Monday 16 September 2013

Style Muse - Stella Tennant

I know I've posted on my style crushes before - Stella McCartney and Jenna Lyons being two of them, but I'm keen to introduce a few new regular features to the blog, so I'm kicking off with 'Style Muse', and as London Fashion Week S/S '14 is in full swing, it seems only fitting that my first 'muse' is the very down to earth and beautiful Brit model and mother, Stella Tennant.

Vogue UK July 2013 - Photo: Bay Garnett

I have been an admirer of Tennant's style since way back in December 1993 when Steven Meisel shot a now legendary photoshoot for UK Vogue entitled "Anglo-Saxon Attitude." Featuring 'real' people chosen by the late, great stylist Isabella Blow, I remember being blown away by Tennant in all her grungy aristo-punk, nose-ringed glory. 

Vogue UK December 1993 - Photo: Steven Meisel

Vogue UK December 1993 - Photo: Steven Meisel

Vogue UK December 1993 - Photo: Steven Meisel

She was everything I wasn't (and 20 years later still is) - different, edgy, simultaneously feminine and androgynous and I loved the whiff of street style anarchy mixed with upper class elegance, which over time has become something of a Stella trademark. Tennant is after all the granddaughter of the Duchess of Devonshire, (the beautiful and stylish chatelaine of Chatsworth house and a Mitford sister to boot), which all adds up to a heady mix of 'Downton' and down town (if you'll pardon the pun).

Vogue UK - Photo: Mario Testino

The Duchess wrote very entertainingly about the above shoot as follows:

"Darling Paddy,
Stella came. We had to be together in a photo for Vogue's 90th birthday come Christmas. So one Mario Testino, famous photographer, came in a helicopter with a crew of makeup, hairdresser, “fashion editor”, etc from London.
I've got a really beautiful dress, grand evening, given me by Oscar de la Renta, so that was my kit. They bound Stella's legs, up to where they join her body, in tartan. A Union Jack flag hung from her waist & her top was what my father would have called meaningless.
Hair skewbald/piebald, all colours & stuck up in bits. THEN they produced “shoes” with 6 inch heels. More stilts - she could hardly put one foot in front of the other, wobbling & toppling.
We looked just like that Grandville drawing of a giraffe dancing with a little monkey. I was the monkey.
Much love
(Letter from In Tearing Haste: Letters Between Deborah Devonshire and Patrick Leigh Fermor)

A Mitford grandaughter through and through.

Vogue UK November 2005 - Photo: Tim Walker

After all these years, and despite taking time off to concentrate on her children,  at 43 Tennant is still hugely in demand as a model. In this youth-obsessed era that we live in, here is a woman who combines both her family (she is a mum of 4) and fashion lives with grace and ease,  and whose attitude to ageing is to totally disregard it, which I love. As hot new designer Joseph Altuzurra commented when casting Tennant in his first full-page ad for this year's US Vogue September issue:  “She’s really an Altuzarra woman because she has a life and four kids—she is who she is on her own terms. She lives in Scotland and is incredibly successful and there is a confident, unapologetic side to her. I didn’t want a 20-year-old model, I wanted someone who is our woman. Clothes are part of her life but not her entire life.”

A/W 2013 Altazurra - Photo Inez & Vinoodh

'On her own terms' sums Tennant up perfectly - she embodies that subtle sense of British eccentricity and 'I don't give a damn' attitude that I find so inspiring. To me she is the consummate fashion chameleon - no-one does punk or aristo-elegance like she does and regardless of who she is working with - Lagerfeld, Testino, Bruce Weber et al, she remains true to herself - one classy lady.

Valentino Haute Couture for the WSJ - Photo: Daniel Jackson

Vogue UK September 2012 - Photo: Mario Testino

Vogue UK September 2011 - Photo: Javier Vallhonrat

Vogue US September 2010 - Photo: David Sims

Her latest Vogue shoot in July of this year was photographed and styled by her good friend Bay Garnett and offers us a snapshot of her family life in Scotland. Her comment about her children's bedrooms made me laugh - I'm afraid I'm somewhat the same about what goes up on the walls of my boys room...  She's as much at home yomping in a field as she is on the catwalk, plus her love of  Scotland and the sea and her attitude to life in general only make me like her more. Yup, I've got a proper girl crush going on.

Vogue UK July 2013 - Photo: Bay Garnett

Vogue UK July 2013 - Photo: Bay Garnett

Vogue UK July 2013 - Photo: Bay Garnett

Vogue UK July 2013 - Photo: Bay Garnett

Vogue UK July 2013 - Photo: Bay Garnett

You can keep your Caras and your Kates, as all eyes are on Britain's fashion exploits this week, there's only one girl for me - for your brains, beauty, mothering style and knock 'em dead attitude Stella - you're a star.


Anonymous said...

Hi I just landed on your blog while I was looking for some inspiring Stella Tennant's pictures! Great post!

Juliette Chisholm said...

Thanks so much! Great to know you enjoyed it. Hope you will come back again.