Beehives, edible flowers and lacy, see-through cat suits are just some of the lasting memories from the vintage party hosted at Duddingston House last week. The party was held to honour the new business venture started by Fleur Rush and Lynne Hare, who both share a passion for all things vintage.
The event featured a fabulous jazz band, playing to us from the idyllic setting of the house’s grand staircase, and fronted by Dave Bachelor. Throughout the other rooms of the grand home, slightly reminiscent of Downton Abbey, guests could enjoy the hair and beauty parlour, compliments of Miss Dixie Belle, old age photography and vintage cocktails, provided by Barnomadics.
Bruce Hare, Chief Executive of Duddingston House Properties and husband of co-host Lynne Hare, explained the history of the house:- “William Chambers was the architect who designed it. It was a royal household at that time.” An expert on the house’s extensive history, Bruce shared some of the highlights with us.
He continued:-“The house was built in 1763 and finsihed in 1768. It was the first house of this Palladian style that had been built in Scotland, and it was built to bring the Scots and the English back together again.”
“King George funded the money, the sum of £30,000, to build the house and bring the Scots to stay here, and to try and introduce them to the idea of uniting Scotland and England together as one country. It is fascinating. Particularly with what’s happening now.”
The house was in disrepair when Bruce bought it 23 years ago, but he and Lynne “pieced it all back together.” Bruce’s primary goal was to ensure that Duddingston House was memorable. If former visitors couldn’t quite remember what the interior of the house looked like, Bruce would have seen that as a failing of the building. “It doesn’t matter if anybody hates it or loves it, that didn’t matter to me at all. I just didn’t want anyone in the grey area.”
The house features exclusively designed, hand drawn wallpaper, a contemporary style and the work of specially commissioned artists.
Now this historic home will be the primary venue for the forthcoming parties planned by Fleur Rush. She was delighted with how Friday’s event turned out and explained:-“This event is a one-off for a launch. I didn’t expect it to go so well, and I didn’t expect there to be so many guests, so that’s fabulous.”
While the main rooms of the house were crammed with guests on the launch evening, Fleur’s events will typically involve fewer people. “Normally I’ll do parties on a smaller scale, so between 10 and 20 guests would be normal. There will even be occasion parties: engagement parties, stag and hind parties. I’m coining a new term, hind, because I don’t like hen at all.”
Fleur will also offer options for ladies who lunch and company project parties. “If one person wanted to book a party they can do so with the click of a button and I’ll do all the rest. It’s a great way to manage your social life.” She is considering doing larger events too.
She thinks the site and the concept have something special to offer and would lend themselves well to parties of all styles and sizes. “You can come here and enjoy the surroundings and have tea, cakes and cocktails and dress up.”
Fleur said:- “I chose this house because I know the owner Lynne who has a passion for vintage. She has a fabulous area upstairs, which you can book by appointment only. So we both share a passion for vintage and we’ve come together to do this.”
Lynne Hare agreed saying :-“Vintage clothing is absolutely my passion. Fleur told she me was interested in doing this and I said let’s go for it!”
Expanding on Fleur’s comment about the “fabulous area upstairs,” Lynne explains the concept of her business. “I have my own vintage shop called the Edinburgh Vintage Showroom. I have the most amazing pieces.”
“The clothes can transform you. So many women are frightened. It’s just about being patient and trying things on all the time. Honestly, you have one life to live, just go for it.”
In order to help people overcome their vintage fears and find their own passion for the clothes, Lynne also offers additional services. “I do styling as well. A lot of people find that very difficult; to be bossed around and told what to wear, but later they say wow, that looks amazing, I would never have worn that.”
Lynne is also trying to encourage others to adopt her love and passion through word of mouth. “If somebody brings four friends they get £50 off their first purchase. It’s a way to introduce more people to vintage.” The items she has on offer range in cost from £5 – £2,000.
Despite their overwhelming love for vintage, neither Fleur nor Lynne has a favourite Vintage store, other than the Edinburgh Vintage Showroom, of course, in Edinburgh. Lynne was dressed in one of her own pieces and Fleur’s outfit had been purchased from Amsterdam. Fleur said:- “To be honest, I don’t like to go to the vintage stores. I’ll go one step below that and go to the charity shops because you can find fabulous things in charity shops, if you know what you’re looking for. I don’t have a problem scouring, scouring and scouring 10 charity shops. If I find one piece, it makes my day.”