The “Irish” Aristocrat Behind Erdem’s New Collection

ADELE ASTAIRE, sister to Fred, is the muse behind ERDEM‘s AW18 collection which debuted at London Fashion Week …

Lord Charles Cavendish and Adele Astaire on their wedding day, 1932. Copyright Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth.

The gregarious Adele Astaire, was sister and dance partner of Fred, who actually called his sister “Moaning Minnie”. She married into the Devonshire family in 1932 when she wed Lord Charles Cavendish. When she married she became Lady Charles Cavendish and moved to Ireland, living there until her husband died in 1944. As chatelaine of Lismore, Adele developed an interest in Irish crafts, and was extremely fashionable.

Huntsman, the Savile Row bespoke tailors, recreated an ensemble originally made for Adele (they found the order in their archives), which was on display as part of House Style, the recent fashion exhibition at Chatsworth House.


It was at this exhibition that Erdem Moralioglu became enchanted with the high-spirited Adele, who he imagined in the tweeds, glitzy capes and flapper dresses which he sent down the runway of his AW18 show at London Fashion Week.

Fred Astaire and Adele Astaire. Copyright Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth.

Floral brocades, pearl embellishment and black veils all featured – the latter perhaps reference tragic details in Adele’s life. She lost three children in childbirth and her husband died relatively young from alcoholism. Though she moved to Arizona, Adele returned to spend summers in Lismore for most of her life; a testament to its allure. Indeed, Erdem’s collection is country-house party chic at its most grand, much like Chatsworth House itself.

Its female inhabitants were all style icons in their own way. The late Debo Devonshire was its most endearing resident with her love of bug jewellery, Elvis and hens. In her book All in One Basket: Nest Eggs, she recounted, “At Chatsworth, clothes were hung far into a cupboard the size of an ordinary room in any normal house. Some French numbers of the 1950s and 1960s still hold their own in any company; quality incomparable; style timeless…” Much like Erdem’s collection, then.

Penny McCormick

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