‘Glamour and Gowns’ of Bellville & Sassoon Couture Exhibition at Holkham Hall

The stylish work of one of the country’s most celebrated couture designers of the last 50 years is on display at Holkham Hall in Norfolk this year.

Belinda Bellville 1962

Belinda Bellville 1962

The exhibition, ‘Glamour and Gowns’ features the beautiful work of Belinda Bellville who is world-renowned for her stylish dress designs which were worn by members of the royal family and many leading socialites.

Belinda Bellville founded her business in 1953 in Knightsbridge and it became known as Bellville Sassoon in 1970 to reflect the work of David Sassoon who had joined the company in 1958.

As well as being a society designer and dressmaker, Belinda Bellville is linked with Holkham as her daughter is Viscountess Coke.

Visitors to the magnificent Palladian hall can see a selection of 21 couture and ready to wear designs created over the years.  The exhibition features dresses kindly lent to Holkham including several worn by Lady Glenconner, as well as those worn more recently by Viscountess Coke.

La Goulou Dark green silk with ruffles, owned by Lady Coke

La Goulou Dark green silk with ruffles, owned by Lady Coke by Bellville et Cie 1968. Green silk and taffeta with cream ruffles. Inspired by the Toulouse Lautrec model, La Goulue, the original design for this dress had ruffles up to the bust line.

There are ball gowns, cocktail and party dresses and a beautiful wedding dress made of parachute silk on taffeta which is embroidered with roses made of silk and rose pearls.  This dates from 1982 and was featured in an article in Brides magazine.

A very pretty organdie silk chiffon and printed taffeta dress from 1978 was worn by Lady Glenconner when she was on a state visit to Tuvalu as Princess Margaret’s Lady in Waiting.  As it turned out, the Princess was taken ill and Lady Glenconner stood in for her in a meeting with Imelda Marcos.

Visitors can also look out for a beautiful long sea green silk taffeta dress which Valeria, Viscountess Coke wore for the ball held in the days leading up to the royal wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer.

The display also features drawings, patterns and photographs to provide an insight into Belinda Bellville’s glittering career. One of the highlights is a focus on Vogue patterns as this was an important part of her business and Bellville patterns are still available today.

The exhibition runs at Holkham Hall from March 25 to October 31 on Sunday, Monday and Thursday every week from 12 until 4pm.  Tickets for the Hall, Bygones Museum and the Walled Gardens are £12 for adults, £6 for children aged five to 16 years and £33 for a family ticket for two adults and up to three children.


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