Appearing on magazine covers and in advertising campaigns, the Delevingne sisters—Chloe, Poppy, and Cara, in birth order—have been fixtures in the fashion pantheon for more than a decade. For even longer they have graced the London social scene. Born to aristocrats on both sides—their mother, Pandora Delevingne, is an elegant beauty, and their father, Charles Hamar Delevingne, is a dapper property developer—the sisters possess not only manners, beauty, and style but an archly British type of iconoclasm and verve. For this, they blame family friend Ned Ryan, an intimate of Princess Margaret’s (their maternal grandmother was her lady-in-waiting), who toasted their arrival into the world by rubbing droplets of champagne on their gums just hours after they were born.
Pop, Pop, Fizz
Logging into Zoom from three different locations, the sisters discuss their first joint business project: the launch of a sustainably produced brand of prosecco, aptly named Della Vite, a play on both their surname and the provenance of the grape itself. (Literal translation, “of the vine.”)
Chloe, the eldest at 35, is lying on a sofa in her Oxfordshire sitting room. Poppy, 34, is sitting at a desk in her London town house, freshly showered and ready for business, while Cara, 28, is lounging at home in Los Angeles. Obvious question: Why prosecco? “We just love it so much! It reminds us of happy times” and “It’s our family drink,” they say, almost in unison. “God, I’m hungover,” adds Chloe, who is kneading her forehead in pain.
“Actually,” adds Poppy, in her husky drawl, “we like it because it’s informal and spontaneous, and we’re crazy about Italy. We eat pasta every day.” Cara chimes in: “We’ve always wanted to do something together as a three for as long as we can remember.” But Chloe has the last word: “It’s in our blood,” she says. It’s not clear if she’s referring to booze or business.
A Talented Trifecta
Celebrity-fronted wine and spirits are hitting the market with increasing frequency. They can be hugely profitable, as both George Clooney and Diddy (of Casamigos and Cîroc, respectively) can attest. But the Delevingne story feels a little more homespun. Money must be a motivation, but despite their privileged background, the sisters have always marched to the beat of their own drum. They are very clear on one point: no conglomerate or deep-pocketed investor is backing them; this project is theirs alone.
Cara, one of the world’s most successful models as well as a musician, actress, and activist, was among the first prominent members of her generation to address both her sexuality and mental health to millions of fans on social media, without the remotest obfuscation.
Chloe, a married mother of two who lives full-time in Oxfordshire, once underwent a Pap smear live on a national morning show to normalize the procedure and the work of Lady Garden, the gynecological-cancer charity she co-founded. Now that her children are both in school full-time, she will be returning to university to complete her medical degree.
Poppy is London’s Pied Piper, the most popular girl in the class and a consummate and prolific writer of thank-you letters. She’s beloved by brands—in her modeling days she fronted campaigns for Louis Vuitton, Alberta Ferretti, and Burberry, and is now a Chanel ambassador—before she fully switched to acting three years ago. In 2017, she was in Kingsman: The Golden Circle, and she will be starring alongside Julia Stiles in the third season of Riviera. During a 2018 interview with Jimmy Fallon, she memorably performed her special party trick of opening three bottles of beer using just her eye socket. The clip went viral, not least because she looked like an elegant old-fashioned movie star while doing so.
Two years ago, the sisters went on a pilgrimage to Valdobbiadene, in Northern Italy, to research the making of prosecco. They had their eureka moment with the Biasotto family, third-generation wine-makers who had been introduced to them by a close family friend, Poppy’s brother-in-law, Numa Heathcote, now C.E.O. of Della Vite. “We found that great prosecco, the one Italians normally keep to themselves,” says Chloe. “There have always been so many brands around, but none of them recognizable, and also it was not representative of the quality you get in Italy.” Cara explains that sustainable-farming practices were an equally important consideration.
They managed to photograph the brand and Web-site imagery just before lockdown. “Day two of the shoot was pretty much a write-off, call time kept being pushed back.” They all laugh uproariously. They tell me how they got inside one of the fermentation tanks and danced to Billie Eilish. Whose idea was that? “Cara, obviously,” says Chloe. “The tank was quite narrow,” Poppy says, interjecting. “We had to be pulled out like little worms.”
Poppy memorably performed her special party trick of opening three bottles of beer using just her eye socket.
Della Vite comprises two products—the Treviso, a fruity blend that goes for $25, and a crisper, pricier alternative, the Superiore ($33). Poppy claims to be a Superiore girl, whereas Chloe prefers Treviso “in terms of longevity of drinking,” she says with a cackle. Cara refuses to pick a favorite. It’s the first brand of prosecco to be stocked at Annabel’s, the exclusive Mayfair private members’ club, as well as at department store Selfridges, and Daylesford, the high-end organic-food-store chain founded by Lady Bamford.
For the time being, Della Vite cannot be shipped to the U.S. because of coronavirus restrictions, but the sisters have already fielded inquiries from restaurants and wine merchants from New York to Los Angeles. The three are itching to get on with their lives. And plan that elusive launch party. How about Christmas? “Who knows?” says Poppy, sighing. “But there will be one. I promise.”
Vassi Chamberlain is an Editor at Large for AIR MAIL based in London