Sunday, 20 October 2019

The Party House

I'm sure all of us at some point have thought about how nice it might be to have a holiday home.  Maybe if we win the lottery.  Back in 1952, the newly married Lord and Lady Iliffe bought Basildon Park, a Georgian mansion that none of us could dream of today as our main home, let alone a weekend party pad!

Chris and were en route to London, and rather than stop at the motorway services, I asked Chris to pick a National Trust property to break the journey up.  He chose Basildon Park, just outside Reading.  On arrival we were delighted to be told that the En Vogue fashion exhibition was running, with pieces on loan from the Fashion and Textile Museum in London.

As we toured the house we learnt more about Lady Iliffe.  She loved a bargain, buying lots of antique furniture from estate sales.  She loved a party, needing no excuse to throw one.  And she loved clothes, dressing in beautiful gowns.  Sounds like a lady I would have liked!  Standing six foot tall, she featured in Vogue in July 1966, when the magazine visited Basildon Park as part of its exploration in that period of 'The Beautiful People'.

The exhibition is spread throughout the house, to give an impression of how the house would have been in its heyday, full of fabulously dressed (and fabulously wealthy) guests.  Pieces included those by Pierre Cardin, Balenciaga, Givenchy, Dior, Valentino and Chanel.  I wish the information given included the exact year of each piece, but the pieces were generally from the 1950s until the 1980s, and it was a fun guessing game trying to pin a year on them.  I really loved the 1960s' pieces best, there were some stunners!

I was wearing some 1960s' items myself, my 'psychedelic eyeball dress', tassel necklace, and a really lovely coat, all charity shopped in the last couple of years.  I've certainly had my money's worth (Lady Iliffe would perhaps have approved?).  The hat is an M&S one, but has also been an indispensable wardrobe addition.

It was a very enjoyable pit stop to break up the long drive to the other side of London from Wales.  As we were breaking up a journey, we only stayed for about an hour in the house before we had to continue on our way.  The weather was very rainy that day, so it wasn't really the right time to explore the huge grounds - next time maybe!

Linking up with: #iwillwearwhatilikeVisible Monday, Fancy Friday


  1. Oh what a coincidence that those clothing were displayed just at the time you were there. Fabulous. It's thrilling to see such fabulous designs isn't it!

  2. That was a good idea, a halfway stop for an cultural adventure. Basildon Park looks like a stunning house and amazing to think that it was a party pad as opposed to a every day residence.
    Lady Iliffe sounds like our kind of woman. I was craning my neck looking at those photos, I sold five vintage dresses to a National Trust costume lady earlier this years, I'm dying to see one of them pop up on a visit!
    Love both your outfits. xxx

  3. What a fabulous house and how lucky you were that the En Vogue fashion exhibition was on. They must have known you were coming ;-) I would have been positively drooling at the sight of all those gorgeous clothes. You and your husband are fabulously dressed as always, and I'm sure you could have given Lord and Lady Iliffe a run for their money! xxx

  4. Great idea to make a stop there! I often forget to take the time to stop and visit something while on a long drive.

  5. What a perfect stop on your way to London. The exhibit looked fantastic. It makes it easier to imagine the people in the house. She was quite the lady!

    That ostrich feather dress is stunning! Talk about drama!

    You guys looked brilliant as usual.


  6. What a wonderful house! If I win the lottery I'll buy a party house for us all...

    An d how fab that your outfit went so well with the exhibition. The hat looks perfect with it; the rest is so clearly vintage I'd have assumed the hat was too if you hadn't said anything.

  7. Sounds like my kind of gal! And what a delightful place! I adore the photos, and your outfit!


  8. What a treat to visit a place like this! You know I always admire these old homes and their gardens and such marvelous windows and cannot but think about what it must be like to live in a place like this. THEN i think about how much cleaning I'd have to do!

  9. Aww you were just down the road from me! I haven't been there for years mind you, isn't that always the way?


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