Last year we had the pleasure of being invited to style the guests at Highclere Castle’s Vintage Garden Party, they have just launched tickets for this years event. This year the theme is the Roaring 20’s

If you are thinking of going please enjoy reading below, hopefully this will set the scene for you.

Vintage Victory Rollers had the privilege of styling at the Vintage Garden Party at Highclere castle, even though I myself am not a viewer of Downton Abbey, I didn’t need to be. From the minute my team arrived I felt part of this period drama.

Nothing could have prepare us for just how grand Highclere Castle was, as we drove into the ground’s along a very picturesque drive the castle appeared. It was jaw dropping. Due to the English weather our pop salon was moved into the castle, we were where I can only describe as the ‘Downstairs’

Our team got straight to it transforming one of the teaching rooms into our salon for the weekend. During set up The Countess od Carnarvon arrived, she had roller set her hair for the day but it was destroyed due to the rain. She had a beautiful hat so I dressed her hair to compliment this. Lady Carnarvon was a truly lovely lady, ever so friendly and kept ensuring we were happy and had everything we needed.

10am the castle opened to the public. The weather did not dampen anyone’s spirits. Visitors took their tour around the castle and the Egyptian exhibition and we were positioned so that the salon would be the last stop. I couldn’t believe just how many people came dressed up; some of the costumes were hired, some were handmade and some were lucky enough to have true vintage. They all looked fabulous. Even the gents got into character.  I was unaware of the huge following Downton Abbey has in the states – people from Utah , Texas , Denver and San Francisco had come over here just for this prestigious event. Every lady that sat in the styling seat had a different story to tell and we have now made connections across the globe.

A few of the highlights that stick out in my mind are twins from the States, both very glamourous and wanted hat hair, only one of the twins had it done at first then the other insisted when she saw how lovely it looked. Some of the ladies had seen we were attending on the programme and were happy to come in and have a pamper. We met a lady from Denver who was writing a book about the art of drinking tea and her book focused on Tea on the Titanic and at Highclere Castle, whilst she was sat in the chair being styled Lady Carnarvon reappeared, she wanted to have her hair done for an evening soiree. The ladies that were in the salon at this point were overwhelmed that she was there. She was so graceful and happy to have photos taken. Since the event we have be contacted by a number of the ladies we styled to thank us for making them feel amazing!

During the weekend they had Morris dancers on the lawns and a string quartet performing in the music canopy. The lunches that were provided were in beautiful individual boxes containing a Highclere sandwich, traditional pork pie, homemade cupcake and a bottle of water.  It wasn’t until the Sunday that we got to really soak up some of the atmosphere – we walked the grounds with the sun beaming on the castle, the sounds from the carousel in the background, people walking around in period drama costumes, the grand piano being played in the outside art deco cocktail bar. You really did then start to feel like you were at Downton. Each day they had a prize giving which was hosted by the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, they awarded the best Upstairs & Downstairs, the best Carson, and the best hat. A number of the ladies that we had styled were entered into this competition.

I can’t express in words just how amazing the experience was, on Saturday we took the opportunity to walk around the castle. In the rooms that were featured in Downton Abbey that had photographs with scenes from the TV series. Just walking around the castle and soaking it all up made me feel very proud to have been part of this event. We have been asked back next year for their garden party and taking bookings from the states already!

If you would like to book in for 20’s inspired hair & make up please contact us!