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16th June 2012

Dominic West joins the Port Eliot Festival line-up and The Wardrobe line up is confirmed

Stephen Frears, Simon Garfield, Lawrence from Felt, Hg2 DJs also added with the news that the event is take a year off in 2013

Port Eliot have announced that Dominic West, BAFTA-winning star of The Wire, The Hour, The Awakening and Appropriate Adult has joined the line-up for this year’s festival. Dominic will be interviewing eminent Sanskrit scholar and paragliding champion Jim Mallinson, as well as awarding the prizes in the inaugural Port Eliot Spelling Bee.

From 9pm-3am every night of the festival, a host of DJs, including house music pioneer Brandon Block will take over the brand new Sipsmith/Hg2 bar and indie cult hero Lawrence from Felt, Denim and Go-Kart Mozart will be in discussion with Will Hodgkinson of The Times and Paul Kelly, director of Lawrence of Belgravia, the forthcoming documentary about Lawrence’s work, life and musical ambition.

After this year’s festival, Port Eliot will be taking a sabbatical until 2014. Catherine St Germans said "It’s been five years since the festival last paused for breath and, after considerable thought, we have decided to take a break in 2013, so there will be no Port Eliot Festival next year. The year off will be a chance for the gardens to thrive and for the Port Eliot organisers to step off the roundabout and take longer to plot for 2014. So, now there’s a breather around the corner, we are doubly determined to go out with the greatest festival we’ve ever staged. If you have a ticket for this year, brace yourselves for a magnificent time and if you’re considering coming, now’s the moment to get in before we begin our gap year."

The idyllic Port Eliot estate in Cornwall plays host to the UK's most imaginative arts festival; over 100 performances on 10 different stages - presenting a wealth of creative talents from the worlds of books, music, fashion, food and film. Always inspiring and always surprising, Port Eliot has established itself as a matchless event on the arts calendar; things happen at Port Eliot that you just don't find at other festivals. In 2011, Kate Winslet gave an impromptu reading, Hollywood maestro Martin Scorsese curated the outdoor cinema and world renowned milliner Stephen Jones demonstrated the best way to bake and eat a hat!

At Port Eliot Festival time, the walled garden alongside the 19th-century Orangery becomes The Wardrobe Department, led by Port Eliot fashion curator Sarah Mower, the British Fashion Council’s Ambassador for Emerging Talent. Since it began, Port Eliot has played host to major names in fashion, establishing a tradition of spontaneous creativity as festivalgoers flock to make clothes and accessories. This year is no exception.

Revealing this year’s line-up, Sarah Mower said, “The hoity-toity fashion world doesn't exactly have a reputation for being fun, spontaneous and generous but that's what to expect when stepping through the walled garden gate to The Wardrobe Department. Inaugurated last year as an ad hoc experiment in improvisational dressing-up for the hell of it, the Wardrobe Department tents were occupied by a crowd of some of London's greatest innovators, who made headdresses from flowers and broken toys, excessive jewels from junk, and staged finger-puppet shows - amongst many other surprises. Some lucky girls were even photographed in David Sims' Scout-tent studio, which returns this summer. It's where serious fashion names pitch up to do unserious creative things for a summer weekend; a Port Eliot tradition rooted in dressmaking collaborations between Luella Bartley and Barbara Hulanicki, which has now blossomed into a whole garden of free fashion delights.”

Among this year’s highlights:
The Fashion Dolls Tea party. Ask any designer or fashion luminary to retrieve their earliest formative memories and they'll often start talking about dressing their dolls - playthings whose adventures in clothes, hair and makeup are responsible for kindling many a great career. This summer we've thrown open the Big Dining Room to host an illustrious gathering of these influential VIPs. Co-curated by Sarah Mower and Alexander Fury, The Fashion Dolls Tea party will be designed by Michael Howells, Ballet Rambert production designer. Dolls who have accepted our invitation to tea so far include those of Christopher Kane, Erdem, Giles Deacon, Louise Wilson, Gareth Pugh, Meadham Kirchhoff, Roksanda Ilincic and Amanda Harlech.

Last year Mary Katrantzou, London’s pioneer of digital photography in fashion, created a series of dresses inspired by Port Eliot. Generated following a visit to the house to photograph the paintings, décor, porcelain, embroideries and Georgian chandeliers in the ancient building, The Port Eliot Dresses Triptych caused a sensation when it was displayed in a fashion ‘at home’ in the Drawing Room. This year, Mary will accompany her dresses back to Port Eliot to talk about how she creates her hit collections and why Port Eliot inspires her.

Luella Bartley, author of Luella’s Guide to English Style will be telling a story in her own tent this year, collaborating with iconic Sixties illustrators, Delisia Howard (one of the original Biba girls) and Chris Price of Hazard Books. ‘Illustrating with Intent’, they will produce a story created by Luella and festival-goers. A graphic camera obscura of the moment, Chris and Delisia will encourage illustrative contributions and the book will be bound into a unique volume to be displayed in the Port Eliot library.

David Sims will be setting up a portrait studio in a corner of the walled garden.

Prestige hair stylists Bumble and bumble will be interpreting hair masterpieces for festival-goers, with the help of milliner extraordinaire Stephen Jones and Bb hair maestro Neil Moodie, who’ll draw inspiration from the portraits by Reynolds, van Dyck and Rembrandt in the collection at Port Eliot. The main event will take place on the Saturday afternoon of the festival, when Stephen Jones will sketch festival-goers with the hair styles of the old masters before Neil Moodie and his styling team recreate the look with Bumble and bumble products.

Vicki Sarge-Beamon of the extraordinary catwalk jewellers Erickson Beamon will once again invite people to her Trash to Treasure masterclass in the Biba tent, where she’ll help people re- amalgamate their broken trinkets into bedazzling new pieces. On Sunday morning she will give a lecture to adults on how to give your jewellery box a second life and in the afternoon children will be invited into the tent to learn how to turn trash into new treasure.

Barbara Hulanicki, founder of Biba, interior designer and living legend of fashion will create outfits for visitors to the Biba tent from a range of unlikely materials, with the help of Port Eliot regular Anita Pallenberg and other friends.

Following on from the fun and frolics of last year's blindfold styling booth, cult fashion publishers and creators from Rubbish are inviting festivalgoers of all ages to create 'couture' dresses using newspaper and gaffer tape. Each dress will be uniquely created with the help of the chic atelier, comprising fashion makers and doers, headed up by Jenny Dyson with milliner Piers Atkinson and accessories designer Fred Butler providing couture hats and head pieces. Once made (including a chance for each person to design their own fashion label in the back) the frocks will be held 'backstage' and all who get involved will be invited to take part in a special Wardrobe Department fashion parade at the end of each day. Front row seats on hay bales, a chance to have your moment debuting your dress on the grassy catwalk and fashion walk offs will abound. Once the fashion parade has taken place, each dress will be archived for festivalgoers to take home at the end of the festival.

Rubbish will also extend an invitation to take part in The Rubbish Olympics. A chance to roll up your trousers, swap your wellies for plimsols, your Barbours for airtext shirts and prepare for a sports day with a fashion twist. Inspired by Chariots of Fire, festival goers who wish to take part are encouraged to dress in old fashioned PE kits. Master of Ceremonies Christopher Biggins will be blowing the whistle with the Head of Games, Jenny Dyson, aka Mrs Rubbish. Prepare to enter into the spirit of fun and games with competitions including Champagne hurdles, fashion hop, skip and jump, grape spitting, Olympic ring brooch making and skipping in the style of fashion icons.

Innovative fashion designers Anthropologie will collaborate with three artists: Lou Rota, Charlotte Taylor and Jacqui Roche, each of whom will host free creative workshops in which festivalgoers can make and take home a one-off piece of art as the perfect festival souvenir. In addition, Lou, Charlotte and Jackie will each host an informal get-together, in which guests can enjoy a glass of wine and a discussion with the trio.

Anna-Marie and Phoebe, the bloggers behind the feminist and fashion online zine, will spend their second year at Port Eliot in the Sipsmith Tent celebrating The Great British Party with an afternoon of readings, interviews and salon discussions. It’s a chance to be inspired by stories about hostesses, It girls, balls, banquets, festivals and party memories as they explore the importance of the party in women's wardrobes, histories and literature with the help of some surprise guests.

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