass-migration of fashion talent to the ancient walled garden on the estate. There they will set up The Wardrobe Department, where festivalgoers of all ages will find themselves getting creative with the most inventive brains in British fashion and being transformed with wild hair and makeup, courtesy of Bumble and bumble and MAC.
Sarah Mower, the British Fashion Council’s Ambassador for Emerging Talent, describes the heady treats she and her band of co-conspirators are whipping up:
“The entertainments begin with our obsession with the epic fantasy-mediaevalist Game of Thrones, HBO’s gripping depiction of dynastic struggles, dread fears and human foibles. Three great women will be journeying to Port Eliot to speak to us of life in Westeros. Actress Gwendoline Christie will talk about how she brilliantly inhabits Brienne of Tarth, loyal knight and feminist heroine. Thrones’ original production designer Gemma Jackson will reveal how she visualised and built all Seven Kingdoms. Costume designer Michele Clapton will discuss how she clothes everyone, from the courts of incestuous queens, the denizens of brothels and religious fanatics, to the armour, furs and rags of warring armies.
“Alexander Fury, fashion editor of the Independent will slice and parry his way through the psychologies of past mediaevalist revival crazes, from Queen Victoria’s costume balls to the pre-Raphaelites, all the way up to the Sixties and to present-day designers. The talk will be extravagantly illustrated with a repertoire of vintage and current designer clothes from Thea Porter, Rick Owens, Loewe, Giles Deacon, Mary Katrantzou and many others. They are to be worn by the lovely Warren sisters and likely squires and damsels we’ll be finding at the festival (casting alert!).
“The Theatre of Fashion is the site of many dramas and surprises. Michael Howells, Port Eliot’s creative director and staging-imaginator extraordinaire, Game of Thrones’ production designer Gemma Jackson and set designer Derek Brown are building Dark Age tableaux for playing and posing on. MAC and Bumble & Bumble will be dispensing middle-ages hair and makeup and other fantasias and from their mediaeval tent encampment.
“The new Theatre of Fashion stage will host beauty demonstrations and a talk series, including a presentation from Marques’Almeida, London’s newest shooting star designers, and a live lesson in crocheting and sustainability with Susie Bubble and Katie Jones. For any student who wants to know about the huge panorama of jobs which exist behind the scenery in the movies, Andrew McAlpine (The Piano, Made in Dagenham, An Education) will lift the curtain.
“Many more pleasures await in The Wardrobe Department, our fashion free-for-all domain for playing, making and dressing up. Jenny Dyson is here with her immensely popular Pencil Atelier sewing tent for children to make their own clothes and star in the famous Haybale Fashion Show on Saturday.
“The Fashion Illustration Tent is the centre for The Tweenie Fashionista University, drawing classes run by Barbara Hulanicki and Sandy Powell; and young designer Molly Goddard will re-enact her London fashion week life-drawing session with girls wearing her tulle prom dresses for tomboys.
“Giles Deacon will explain and demonstrate his boyhood obsession with nature drawing, with insects and flora and fauna foraged from Port Eliot’s grounds. Damien Cuypers will explore the art of live fashion illustration and young illustrator Joseph Lakrowsky will be sharing his technique of using flowers in fashion drawings.
“The Ministry of Fashion tent is the dispensary for exuberant floral experiments – all manner of head-dressing provided by milliner Piers Atkinson and The Garden Gate Flower Company and the Flower Appreciation Society. Central Saint Martins MA graduates Luke Brooks and Beth Postle are bringing their wildly painterly travelling pop-up art-fashion store.
“Lorraine Candy will be talking to Louise Carpenter about her Cornish beginnings and the career which took her from Liskeard schoolgirl to editor of Elle.
“With a host of ‘Make & Take’ workshops in its fishermen’s yard setting, Cornish label Seasalt is offering crafts inspired by the creative and maritime heritage of Cornwall, from fabric fish sewing, lobster pot making, Breton top embellishment, notebook making and origami boat-making, to a ‘Design a Seasalt Jute bag’ competition.
“Apart from the mediaeval hair workshops mentioned above, Bumble and bumble stylists will work with children to decorate braided headbands with ribbons, flowers and jewels and offer individual sessions with hat-making royalty, in the form of Stephen Jones.”
Elsewhere this year, the shimmering blue ball gown in which Ella makes her entrance at the grand palace ball in Disney’s recent live-action feature inspired by the classic fairy tale, Cinderella, will be on special display throughout this year’s Port Eliot Festival. Accompanying the gown will be the sparkling glass slipper which Ella, played by Lily James, loses on the palace staircase as she escapes the ball at a minute to midnight.
Multi Oscar-winning costume designer Sandy Powell, who created the costumes for the film, will be reunited with the gown and slipper at Port Eliot. As well as discussing her Cinderella designs, in conversation with Tim Blanks, editor-at-large of Style.com, Sandy Powell will give an insight into her latest work for Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, her third film with director Todd Haynes, which received high praise at the recent Cannes Film Festival. At Port Eliot, Ella’s ball gown will be on display in the blue Drawing Room, with the slipper shown alone in an adjoining darkened room, which will be lit by the torchlight of festivalgoers as they enter.
This year’s line-up includes:
- Ezra Furman, The Unthanks, Stornoway, Villagers, Ibibio Sound Machine, Fisherman’s Friends, Kieran Leonard, Archie Bronson Outfit, Stealing Sheep, The Lilac Time, Andrew Weatherall, Jane Weaver, Hooton Tennis Club, Gwenno on music stages.
- Ralph Steadman, Sarah Waters, Alan Johnson, Shami Chakrabarti, Patrick Gale, Iain Sinclair, Nikita Lalwani and Simon Armitage among writers, wits and conversationalists
- Skye Gyngell, Thomasina Miers, Rick Stein, Blanche Vaughan, Tom Parker Bowles among chefs, food writers, gardeners and growers on Flower & Fodder Stage
- Sara Pascoe, Dom Joly, Shappi Khorsandi and Simon Munnery among comedy line-up.
The festival runs from July 30 to August 2. For tickets and full festival info see www.porteliotfestival.com or @PortEliotFest