Off Topic

Off Topic

I must have spent a good part of two hours going through a practically full SD card of photos from last weekend's Port Eliot festival.  The overview of the fashion side of things might have erred on the right side of relevance.  I wasn't going to cross the line and go off topic but with so many snaps to offload, treat this as a bit of a Port Eliot Flickr page if you will.  The magic of the festival wasn't just contained within the Wardrobe Dept in the walled gardens and sprawls all over expansive hilly land that also butts on to the Tamar estuary and overlooks the St Germans viaduct.  I don't want to get all National Trust on you and reveal to you that I am in fact one of those geeks that would one day like to go around England visiting one grade listed house after another.  Actually, I may as well just let that be known.  You can therefore tell that I was in my element wandering around for the weekend, exploring the nooks and crannies, getting lost in a patch of forest with the safe knowledge that seeing some water would guide me back to where I needed to be…







Everywhere we went, there'd be something unexpected that pops up, temporary installations and hangings that didn't at all intrude on its lush surroundings…


Right by Cinema Paradiso, the outdoor cinema that overlooked the viaduct was a lounge where we could scoff fresh, hot doughnuts slathered in chocolate.  Unlike other festivals, food at Port Eliot is pretty sublime.  Cornish crabs, lovely scallops, wild mushroom risotto, amazing bacon baps courtesy of Fifteen – I tried to pack in more food with the safe knowledge that I'd be burning it off whilst roaming the fields…


We watched the Powell and Pressburger spectacular 1948 film The Red Shoes whilst under the stars of Cinema Paradiso and promptly froze our arses off.  We attempted to warm up with what looked like baco-foil emergency heat blankets but gave up and basically went numb watching this stunner of a film.  Totally worth it. 



I'm not in the right age group but the Hullaballoo area for kids to run around wearing butterfly wings and play in sand pits was right up my street. 




Like I said, being prone to allergies meant I never ever got my face painted.  I was therefore envious of the little tots running around with the most elaborate of designs on their faces.  High five to the teenager who enterprisingly set up a face-paint stand with a beautiful sketchbook and offered her face-paint skills for ¬£2 a pop.  Other teens were errr… less enterprising.  There were three girls running around offering Free Hugs.  Oh well, as long as they gave people joy. 



The Flower Show is undoubtedly one of the main highlights of the festival.  It's supposed to be a parody/homage to traditional British Flower and Vegetable shows, the sort where WI members get quite snipey and competitive about whose hydrangeas are the best.  At Port Eliot though, it's curated by famed art director and fashion set designer Michael Howells and features show categories such as 'Lend me a Tenor' and 'Salad Days'. 


Speaking of Howells, I saw an insightful conversation between him and Patrick Kinmonth who was once art director of British Vogue and has gone on to design sets and costumes for operas as well as designing Valentino's 45th anniversary retrospective exhibition at the Ara Pacis in Rome.  Fact of the day?  Why is Valentino red so specific to Valentino?  Because every fifth thread is orange which gives the shade of red its luminosity. 




My favourite category of the flower show was definitley Veg Factor created by little ones… I'm not sure why some kid chose to give Melon Gaga geek specs but it's hilarious all the same…



Rainbow roses might be a little naff and scarily artificial but they do look ever so pretty on camera…


There were plenty of blooms outside of the flower show area too…


Oh and some flowers came with added plummage as seen on Phoebe of Pamflet's hat, adorned by Tammi Willis of Each Piece Unique


I did go around snapping some random bits.  It was a streetstyle haven but sadly my skills are rather limited in that area.  Best leave it to the real street style pros.  I loved this girl's Michelle Lowe-Holder bracelet, no doubt, made from fabric scraps she had hanging about….


Louise Gray's arm after one hour of painting people's eyes…


I prefer my festival specific Converse over wellies…


I think it was Louise Gray who made up her eyes and said this Christopher Kane-wearing girl was 11!  Wowzers, who are these generous parents who gift their kids with Kane? 


There were a few opportunities to go inside Port Eliot house itself and one of them was in the extraordinary Round Room, where we saw Ed Harcourt woo a load of middle-aged mums and a few nans.  The mural in this circular room is fantasically surreal and is definitely one the features of this house that makes it stand out amongst its grade-listed peers…




In another room in the house, we watched Sally Potter's adapation of the Virgina Woolf novel Orlando starring Tilda Swinton, followed by a Q&A session with the art director and costume designer of the film – Michael Howells and Sandy Powell.  I loved how Powell was so blase about designing 400 years of costume on zero budget.  She nit picked at some of the things they could have done better in the costume department (despite it earning an Oscar nod at the time…) but for me, this highly stylised take on period costume still looks stupendously impressive today.   




Leave a comment
  1. ellio100

    2011-07-27 at 10:52 PM

    I keep thinking about your original Port Eliot post, it’s been going around my head like a song, so I was delighted to see more from your weekend. Thanks for sharing your wonderful pictures and thanks for your lively and thoughtful commentary. I saw some fruit and veg contests at the Lambeth Country Fair the other week – they’re really kind of marvellous and terrible aren’t they?

  2. Mode Uncover

    2011-07-28 at 12:01 AM

    Amazing photos and great outfit!

  3. Terri

    2011-07-28 at 3:30 AM

    Both of your posts on this event just sound so enchanting…


    2011-07-28 at 5:04 AM

    I love your blouse and your booots!
    Love the pictures of the red shoes, so beautiful and it gives off a haunting feeling a bit. 🙂
    The pictures remind me of alice and wonderland, EVERYTHING IS SOOO CREATIVE EVEN THE DESSERTS AND FLOWERS!
    Loove the paintings as well, oh god, THIS IS ART OVERLAOD AND I LOOOOVE IT!!! 😀 ‚ô•

  5. Kazuko

    2011-07-28 at 7:14 AM

    what an amazing and inspiring post! and how do you manage to look so great even on a festival? (damn, i wish those kinda shades would suit me)

  6. Kelly Marie Preston

    2011-07-28 at 7:27 AM

    For some reason I really love that you have your blouse buttoned up all the way (that’s what I always do too). And now I really want my face painted and flowers for my hair…

  7. Aleksa

    2011-07-28 at 7:39 AM

    Such an inspiring post. Thanks for sharing some more pictures! love your outfit and the elephant. 🙂

  8. stilettonizer

    2011-07-28 at 1:37 PM

    it seems that you have so much fun there.
    anw, love your look dear.
    xx stilettonizer

  9. vintage engagement rings

    2011-07-28 at 1:48 PM

    The photos of the water are wonderful!

  10. Eliza

    2011-07-28 at 2:13 PM

    What an incredible experience and beautiful post! Sensory overload! Especially love the embellished top-hat and Michelle Lowe-Holder cuff. She is one of my favourite new designers on Boticca!

  11. kaye beeh

    2011-07-28 at 2:51 PM

    Wow what a beautiful set of photographs. Me fav pic the child with the buttterfly painted on her face.

  12. Olive

    2011-07-28 at 3:34 PM

    This place incredible cool! I love your glasses so much! 🙂

  13. Katarzyna

    2011-07-28 at 4:08 PM
  14. Berty Morales

    2011-07-28 at 6:05 PM

    Beautiful pictures and I love your outfit.

  15. Her Late Night Cravings

    2011-07-28 at 9:09 PM

    Amazing pics. You’ve left me quite jealous & yearning to snap photos of anything & everything this weekend.
    Mendi @ Her Late Night Cravings

  16. Melissa James

    2011-07-28 at 10:36 PM

    Yet another great set of pictures! You always take the most amazing photos! Great postxx

  17. Meena Dhuga

    2011-07-28 at 11:09 PM

    such a great set of images! so much inspiration!! love your blog! ‚ô•
    woudl love it if you visited my blog, and maybe follow??
    Meena xxxxx

  18. annette

    2011-07-31 at 10:16 AM

    such an inspiring post, thank you, dear! and i simply adore Tilda in/as Orlando!

  19. Constance

    2011-07-31 at 10:15 PM

    Amzing pics!!! your vision is very different, I like it!!!

  20. cocktail dresses

    2011-08-06 at 7:45 AM

    well almost each and every photo here is unique and lovely…really i liked it. and that multi color flower is superb.
    well done

    • Nyanna

      2015-01-14 at 7:23 AM

      Shiver me timbers, them’s some great innimratoof.

  21. Miche Purses

    2011-09-09 at 11:19 PM

    love the colors from the outdoors photos

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