Saturday 30 September 2023

Why Bespoke Savile Row Suits Are So Expensive | So Expensive | Insider B...

The female tailors of Savile Row


Cutting it: the female tailors shaking up Savile Row

By Chloe Street

28 February 2022


The world of bespoke suit and shirt-making has traditionally been a man’s world, says Chloe Street. But change is afoot, and these brilliant women are tearing up the rulebook at the seams


Say the words ‘bespoke suit fitting’ and the image conjured will likely be one of two men: the male client, trying on his made-to-measure tailoring, and the other a male tailor, pins and tape measure in hand.


But times are a-changing, and not only are more and more women embracing the delights of bespoke suiting, but there are increasing numbers of talented women joining the industry, many of whom are specifically focused on catering for them.


“Women have been present in the back rooms of the tailoring profession as finishers and assistant tailors for centuries,” says Kathryn Sargent, who runs an eponymous tailoring house on Brook Street near Savile Row. It’s “tradition, class systems and protocol” she says that have kept them from the front of house.


Daisy Knatchbull, founder of female-only tailoring specialists The Deck, thinks part of the problem has been a lack of obvious routes and role models for women wanting to enter the industry, “as well as unfortunate prejudices, sometimes not always conscious.”


However, not only are the barriers to entry being dismantled by a few pioneering women leading the way, but the increasing appetite from female clients means there’s increasing appetite for female tailors, as many women would rather be measured and fitted by another woman. “I think bespoke tailoring has become more accessible, more open to people, the myths have been debunked and people feel like exploring, expressing and investing in themselves,” says Sargent.


Not only does a bespoke suit have obvious appeal in terms of fit, but as we all become more eco-conscious, they’re growing in popularity as a sustainable, timeless investment that can be passed down for generations. “We’re seeing consumer tastes move away from the ‘more is more’ 90’s lifestyle to more considered, thought-through purchases,” says Phoebe Gormley, of Gormley & Gamble tailors. And Knatchbull agrees that people are “consolidating their wardrobes and looking to invest in longevity, versatility and durability. We have seen a huge increase in sales post-lockdown as the more conscious consumer is choosing to purchase high quality investment pieces such as a suit from The Deck.”


Feeling tempted? These are the female tailoring maestros to know…


Daisy Knatchbull, of The Deck


The Deck

Launched: 2019


The story: Knatchbull worked on Savile Row in her twenties, where she was “lucky enough to experience the empowering nature of a tailored suit young - something many women have never had the chance to experience in their life,” she says. Then, in 2016, she became the first woman to wear top hat and tails at Royal Ascot. The positive reactions she received inspired her to set up her business, with a mission to bring the magic of bespoke tailoring to more women. She is the first women-only tailor to have a shop address actually on the street Savile Row.


The service: She caters for a purely female client base, from ages 18 to 80, which is fairly unique on Savile Row. “We wanted to give women the chance to be focused on exclusively within tailoring and challenge the conception that being tted for a suit is an intimidating process by offering an empathetic women-for-women service; understanding their needs and emotional relationship with clothing,” she explains. “There are very few places making for women compared to men, and almost none for women only.”


The Deck offer four signature suit styles – the ‘suits of The Deck’ – which between them aim to offer something for every woman, regardless of shape or size. Each design is made to a client’s measurements as well as their cloth, lining and button preferences. They also offer waistcoats, skirts and dresses too with more categories in the pipeline.


“The process begins with us learning everything we can about the client - what she does, where she goes, what she likes - and together we ensure we are creating something that will last a lifetime in her wardrobe,” says Knatchbull. “Each suit tells a unique story, written by each of the women that wear one.”


Why she loves it: “For me the best part of my job is the moment a client tries on their finished suit, particularly a woman who has struggled their whole life to find trousers or a jacket that has ever fitted them because of their size, height or shape,” says Knatchbull. “I’ve had many women burst into tears, and women who cannot stop staring at themselves. It’s the most rewarding feeling. So I guess proud of making women feel more confident, strong and empowered in themselves. That’s what gets me out of bed each day!”


Kathryn Sargent, of Kathryn Sargent


Kathryn Sargent

Launched: 2012


The story: Sargent started at Gieves & Hawkes in the mid 90s and rose to the position of head cutter (the most senior role), becoming the first woman in the history of Savile Row to do so. “I always dreamed of my own atelier so that was the next logical move,” says Sargent, who became the first, and only, female Master Tailor in the Savile Row area when she opened her year-long seasonal store on Brook Street in 2016.


The service: Sargent, who’s been in the business 25 years, has trained in all aspects of tailoring and pattern cutting from the ground up in a traditional bespoke tailoring house, which gives her an unparalleled know-how. “I think my feminine qualities and being a very chatty person from Leeds has helped relax clients,” she says. “By getting to know them I can really make something that suits their lifestyle and body shape, making them them.”


Her clients are 50-50 male to female and number everyone from professionals to brides and grooms to be, NASA scientists, opera singers and famous athletes. She purposely doesn’t have a house style, but instead focuses on pieces that suit the client. “The beauty of bespoke tailoring is that it gives the wearer freedom to develop their own signature look that is completely unique to them,” she explains. “A beautifully tailored jacket frames your face in how the collar, shoulder line, shape of the lapel all relate to each other.  The cut should be in the correct proportions and flattering so the result appears effortless.”


Why she loves it: “I fell in love with Savile Row and Mayfair the first time I walked around, the sense of London history, it is the number one global destination for the craft of true bespoke tailoring,” she says. “Now it’s my world, I have many many friends throughout the area, it’s a little village, a community.” For Sargent, the best part is “to be able to create every day, meet amazing clients and, build the relationships I’ve built with clients, work with my amazing team.  I never know what the next commission will be!”


Phoebe Gormley, of Gormley & Gamble


Phoebe Gormley

Launched: 2014


The story: Phoebe Gormley started making clothes when she was 14, and ended up falling in love with cutting up her father’s old suits. She soon discovered Saville Row where she did several internships before heading to university. “With one hour of lectures per week I became bored enough to start writing a business plan,” she says, “and on seeing the viability of one women’s wear only tailors in a city with thousands of menswear tailors; I decided to take the gamble.” Gormley invested the money that was meant for her final year’s tuition fees (hence the gamble in the name) and opened G&G when she was 20, seven years ago.


“I stood out like a sore thumb as a woman and someone under 25,” she remembers. “The naivety of youth meant I didn’t know quite how much I would stick out until it was too late to turn back! So, I powered on.” Within a year she’d taken on a space just off Savile Row on Maddox Street, becoming the first women’s wear only tailors in the area in its 200-year history.


The service: Gormley caters to an entirely female client base and the majority of what they request can be split into three parts. The first is classic workwear: the second is occasion wear – “I adore making suit and separates for brides and guests,” says Gormley, “whether that’s a cream silk tuxedo to wear to the registry office or a perfect jacket to go over the already-found dress, there is so much passion and excitement in occasion wear, it’s always fun,” – and the final category is beautifully tailored pieces that aren’t suits.


“Womenswear is often confined within the measly scope of sizes XS, S, M, L, XL, whereas men’s has short, regular, long, classic fit, slim fit and extra slim, all of a size 36,” she says. “So we make lots of silk shirts, cashmere blazers, the perfect winter coat, for people who care about clothes that fit properly. I also love working with silk and mixtures of patterns, textures and materials, everything from Loro Piana wool/cashmeres to Liberty print silks, it’s all possible in womenswear,” says Gormley, who dresses everyone from princesses to schoolgirls, CEOs, brides and bright-eyed graduates.


Why she loves it: For Gormley, its all about empowering women. “When a woman says ‘nothing fits me’ she blames her body. When a man says ‘nothing fits me’ he thinks, ‘so I’ll have it made’. Your body isn’t wrong, it’s not too curvy, too straight, too long or too short, your shoulders aren’t too big, your boobs aren’t too big. Off-the-peg sizing is a joke, and you are a goddess,” she says. I adore giving women a place to resolve this total failure of off-the-peg sizing, partnering it with immaculate customer service, and hundreds of years old heritage craftsmanship and British manufacturing, and making heirloom pieces that last a lifetime, not just a season. It’s a total joy to do my job.”


Emma Willis MBE, of Emma Willis


Emma Willis

Launched: 1999


The story: Having worked for other menswear brands, Willis launched her own label in 1989, focusing on bespoke shirts made in England from the finest materials. Initially she sold her bespoke shirts in City offices before putting down roots on Jermyn Street in St James in 1999.


All her shirts are designed, cut, stitched and finished at Bearland House in the centre of Gloucester – “British bespoke shirt making is rare as is having one’s own manufacturing employing and training locally,” says Willis, who also established a charity Style for Soldiers in 2008, which provides smart clothing to injured service personnel.


The service: Willis, who employs an all-female team of cutters, makes beautiful bespoke shirts using the very best Swiss and Italian fabrics in quiet, elegant designs and colours. Her clients are mainly men, and span everyone from film producers to hedge fund managers, farmers and property dealers, but she has many female customers too and a ready-to -wear collection on Net a Porter.


Why she loves it: “Our shop is very social with our customers often meeting and befriending one another,” she says. “I get visitors from all over the world and post pandemic this has been even more enjoyable with the sense of relief to be able to see each other again and meet new people.”


For Willis though, the best part is the people she meets in her shop. “I never know who it may be next and all those amazing contacts have enabled me to do with my charity and other initiatives.”

Thursday 28 September 2023

BIOGRAPHY OF MICHAEL GAMBON / The Olivier award-winning actor, whose major film roles included Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series, has died

Michael Gambon, star of Harry Potter and The Singing Detective, dies aged 82


The Olivier award-winning actor, whose major film roles included Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series, has died


Chris Wiegand

Thu 28 Sep 2023 12.39 BST


Sir Michael Gambon, whose extraordinary acting career took him from Laurence Olivier’s nascent National Theatre to screen roles in The Singing Detective and the Harry Potter films, has died at the age of 82.


A statement on behalf of his wife, Lady Gambon, and son, Fergus, issued by publicist Clair Dobbs, said: “We are devastated to announce the loss of Sir Michael Gambon. Beloved husband and father, Michael died peacefully in hospital with his wife Anne and son Fergus at his bedside, following a bout of pneumonia. Michael was 82. We ask that you respect our privacy at this painful time and thank you for your messages of support and love.”


Memorably called “The Great Gambon” by Ralph Richardson, and admired by generations of fellow actors, he excelled in plays by Harold Pinter, Samuel Beckett and Alan Ayckbourn. “I owe an enormous amount to Michael,” said Ayckbourn on Thursday. “He was a remarkable stage performer. It was a privilege to watch him at work on my stuff. You couldn’t really term it acting – more an act of spontaneous combustion.”


It was Ayckbourn who directed him in 1987 in Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge, which won Gambon an Olivier award for his performance as the conflicted Brooklyn longshoreman Eddie Carbone. Gambon also starred in Ayckbourn’s ambitious trilogy The Norman Conquests. Other key roles included the eponymous scientist in Brecht’s The Life of Galileo at the National Theatre in 1980, and as the restaurateur returning to visit a former lover in David Hare’s Skylight, which earned him a Tony award nomination on Broadway in the mid-90s.


Gambon’s Harry Potter co-star Fiona Shaw told BBC Radio 4 that he was “a brilliant, magnificent trickster” who “varied his career remarkably and never judged what he was doing, he just played”. Dame Eileen Atkins told the BBC that “he just had to walk on stage and he commanded the whole audience immediately”.


Among those paying tribute on social media was Jason Isaacs, who said: “I learned what acting could be from Michael in The Singing Detective – complex, vulnerable and utterly human.” David Baddiel said that the first time he had seen “any Theatre with a capital T” was Life of Galileo at the National and that Gambon’s 1980 performance remains “the best stage acting I’ve ever seen”. The actor Peter Egan described Gambon as “one of the funniest men on the planet and a great actor”.


After Gambon enjoyed an arthouse film success with Peter Greenaway’s The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989), he proceeded to take roles in major movies such as Sleepy Hollow, The Insider and Gosford Park. Then, with a flowing beard and tassel hat, he portrayed Harry Potter’s professor Albus Dumbledore in several blockbusters, taking over the role from Richard Harris after his death in 2002. He lent his rich voice to many films, including as Uncle Pastuzo in both Paddington movies and as the narrator of the Coen brothers’ Hail, Caesar!


With an imposing frame and rueful features, Gambon described himself as looking like the manager of a department store and a “big, interesting old bugger” while Ayckbourn once called him a “wonderful, limitless machine, like a Lamborghini”. Adored by audiences, with a powerful presence that could add weight to the lightest of material, Gambon shielded his privacy and reluctantly gave interviews. In 2004 he told the Observer: “I just plod on and try to keep my mouth shut.”


Gambon left school aged 15 and, unlike many of his contemporaries, did not receive any formal training at drama school, instead gaining experience through performing in amateur productions. He was born in Dublin in 1940; his father moved to London and was a reserve policeman during the second world war. Gambon was taken over to England by his mother to join him at the end of the war. They later moved to Kent, where at the age of 16 he began an engineering apprenticeship in the Vickers-Armstrongs factory. He began to work in amateur theatre as a set builder, then ended up on stage instead in bit parts at the Unity theatre and the Tower theatre in London.


He bluffed his way into his first professional roles by fibbing about his experience, making his debut in Dublin in a small role in Othello. Aged 22, he had his West End debut as an understudy in The Bed-Sitting Room. He also took an acting course at the Royal Court run by George Devine and William Gaskill.


Gambon said that he had never seen a Shakespeare production before he acted in one himself. He had minor Shakespeare roles at the National Theatre and auditioned for the company by performing the role of Richard III – recently and iconically played by Laurence Olivier – in front of Olivier himself. He appeared in Othello at the National with Olivier and in Hamlet starring Peter O’Toole. Then, on the advice of Olivier, Gambon left the National to join the Birmingham Repertory theatre in order to be given larger roles, which included the title part in Othello. Aged 30, he played Macbeth in a production in Billingham that he described as being set in outer space. In the early 80s, he was at the Royal Shakespeare Company performing in Adrian Noble’s productions of King Lear and Antony and Cleopatra, sometimes both in the same day, the latter staged at a breakneck pace. In 2005, Nicholas Hytner directed him as Falstaff in Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 at the National Theatre.


On television, he had massive hits with series about two very different sleuths. The first was Dennis Potter’s musical noir The Singing Detective, which cast him as a mystery novelist hospitalised with psoriatic arthritis. The second was a set of Maigret thrillers, playing Belgian author Georges Simenon’s eponymous Parisian policeman. He also played an angel alongside Simon Callow in a TV version of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America.


After appearing in the Samuel Beckett plays Endgame, Eh Joe, Krapp’s Last Tape and All That Fall, Gambon began to withdraw from stage work. In 2014, he said he was having difficulty remembering his lines: “I feel sad about it. I love the theatre but I can’t see myself playing massive parts again.” In 2009, illness led to his withdrawal from starring in Alan Bennett’s The Habit of Art at the National Theatre, just weeks before opening night, replaced by Richard Griffiths.


Harold Pinter’s plays had brought Gambon some of his best roles, including Jerry in the love triangle of Betrayal and the elegant Hirst in No Man’s Land. After he had stopped performing on stage, his rich, unmistakeable voice could at least be heard in Jamie Lloyd’s production of Mountain Language in the all-star Pinter at the Pinter season in the West End in 2018.

Michael Gambon RIP

BREAKING: Harry Potter actor Sir Michael Gambon has died

Tuesday 26 September 2023

The Emily in Paris fantasy tour


Forget the Emily in Paris fantasy tour, it’s not a patch on the life I live here

Pamela Druckerman

Best-selling American author says the new Netflix-endorsed city break doesn’t show the best features of her adopted home – free preschool, university and healthcare


Sun 24 Sep 2023 00.00 EDT


The news flashed up like a red béret: Netflix has endorsed a real-life Emily in Paris-themed trip to the French capital, based on its hit TV show. The four-night visit includes a masterclass on “the art of flirting” (taught by a woman meant to resemble Emily’s cruel-but-sexy boss); a lesson on baking pain au chocolat; optional runs along the Seine, like Emily takes in the series; and many evening apéros.


There is no shortage of Emily-themed activities in Paris. The tourist office publishes its own guide to destinations from the show, and there are dozens of unofficial tours (several warn participants not to attempt their three-hour walks wearing stilettos). Last autumn I attended an American’s Emily-themed bar mitzvah here; the party T-shirt had stars of David inserted into the cross-hatches of the Eiffel Tower.


But Netflix’s official “Paris by Emily” tour (the first one is scheduled for next April) reaches a new level of TV-meets-world surreality: the makers of a TV show about an American fantasy of Paris are trying to deliver that imagined version of the city to real-life visitors. It’s as if Lewis Carroll sponsored guided tours of Wonderland, or George Lucas offered to take you into space. (The tour’s starting rate of £2,928 per person, not including airfare, suggests organisers have the means to remove any unwanted sights.)


It’s hard to track all the vectors of meta-weirdness. The inaugural tour guide or “Emileader”, Ines Tazi, is a French-Moroccan Instagram sensation who has appeared on Netflix reality TV shows. (“I love creating bridges between online and offline, fiction and reality,” she says.) Whereas the fictional Emily posts Paris-themed selfies, the tour operator – a company called Dharma – promises a trip that’s “designed to be iconic from every angle, ensuring you don’t just live your best life – you have the pics to prove it”.


At first glance, the Emily tour seems like another case of media companies trying to upsell their fanciest subscribers, just as the rich have come to expect exclusive, highly curated activities where they mingle with each other. Tour participants can pay extra for a hair and makeup service, or to create their own perfume. Netflix is American, so they’ll presumably have to arrange any extramarital affairs on their own.


But I think the desire to be subsumed in an escapist TV show is a product of our current cultural moment, too. Americans have dreamed of Paris ever since Benjamin Franklin marvelled over the city’s stylish inhabitants in the 18th century, and wrote that he “was once very near making love to my friend’s wife”. But the Paris fantasy has taken on special resonance in the face of terrifying climate change; vast and growing political cleavages; eroding rights for American women; and the possibility of future pandemics.


In a recent IFOP poll for the website Bonjour New York of 1,113 Americans aged 18 and over, 36% said they’d like to live in France, up from 20% in 2005. There may be an Emily effect: among those who had watched the series, 54% said they would live or work in France if they could, compared with 25% of those who had not.


Among Americans in Paris like me, identifying errors on the show – from the oversized apartments to the French people speaking English to each other – has become a kind of sport. But the show’s fans fact check in reverse: they consider the scripted version of Paris to be the gold standard, and reality a poor second-best. Tourists have written scathing reviews of a bakery featured in the series, because its real-life croissants didn’t provide the Emily’s transcendent experience. “We’re just a neighbourhood boulangerie, we’re not selling dreams,” one employee said.


Emily fans seem to crave a place – even an imagined one – without disappointments, where bad things rarely happen. In the IFOP poll, about half of viewers insisted Paris has no rats or homeless people and 76% said they believed “most French people dress elegantly in their every-day lives”. Lily Collins, who plays Emily, admitted that, after all the prancing on cobblestones in heels, she had to get orthopaedic inserts.


The series wants it both ways. When Collins appeared on the French talk show C à vous last year, an interviewer said the show was a “postcard” that ignores the city’s reality. “We own every aspect of the show being fantasy based, and also based in a realism, showing Paris in many different ways,” Collins replied.


The French want it both ways, too. They groan about the cliches, but they like the attention and the tourist spending, and French Vogue put Collins on its cover. (In another boomerang, Collins said she’s starting to dress more like the character she plays on the show.) And to be fair, it’s sometimes hard to know where the Parisian stereotypes end and real life begins. A woman in the French fashion industry recently told me that she once spent an evening trying to keep her boss’s mistress away from his wife at an office party, just like on the show.


Perhaps boosted by the series, the past few months in Paris felt like a full-scale American invasion. Even at cafes far from the Emily loop, I often heard more English than French. Visits to the Paris region were up 27% in the first four months of 2023 on the same period last year (they’re still 2.5% below 2019 levels). Americans and Britons comprise the biggest groups of foreign visitors.


With Emily’s fourth season approaching I’d suggest another kind of escapist speciality tour: one that introduces foreigners to France’s free preschools; its practically free universities; and its universal healthcare. Real-life Paris is trying to address climate change by installing kilometres of bike lanes and making Europe’s biggest expansion of its public transit system, with 68 new metro stations in the suburbs.


Instead of honing the seduction skills of anxious Americans, the social services tour would show them an encouraging, alternative model for how to run a country. Perhaps I’ll set it up. I wonder how much I could charge.


Pamela Druckerman, an American writer based in Paris, is the author of five books including French Children Don’t Throw Food

The American Obsession with “Frenchness”

Since the diplomatic “missions” of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams to the court of Louis XVI, Lafayette … and the Marshall Plan, the cultural attraction of the U.S. for France has been continuous …
Lilian Williams appears in this tradition but connected with the Ancien Régime – Rococo – Marie Antoinette revival that pictures as “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” and “Marie Antoinette” helped increase …
Her Chateau de Morsan in Normandy , her New York apartment and her House in Provence deserved the attention of different issues of The World of Interiors. ( Setember 1990; June 1992 and April 1994 )
Voilá … Yours Jeeves .

A fresh vision and a love for French culture inspired Lillian and Ted Williams, classicists and home restorers, to return an abandoned folie in Normandy, France, to the condition that made the structure a "jewel in a wheat field" during the halcyon days before the French Revolution. The Chateau de Morson, built in 1750 for the Marquis de Morson, is one of the few remaining folies in France. The gentlemen’s getaways were frequently a target for revolutionaries seeking to destroy any lingering symbols of the aristocracy. The folies not ruined by political action have been ravaged by the elements, Lillian Williams notes: "This house was not built to survive 200 years, it was built as a whim." The Chateau de Morson is unusual not only for its survival in the face of adversity, but also for its location in the Normandy countryside–most folies were found on the outskirts of Paris and Bordeaux, perfect locations for city-dwelling gentlemen to escape for an afternoon’s dangerous liaison.
When the Williamses entered the abandoned dwelling in Normandy for the first time, they saw a dramatic parlor with 14-foot ceilings and graceful glass doors overlooking fields of wheat. Struck by the beauty, they instantly decided to purchase the nobleman’s playhouse. "It took us 20 seconds to buy and 10 years to restore it. If we hadn’t bought it, it would have fallen down," Lillian says.
As Americans in France, the Williamses join the ranks of legendary interior designer Elsie de Wolfe and novelist Edith Wharton as Francophile owners of folies. What is taken for granted as a French ruin by many natives is rediscovered as a treasure with the fresh, appreciative eyes of Americans, Lillian observes. "I think the Americans have made their impact," she says. In the American style, the couple also brings the do-it-yourself ethic to the Continent. "We used more of our imagination and less of others’," Lillian explains. The walls are hand-painted and fabrics are selected based on her studies of ceramics and extensive knowledge of 18th-century art and textiles, which she uses to design fabric and wallpaper for the likes of Manuel Canovas. A large amount of the repair and refurbishment work on the manor was completed by Ted Williams.
Following the original intent of the frolicsome folie, Williams has decorated with a collection of game tables.
Other items include hunting horns and dueling swords. "I’m opposed to dueling, but I like to think these were used to protect the honor of a lady" she says. The game tables serve many purposes today, just as they did in the home’s first heyday The cabriole-leg pieces serve as dining and recreation areas for the Williamses throughout the house in 18th-century style. "Living in this house is like living in the 18th century," Lillian notes.( in Homes and gardens: design, architecture, style )

The American Obsession with "Frenchness" 3. Three Newport Mansions.

The Bellevue Avenue Historic District is located along and around Bellevue Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island, United States. Its property is almost exclusively residential, including many of the mansions built by affluent summer vacationers in the city around the turn of the 20th century, including the Vanderbilt family and Astor family. Many of the homes represent pioneering work in the architectural styles of the time by major American architects.
It was declared a National Historic Landmark (NHL) in 1976. Several of the mansions within the district had themselves attained NHL status as well, or have done so since then. It has become one of Newport's major tourist attractions.

The Preservation Society of Newport County
The Preservation Society of Newport County is a private, non-profit organization based in Newport, Rhode Island. It is Rhode Island's largest and most-visited cultural organization. The organization's mission is to preserve the architectural heritage of Newport County, Rhode Island, including those of the Bellevue Avenue Historic District. Its fourteen historic properties and landscapes—seven of which are National Historic Landmarks, and eleven of which are open to the public—form a complete essay of American historical development from the Colonial era through the Gilded Age.
The Preservation Society is led by CEO Trudy Coxe.

The Elms, built 1898–1901

The Elms is a large mansion, or "summer cottage", located at 367 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, Rhode Island, in the United States. The Elms was designed by architect Horace Trumbauer for the coal baron Edward Julius Berwind, and was completed in 1901. Its design was copied from the Château d'Asnières in Asnières-sur-Seine, France. The gardens and landscaping were created by C. H. Miller and E. W. Bowditch, working closely with Trumbauer. The Elms has been designated a National Historic Landmark and today is open to the public.

The estate was constructed from 1899 to 1901 and cost approximately 1.5 million dollars to build. Like most Newport estates of the Gilded Age, The Elms is constructed with a steel frame with brick partitions and a limestone facade.
On the first floor the estate has a grand ballroom, a salon, a dining room, a breakfast room, a library, a conservatory, and a grand hallway with a marble floor. The second floor contains bedrooms for the family and guests as well as a private sitting room. The third floor contains bedrooms for the indoor servants.
In keeping with the French architecture of the house, the grounds of The Elms, among the best in Newport, were designed in French eighteenth-century taste and include a sunken garden. On the edge of the property a large carriage house and stables were built, over which lived the stable keepers and gardeners. When the Berwind family began using automobiles, the carriage house and stables were converted into a large garage. The head coachman, in order to keep his job, became the family driver, but he could never learn to back up, so a large turntable had to be installed in the garage.

In 1961 when Julia Berwind died, The Elms was one of the very last Newport cottages to be run in the fashion of the Gilded Age: forty servants were on staff, and Miss Berwind's social season remained at six weeks. Childless, Julia Berwind willed the estate to a nephew, who did not want it and fruitlessly tried to pass The Elms to someone else in the family. Finally the family auctioned off the contents of the estate and sold the property to a developer who wanted to tear it down. In 1962, just weeks before its date with the wrecking ball, The Elms was purchased by the Preservation Society of Newport County for $116,000. The price included the property along with adjacent guest houses. Since then, the house has been open to the public for tours. On June 19, 1996, it was designated a National Historic Landmark.
A tour of The Elms can include, at a cost, a behind-the-scenes tour which brings visitors to the basement to view the coal-fired furnaces and the tunnel from which the coal is brought into the basement from a nearby street. The tour shows the lengths to which Mr. Berwind went to keep the servants out of view from guests on all floors of the mansion. Visitors on the "downstairs" tour view the laundry room, steamer trunk storage area, the giant circuit breaker box, ice-makers, galley, and wine cellar below the main floor, and then ascend the three-story service staircase to the servants' quarters (spartan but comfortable) at roof level, which are furnished as they were at the turn of the twentieth century. The tour then proceeds out on the level tiled roof and a small aluminum platform, where visitors enjoy the view of the rear lawn, weeping beech tree—the American Elms having succumbed to Dutch elm disease—and gardens, and the breathtaking vista of Newport harbor in the distance.

 The Berwind family started spending their summers in Newport in the 1890s. By 1898, it was clear that their original property (a small traditional beach cottage) was too small for the grand parties the Berwinds were having, and so they had the place torn down. Berwind hired Horace Trumbauer to build a much larger house, better fitting his status. Like many of the grandest summer residents of Newport, Edward Berwind was "new money" (his parents were middle-class German immigrants); by 1900 his friends included Theodore Roosevelt and Kaiser Wilhem II of Germany as well as many high-ranking government leaders from Europe and America. At this time Berwind was hailed as "one of the 59 men who rule America", making him one of Newport's most important summer residents.
Berwind was interested in technology, and The Elms was one of the first homes in America to be wired for electricity with no form of backup system. The house also included one of the first electrical ice makers. It was one of the most sophisticated houses of the time. When The Elms opened in 1901 the Berwinds held a huge party.
During the next 20 years, Berwind's wife, Sarah, would spend the summers there, the season being from the 4th of July to the end of August; Berwind would come out only on weekends, for his coal-mining interests kept him in New York during the week. Though the Berwinds had no children, their nephews and nieces would come out to visit on a regular basis.
On January 5, 1922 Mrs. Berwind died, and Edward asked his youngest sister Julia A. Berwind to move in and become the hostess of The Elms. In 1936 when he died, he willed the house to Julia, who, not being interested in technology, continued to run the house in the same way for the next twenty five years: washers and dryers were never installed at the Elms. Julia was well known in Newport. She would invite children from the nearby Fifth Ward (a working-class immigrant neighborhood) to the estate for milk and cookies. She had a love for cars and would drive around Newport every day in one of her luxury cars. This was somewhat shocking to the rest of Newport society where it was considered "unladylike" for women to drive themselves. It was rumored that her social secretary would perform the "white glove test" to make sure there was no dust on the steering wheel before Julia got into the driver's seat.

Rosecliff built 1898-1902

Rosecliff, built 1898-1902, is one of the Gilded Age mansions of Newport, Rhode Island, now open to the public as a historic house museum.
The house has also been known as the Herman Oelrichs House or the J. Edgar Monroe House.
It was built by Theresa Fair Oelrichs, a silver heiress from Nevada, whose father James Graham Fair was one of the four partners in the Comstock Lode. She was the wife of Hermann Oelrichs, American agent for Norddeutscher Lloyd steamship line. She and her husband, together with her sister, Virginia Fair, bought the land in 1891 from the estate of George Bancroft, and commissioned the architectural firm of McKim, Mead, and White to design a summer home suitable for entertaining on a grand scale. With little opportunity to channel her considerable energy elsewhere, she "threw herself into the social scene with tremendous gusto, becoming, with Mrs. Stuyvesant Fish and Mrs. O.H.P. Belmont (of nearby Belcourt) one of the three great hostesses of Newport."
The principal architect, Stanford White, modeled the mansion after the Grand Trianon of Versailles, but smaller and reduced to a basic "H" shape, while keeping Mansart's scheme of a glazed arcade of arched windows and paired Ionic pilasters, which increase to columns across the central loggia. White's Rosecliff adds to the Grand Trianon a second storey with a balustraded roofline that conceals the set-back third storey, containing twenty small servants' rooms and the pressing room for the laundry.

he commission was given to McKim, Mead, and White in 1898, and the New York branch of Jules Allard and Sons were engaged as interior decorators. Construction started in 1899, but the sharp winter slowed construction; Mrs. Oelrichs' sister had married William K. Vanderbilt II that winter season, and the house was required for parties in the following Newport season; the eager Mrs. Oelrichs moved in July 1900, sending the workmen out in order to give a first party in August, a dinner for one hundred and twelve to outdo Mrs. Stuyvesant Fish's Harvest Festival Ball at Crossways. Ferns and floral arrangements concealed the unfinished areas. The house was not completed until 1902.
Rosecliff's brick construction is clad in white architectural terracotta tiles. Stanford White's sophisticated spatial planning offered unexpected views en filade through aligned doorways centered on handsome monumental fireplaces with projecting overmantels.
The central corps de logis is entirely taken up with the ballroom as it appeared on White's plans which, with the Louis XIV furniture removed, could serve as Newport's largest ballroom at 40 by 80 feet. Its scheme of single and paired Corinthian pilasters alternating with arch-headed windows and recessed doorways echoes the articulation of the exterior. This is reached through the French doors on either side, to a plain terrace dropping by broad stairs to the lawn facing the ocean, or to a planted terrace garden with a central fountain.
In the northernmost of the wings that project from both sides of the central block, is a dining room and a billiard room separated by a marble anteroom backed, on the service side, by a butler's pantry with two dumbwaiters. These communicate with the all-but-subterranean kitchens below which were lit, invisibly, from the sunken service yard on the north side of the house. The main entrance, on the opposite south wing, is through a vestibule where the exterior Ionic order is carried inside, now suitably enriched, under an emphatic cornice that divides the height 2:3.
The vestibule is separated, by a tripartite screen with an arched central opening flanked above the cornice by bull's-eye openings in which baroque vases stand, from a grand Stair Hall. The Stair Hall projects from the south block to accommodate a grand staircase that sweeps forward through a heart-shaped opening into the floor space. This divides at a landing to return in matched recurving flights to the upper floor.[
Beyond the Stair Hall is the Salon with the same proportions as the Dining Room (3:4, or 30 by 40 feet) and like it, originally hung with tapestry. Its ceiling is coffered. Its overscaled Gothic fireplace of Caen stone is the one eclectic anomaly in Rosecliff's interiors.
Upstairs, three grand bedrooms of equal importance and guest bedrooms of graduated sizes may be linked by opened doors or isolated by locked ones, in a flexible arrangement of rooms or suites, all with baths, and all separated from the wide corridor by intervening dressing closets for hermetic privacy from the staff, who moved up and down stairs by means of two small service stairs contrived in spaces smaller than the master bedrooms' walk-in closets.
The most famous of Mrs. Oelrich's parties was the "Bal blanc" of 19 August 1904 to celebrate the Astor Cup Races, in which everything was white and silver.

Oelrichs family

Rosecliff stayed in the Oelrichs family until 1941, then went through several changes of ownership before being bought by Mr & Mrs J. Edgar Monroe of New Orleans in 1947. Mr. Monroe, a southern gentleman who had made his fortune in the ship building industry, came to Newport with his wife Louise every summer to escape the summer heat of the Deep South. The two became well known for the large parties they threw at Rosecliff; many of which had mardi gras theme, the Monroes loved dressing up in fancy costumes for these parties. Unlike Mrs. Oelrichs' parties, which were stiff and formal, the Monroes' parties were laid back and easy going. Because Hermann Oelrichs Jr had sold off all the furnishings in 1941, nearly all the furnishings visitors see at Rosecliff today are from the Monroe period of occupation. In 1971, Mr. and Mrs. Monroe donated the entire estate with its contents and a $2 million operating endowment to the Preservation Society of Newport County, who opened it to the public for tours. Mr Monroe often would come back to the estate for charity events up until his death in 1991.
The ballroom was used to film scenes for the 1974 version of The Great Gatsby, The Betsy, High Society, True Lies, and Amistad

Marble House built between 1888 and 1892

Marble House is a Gilded Age mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, now open to the public as a museum run by the Newport Preservation Society. It was designed by the renowned society architect Richard Morris Hunt. For an American house, it was unparalleled in design and opulence when it was built. Its temple-front portico, which also serves as a porte-cochère, has been compared to that of the White House.

The mansion was built as a summer "cottage" retreat between 1888 and 1892 for Alva and William Kissam Vanderbilt. It was a social landmark that helped spark the transformation of Newport from a relatively relaxed summer colony of wooden houses to the now legendary resort of opulent stone palaces. The fifty-room mansion required a staff of 36 servants, including butlers, maids, coachmen, and footmen. The mansion cost $11 million ($260,000,000 in 2009 dollars) of which $7 million was spent on 500,000 cubic feet (14,000 m³) of marble. William Vanderbilt's older brother Cornelius Vanderbilt II subsequently built the largest of the Newport cottages, The Breakers, between 1893 and 1895.
When Alva Vanderbilt divorced William in 1895, she already owned Marble House outright, having received it as her 39th birthday present. She remarried to Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont in 1896, and then relocated down the street to Belcourt Castle. After his death, she reopened Marble House and added the Chinese Tea House on the seaside cliff, where she hosted rallies for women's suffrage.
Alva Belmont shuttered the mansion permanently in 1919, when she relocated to France to be closer to her daughter, Consuelo Balsan. There she divided her time between a Paris townhouse, a villa on the Riviera, and the Château d'Augerville, which she restored. She sold the house to Frederick H. Prince in 1932, less than a year before her death. In 1963 the Preservation Society of Newport County bought the house from the Prince Trust, with funding provided by Harold Stirling Vanderbilt, the Vanderbilt couple's youngest son. The Trust donated the furniture for the house directly to the Preservation Society.
The mansion was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 10, 1971. The Department of the Interior designated it as a National Historic Landmark on February 17, 2006. The Bellevue Avenue Historic District, which includes Marble House and many other historic Newport mansions, was added to the Register on December 8, 1972 and subsequently designated as a National Historic Landmark District on May 11, 1976.

The interior features a number of notable rooms. Entrance into the mansion is through one of two French Baroque-style doors, each weighing a ton and a half. Both are embellished by the monogram "WV" set into an oval medallion. They were made at the John Williams Bronze Foundry in New York. The Stair Hall is a two-story room that features walls and a grand staircase of yellow Siena marble, with a wrought iron and gilt bronze staircase railing. The railing is based on models at Versailles. An 18th-century Venetian ceiling painting featuring gods and goddesses adorns the ceiling. The Grand Salon, designed by Allard and Sons, served as a ballroom and reception room. Designed in the Louis XIV style, it features green silk cut velvet upholstery and draperies. The originals were made by Prelle. The walls are carved wood and gold gilt panels representing scenes from classical mythology, inspired by the panels and trophies adorning the Galerie d'Apollon at the Louvre. The ceiling features an 18th-century French painting in the manner of Pietro da Cortona depicting Minerva, with a surround adapted from the ceiling of the Queen’s Bedroom at Versailles. The Gothic Room, in the Gothic Revival-style, was designed to display Alva Vanderbilt's collection of Medieval and Renaissance decorative objects. The stone fireplace in the room was copied by Allard and Sons from one in the Jacques Cœur House in Bourges. The furniture was by Gilbert Cuel. The Library is in the Rococo-style. It served as both a morning room and library. The doors and bookcases, in carved walnut, were a collaboration between Allard and Cuel. The Dining Room features pink Numidian marble and gilt bronze capitals and trophies. The fireplace is a replica of the one in the Salon d'Hercule at Versailles. The ceiling is decorated painted with a hunting and fishing motif, with an 18th-century French ceiling in the center. Mrs. Vanderbilt’s Bedroom, on the second floor, is in the Louis XIV style. The ceiling in this room is adorned with circular ceiling painting of Athena, painted circa 1721 by Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini. It was originally in the library of the Palazzo Pisani Moretta in Venice.
Marble House is one of the earliest examples of Beaux-Arts architecture in the United States, with design inspiration from the Petit Trianon at the Palace of Versailles. Jules Allard and Sons of Paris, first hired by the Vanderbilt's to design some of the interiors for their Petit Chateau on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, designed the French-inspired interiors of Marble House also. The grounds were designed by landscape architect Ernest W. Bowditch.
The mansion is a U-shaped building. Although it appears to be a two-story structure, it is actually spread over four levels. The kitchen and service areas are located on the basement level, reception rooms on the ground floor, bedrooms on the second floor, and servant quarters on the hidden, uppermost level. The load-bearing portion of the walls are brick, with the exterior faced in white Westchester marble. Here Hunt adapted French neoclassical architectural forms of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to enliven the Beaux-Arts detailing.
The facade of the mansion features bays that are defined by two story Corinthian pilasters. These frame arched windows on the ground floor and rectangular ones on the second on most of the facade. A curved marble carriage ramp, fronted by a semi-circular fountain with grotesque masks, spans the entire western facade. The masks serve as water spouts. The center of this facade, facing Bellevue Avenue, features a monumental tetrastyle Corinthian portico. The north and south facades match the western in basic design. The eastern facade, facing the Atlantic Ocean, is divided into a wing on each side. These wings semi-enclose a marble terrace and are surrounded by a marble balustrade on the ground floor level. The inset central portion of this facade differs from the others, with four bays of ground floor doors topped by second floor arched windows.

The interiors of the mansion have appeared in several films or television series. Scenes appearing in the 1972–73 television series, America, the 1974 film, The Great Gatsby, the 1995 miniseries The Buccaneers, and the 2008 film 27 Dresses were shot here. More recently, Victoria's Secret filmed one of their 2012 holiday commercials here.

Sunday 24 September 2023

Garrick Club could admit women


Garrick could admit women after barrister U-turns on club rules


Michael Beloff KC judged in 2011 that reference to ‘he’ excluded women but has now concluded opposite


Clea Skopeliti

Sat 16 Sep 2023 18.24 BST


One of London’s last remaining gentlemen’s clubs, the Garrick, may be edging towards admitting women after a barrister performed a U-turn on a previous legal judgment ruling that they were ineligible for membership.


Michael Beloff KC first concluded that women could not be proposed under the club’s rules after Joanna Lumley was denied membership in 2011. He ruled then that although the rules do not explicitly preclude women from joining, they state that “no candidate shall be eligible unless he be proposed by one member and seconded by another”.


The use of the masculine article led Beloff to conclude that the rule could be interpreted as referring to men only, while he also said the club’s objectives also refer to “gentlemanly accomplishment and scholarship”.


But the rule could now be scrapped in the club, which was founded in 1831 and counts Benedict Cumberbatch and Sir Kingsley Amis among its members, after the KC wrote a new legal opinion, concluding the opposite.


Beloff prepared a new legal opinion in November last year, the Times reports, stating that there was “now a cogent argument” that the Law of Property Act 1925 means “he” and “she” can be used interchangeably in contracts.


“If so, there is no legal obstacle to the proposal of a woman for membership of the club by one member, seconded by another; nor, if she obtains the support required under the rules, any legal obstacle to her admission as a member of the club,” the newspaper quotes Beloff as writing. He reportedly warned that the club was “likely to provoke an expensive lawsuit” if it continued to exclude women from membership.


Although the opinion was delivered in November, many members only became aware of it recently, as the committee had not shared the news of Beloff’s revised judgment, the Times reports. Club members will share their views on women joining in a survey next month.


Emily Bendell, the chief executive and founder of a successful underwear brand, launched legal action against the club in 2020, arguing that its men-only membership rules are a breach of equality legislation, while Cherie Booth KC joined a campaign to force the club to admit women the following year.


Members including Stephen Fry, Damian Lewis and Hugh Bonneville have said they were in favour of extending membership to women, as has Michael Gove, the former justice secretary Ken Clarke, and broadcasters Sir Trevor McDonald, Melvyn Bragg and Jeremy Paxman. Three former Conservative MPs and 11 KCs were among those who said they would vote to continue to exclude female members.


The club, which was founded in 1831, last voted on whether to include women in 2015, when a majority of 50.5% voted in favour of introducing female membership. However, the introduction of a new rule at the Garrick requires a two-thirds majority.


The Garrick has been contacted for comment.


The Garrick Club was founded at a meeting in the Committee Room at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, on Wednesday 17 August 1831. Present were James Winston (a former strolling player, manager and important theatre antiquarian), Samuel James Arnold (a playwright and theatre manager), Samuel Beazley (an architect and playwright), General Sir Andrew Barnard (an army officer and hero of the Napoleonic Wars), and Francis Mills (a timber merchant and railway speculator). It was decided to write down a number of names in order to invite them to be original members of the Garrick Club.


The avowed purpose of the club was to "tend to the regeneration of the Drama".[2] It was to be a place where “actors and men of refinement could meet on equal terms” at a time when actors were not generally considered to be respectable members of society.


The club was named in honour of the actor David Garrick, whose acting and management at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in the previous century, had by the 1830s come to represent a golden age of British drama. Less than six months later the members had been recruited and a Club House found and equipped on King Street in Covent Garden. On 1 February 1832, it was reported that the novelist and journalist Thomas Gaspey was the first member to enter at 11am, and that “Mr Beazley gave the first order, (a mutton chop) at ½ past 12.”


The list of those who took up original membership runs like a Who’s Who of the Green Room for 1832: actors such as John Braham, Charles Kemble, William Macready, Charles Mathews and his son Charles James; the playwrights James Planché, Theodore Hook and Thomas Talfourd; scene-painters including Clarkson Frederick Stanfield and Thomas Grieve. Even the patron, the Duke of Sussex, had an element of the theatrical about him, being a well-known mesmerist. To this can be added numerous Barons, Counts, Dukes, Earls and Lords, soldiers, parliamentarians and judges.


The membership would later include Charles Kean, Henry Irving, Herbert Beerbohm Tree, Arthur Sullivan, J. M. Barrie, Arthur Wing Pinero, Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud. From the literary world came writers such as Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, Anthony Trollope, H. G. Wells, A. A. Milne (who on his death in 1956 bequeathed the club a quarter of the royalties from his children’s books),and Kingsley Amis. The visual arts has been represented by painters such as John Everett Millais, Lord Leighton and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.


 The club in 1864

The club’s popularity at the beginning of the 1860s created overcrowding of its original clubhouse. Slum clearance being undertaken just round the corner provided the opportunity to move into a brand-new purpose-built home on what became known as Garrick Street. The move was completed in 1864 and the club remains in this building today.


All new candidates must be proposed by an existing member before election in a secret ballot, the original assurance of the committee being “that it would be better that ten unobjectionable men should be excluded than one terrible bore should be admitted”. This exclusive nature of the club was highlighted when reporter Jeremy Paxman applied to join but was initially blackballed, though he was later admitted, an experience he shares with Henry Irving who despite being the first actor to receive a knighthood had himself been blackballed in 1873.


When the club was founded in 1831 Rule 1 of the Garrick Club Rules and Regulations called for the "formation of a theatrical Library, with works on costume". At a General Meeting on 15 October 1831, the barrister John Adolphus suggested that members should present their duplicate dramatic works to the club, and that these should go some way towards forming a Library. A very valuable collection has thus come together over the years, and its special collections are particularly strong on eighteenth and nineteenth-century theatre.


James Winston, the first Secretary and Librarian of the club, was one of the principal early benefactors and his gifts included minutes from the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, as well as his own Theatric Tourist. These presentations formed the nucleus of a Library which now holds well over 10,000 items, including plays, manuscripts, prints (bound into numerous extra-illustrated volumes), and many photographs.