We love a good costume party at Lalande, and we’re always looking for an excuse for one! Every Easter, on our birthdays, and sometimes randomly (at the last minute on a work night), we raid the costume cabinet and let our imaginations run riot.
One of my favourite themes was Legendary Lovers. Everyone had to come as a famous lover from history. My friends and family were transformed into glamorous, larger-than life characters (not that they’re not those already!)
Walking through the reception rooms was surreal, as I passed Clark Kent and Lois Lane snuggling in a corner, squeezed past Simone de Beauvoir deep in conversation with Audrey Hepburn, and arrived in the kitchen, to be handed a cocktail by Rhett Butler.
Michael Potts came as an uncanny double of Lord Byron. He’d based his costume on the famous engraving of the poet by Henry Robinson, and unbelievably seemed to own all of the clothes needed to complete the outfit already!
And whilst he’s not a poet, his amazing photography is certainly poetic! This is a photo that he took of Narcissus (Nic in disguise!) ignoring Madame de Pompadour to gaze at his own reflection in the mirror.
I came as Madame de Pompadour, the mistress of Louis XV. She was an extremely influential patron of the arts, who created the Sevres porcelain factory and impacted the Rococo movement with her support of artists like Boucher. I made an 18th century dress for the party, using a pink cotton that I’d originally bought for curtains, and a mass of antique lace that I’d collected in brocantes and charity shops over the years.
My favourite part of the dress was the sleeves, though they made eating a complete nightmare!
My grandmother, then in her late 90s (sadly she died last year) was staying with me for the party. When we told her the theme, she absolutely insisted on coming as Napoleon. As usual, she stole the show. It helped that she matched Napoleon not only in stature, but in formidable force of character!
Mummy came as the beautiful Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, in a crown which Percy spent several days painstakingly making for her. What a perfect fiance!
Percy himself came as James Bond, a very fitting costume for an international man of mystery!