Sheridan Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, thirty-five-year-old Marquis of Dufferin and Ava, is a film producer, art collector, sportsman (`I’m practically always on the tennis court or something’), and financial consultant to an American investment fund. Supremely relaxed and the possessor of a wonderful throwaway wit, Lord Dufferin readily admits to being interested in clothes . . . ‘I can’t pretend I spend hours thinking about what I’m going to wear, but I do give it some thought. All men dress for effect. It’s very much like keeping a diary : you pretend the diary’s for yourself, but deep down you hope someone is going to read it some day.
`I find shirts and ties constricting and I seldom wear them unless I’m going to a business meeting. My favourite clothes for day and evening, if I’m going to a party where one can wear what one likes, are open-neck shirts, pullovers — I have about twenty-five — and sports jackets on top.’
He prefers his clothes close-fitting — ‘loose fit does nothing for one’s shape’. The fabrics he’s keenest on are corduroys, denim, velvet and lightweight wool — all the year round. Colour plays the most important part in his ward-robe. ‘I don’t usually wear checks or that sort of thing; I like solid colours in simple contrast —combinations like red, white and black — or different shades of the same colour. I like white very much for summer, I dislike yellow and am not really wild about green.’ Lord Dufferin sees himself as an impulse buyer with a touch of extravagance, but his formula sounds like a good one for guarding against mistakes.
`I feel that if something is right and you really like it and know you’re going to wear it a lot, then you should buy it. But if there’s any doubt at all, forget about it.’ He remains loyal to certain shops. Browns, which ‘saves one the trouble of having to shop abroad’, is his great source for trousers, sports jackets and pullovers, though he occasionally finds some he likes at the Village Gate shops. At John Michael he buys ready-to-wear suits and shoes.
What he refers to as his ‘ordered city suits’ come from Wealeson & Legate. His ties (`the few I buy’) and other accessories come from Harvie & Hudson. All of his shirts he buys ready made up. His conservative ones come from Harvie & Hudson; his others from Deborah & Clare — buy tons of shirts from them. I like their Swiss cottons and their silk shirts which I wear a lot in the evenings and for the summer.
`I honestly think that most people’s taste, including my own, is strongly suspect, so I stick to very straightforward clothes. They should make their effect effortlessly : you should be aware that someone’s wearing something nice without actually thinking about it.
Interview by Lendal Scott-Ellis.
It has been a while since I did a ‘Mensday’ post, but I thought the wonderfully elegant Marquess was very worthy of one. He very sadly died in 1988 of an AIDS related illness but his brief life left a legacy of supporting and promoting both modern art and film.
Photographed by Norman Eales.
Scanned from Harpers and Queen, April 1974.