Keira Knightley is not persuaded out of the cosy confines of her private life easily, but she will step back into the fray for Erdem Moralioglu and the Duchess of Devonshire. The period-drama favorite journeyed to Derbyshire’s Chatsworth House—one of the stately locations for 2005’s Pride and Prejudice, starring Knightley herself as a deliciously defiant Elizabeth Bennet—to see the opening of Imaginary Conversations, an exhibition paying homage to the late dowager Duchess through Moralioglu’s lens.

Erdem, as fans will know, made the former Mitford girl affectionately called “Debo” the muse of his spring/summer 2024 collection, after he fell for the “push and pull” of the two sides of her eclectic personality. Deborah was a keen Elvis fan, who loved rare-breed chickens and cast a spell over legions of men, but ultimately decided to marry a duke and did by the name of Andrew Cavendish. She threw herself into restoring Chatsworth, the Devonshire family seat known as the “palace of the Peaks,” with the same gusto she had for collecting insect jewelry.

Erdem Moralioglu and Keira Knightley.

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Jenna Coleman.

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At the time, Candida Lycett Green reported for British Vogue, that the country pile the size of Harrods needed “2,592 lightbulbs to light its 297 rooms (of which 48 are gigantic), 1,000 meters of passages and 17 staircases,” while the various animals living in the 105 acres of grounds required hands-on care. “Debo is always up to the minute, state of the art, looking forward to tomorrow,” said Lycett Green of her infectious zest for life, zero pretensions and exquisite turn of phrase. It is not a reach to imagine Knightley herself playing the last Mitford sister, who has naturally found her way on many fashion moodboards over the years.

Unprecedented archival access granted by the Chatsworth House Trust gives Erdem’s chintzy spring/summer 2024 collection a rare authenticity that makes it a cut above the rest. The historic curtains the designer repurposed for trapeze opera coats made in collaboration with Barbour look right at home among the ballgowns in the Regency bedrooms, which set the scene for Imaginary Conversations, while his toiles and tools are the perfect curiosities to complement Debo’s zany coin purses in the shape of poultry.

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James Righton and Keira Knightley.

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Gugu Mbatha-Raw.

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Keira Knightley, who was the first to wear a piece (look 31, since you asked) from the most recent pre-spring/summer 2025 collection, joined Moralioglu and brand friends Jenna Coleman and Gugu Mbatha-Raw for a private tour through the Leicester bedroom and the Scots bedroom—the scene of much of Mary Queen of Scot’s house arrest in the late 1560s—before dining on turbot and roasted squash in the Sculpture gallery, and rounding out the night singing some of Debo’s favorite Elvis songs over martinis in the library. It was the perfect full stop to what Erdem called his “love letter to Debo,” as he toasted “old friends, new friends and Imaginary Conversations.” Someone put this sweet period drama into production fast.

This article first appeared on British Vogue.

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