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Video:Doris Duke's Wardrobe Exhibition: From Jet Set to Jeans

with Kimberly Beckius

Missed the special exhibit of Doris Duke's fashions at Rough Point in 2005? This video, shot on location at Rough Point, will show you some of the highlights of the Doris Duke clothing collection.See Transcript

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Transcript:Doris Duke's Wardrobe Exhibition: From Jet Set to Jeans

Doris Duke at Rough Point

Newport, Rhode Island, is known for its historic mansions, and Rough Point is among the city's most fabulous and intriguing grand estates. Rough Point was home to heiress Doris Duke until her death in 1993. A few years later, in 2000, the mansion opened its doors to the public, and since then, visitors have marveled at the opulent lifestyle Miss Duke enjoyed and at the amazing art collection she amassed.

During the 2005 tour season, there's an even more compelling reason to visit Rough Point - you'll get to peek inside Doris Duke's closet.

From Jet Set to Jeans: The Wardrobe of Doris Duke

The special exhibit, "From Jet Set to Jeans: The Wardrobe of Doris Duke," showcases spectacular fashions worn by the stylish socialite from the late 1920s through the latter part of the 20th century.

Doris Duke was only 12 years old when she inherited Rough Point in 1925 - along with her father's $80 million fortune. James Duke, founder of American Tobacco and the Duke Energy Company and a benefactor of North Carolina's Duke University, had purchased the seaside Newport estate, built in 1889 by Frederick W. Vanderbilt, just three years earlier.

His only child, who was nicknamed "Million Dollar Baby" by the press, did what most girls would do with a tremendous sum of money. She went shopping.

"From Jet Set to Jeans" offers a glimpse at some of the heiress's most glamorous purchases. Slim, blonde and nearly 6 feet tall, Doris Duke was perfectly suited to wear some of the world's most fanciful and stunning couture. In the 1940s, she was named to the best dressed list twice. Michele Musto, curator of the exhibit, told me that it was a challenge to select the items to feature in the show from the 2,000 or so pieces of clothing owned by Doris Duke at the time of her death. The fashions on exhibit were selected to shed light on the personality, interests and sense of style of this intensely private woman who nevertheless captured the public's imagination. Musto said her favorite piece is a green jacket by Mariano Fortuny, which she described as "a work of art." Visitors have an opportunity to see everything from bathing suits and kimonos for lounging around the house to designer gowns and suits by Balenciaga, Madame Gres, Yves Saint Laurent, Tina Leser and Emilio Ungaro. Accessories—hats, shoes, purses—are also included in the exhibit.

Doris Duke could well afford to dress the part of one of America's wealthiest and most glamorous women. But it is important to note that she didn't blow all of her money on outfits. In fact, she invested wisely, and at the time of her death in 1993, her estate was worth more than $1 billion. A part of that fortune ensures that Rough Point will be preserved for visitors to enjoy for many years to come. You'll have to hurry to Rough Point, though, to see Doris Duke's wardrobe—it is only on exhibit through November 5, 2005.
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