I must regress a bit from last week’s Fashion on the Ration, to another incredible fashion exhibit. Last week, my husband and I were invited to a private showing of “ Dressing Downton” at the Biltmore Estate prior to its opening later in the week. What a treat to be included in this little private tour to see the exhibit of more than 40 costumes on loan from PBS and the popular series, “Downton Abbey”. The exhibit, officially named “Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times”, showcased at the grand Vanderbilt estate of the same era, is on display at the Biltmore House through Memorial Day. Biltmore has done an extraordinary job of integrating 45 costumes in 19 of the elegant rooms of this grand home. I felt as if I had arrived for a weekend house party , just in time for tea!
The Vanderbilt estate’s interiors bear a striking visual resemblance to Downton Abbey’s setting at Highclere Castle.
Themes in the exhibition include the evolution of fashion, nuances of etiquette and the lifestyle portrayed in Downton Abbey. Costumes on display in the grand rooms of Biltmore range from country tweeds, to servant’s uniforms, to lavish gowns and evening attire decorated with intricate embroidery, lace, and beading.
We were treated to cocktails in the Stable Café, then a lovely tour of the home and costumes, hosted by the current generation of owners of the estate. Following the tour, a reception in the Conservatory and lovely gift bags ended an evening that was certainly a visit back in time! I think that the original Vanderbilts would be pleased to see the costumes in their lovely home.
This exhibit opened on Thursday February 5th and runs through May 24th, 2015. I highly recommend that you visit Biltmore for this exhibit, particularly if you are a fan of Downton! Biltmore is a must, however, if you can’t get to Asheville, the exhibit will travel to Oshkosh, WI, Richmond, VA, Chicago, IL, Cincinnati, Oh , and South Bend, IN during 2015, 2016, ending in January 2017.
As you notice, I am such a fan of fashion history and hope you have enjoyed the post on both of these exhibits!
Images Biltmore Estate Site