Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, Blenheim is the only non-royal house in England to hold the title of palace. As the storied residence of the Dukes of Marlborough—and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, the legendary prime minister and a style icon in his own right—Blenheim Palace was home and host to an almost innumerable cast of chic and colorful characters.
A Passion for Fashion: 300 Years of Style at Blenheim Palace provides an amusing and in-depth look at some of the clothes, underclothes, shoes, and accessories worn by many of the more flamboyant players in Blenheim Palace’s 300-year history. The book also offers an interesting—and cautionary—look at the role that arsenic, lead, mercury, and even mousetraps played in the fashions of the day.
The book examines adult and children’s fashions of the Palace’s early period from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as well as the contemporary styles of renowned designers including Christina Stambolian, Stephen Jones, Christian Louboutin, and more recent houses like Dolce & Gabbana. Blenheim Palace’s ongoing relationship with the House of Dior is also celebrated with a look at their early catwalk shows of the 1950s and the launch of Dior’s Cruise collection, which took place at Blenheim Palace in May 2016. Lavishly illustrated with 150 color images, A Passion for Fashion brings 300 years of Blenheim style to vivacious life.
About the Author
Antonia Keaney joined the staff of Blenheim Palace in 2008 as a member of the education team and is now the Palace’s social historian and researcher.
"As wide ranging as its chapters, the book's supporting imagery is comprised of installation shots of the A Passion for Fashion exhibition, archival photography, portraits, and other artwork in the Blenheim Palace collection, caricatures, bills and records, advertisements, and designer sketches. Adding to the author's behind–the–scenes approach, she also features photographs of items in storage and archives taken during visits to other museums and collections while seeking potential loans. . . . Given the breadth of topics explored in this modestly sized book and the fact that each chapter could easily be its own exhibition, Keaney has embarked on a mighty task attempting to present three centuries worth of fashion. . . . For those who do not intuitively understand how fashion reflects social, political, and economical changes, Keaney’s explanatory connections spanning 300 years render fashion’s significance undeniable. . . . Much can be gleaned from Blenheim Palace's captivating past; therefore, this tome will likely prompt further examination of the site's fashion collection, as well as ignite the curiosity of budding fashion historians." — Journal of Dress History