May 5, 2016

Dressing Downton


My friend Mary and I had the absolutely best day at the Dressing Downton exhibit.  We saw costumes from the series on display at the Driehaus Museum.  The Driehaus is in a huge stone mansion just off the Magnificent Mile in Chicago.  It provided the wonderful, wonderful clothing with the perfect setting - an American counterpart of the upper-upper crust life that was showcased on the series.  Mary and I treated ourselves to the scrumptious high tea served in a most amazing hall within the mansion.  I just can't find enough superlative adjectives for the day we had!  Honestly, I just can't stop looking at these photos.  Wooooo!!

The gowns on the left and right in this photo were worn when the Downton ladies went to court and curtsied to the King.  There were strict rules about what was to be worn, such a headdress with three white Prince of Wales plumes and a short train.

As with many of the costumes, vintage beaded trims were applied to newly made gowns.  One note said that these trims were often removed and reused on new gowns.  No wonder!

This is the center gown.  It is a vintage beaded overdress that was stitched onto a new netting for support.  The underdress is newly made.

The well turned out country gentleman.

Footman and housekeeper.

The countess maintaining a late 19th century styling while fashion moves on in the next generations. I really like that Edwardian style of the long layering.  I think it's quite feminine and flatters many figures.  I learned that it was called the "lampshade silhouette".  And then, there are Those Hats!




Wartime.  Skirts became narrower and shorter to conserve fabric.

Oh my, the beading on this one!



The notes on this one tell that the jacket was made from a vintage tablecloth.  That's the kind of costuming ingenuity that I just love!


Our ladies going out in the daytime.  Handbags were a new thing as was the more tailored styling.


More use of vintage laces and trims.





The ladies maid, evening style dress.

Many of the costume pieces were stitched and managed by the London company Cosprop.  This place sounds like the ultimate costume heaven.  

The museum also displayed photos of Chicago's grand ladies of the 1920s. 


And here are shots of the lovely mansion itself.


The most amazing tea room!  So grand!

Walls:  tiles (I want to do a quilt based on the first one) and wallpapers.



Grand staircases.


Woodwork and detailing. 


Stained glass.


Fireplaces and mantels.  The first photo is a faceted glass fireplace screen.  The second includes the World Without End block in marble on the hearth.  And the third..... well, just wow.




The exhibit is touring the US.  Can you tell that I highly recommend this show?  Well worth an outing if it's coming anywhere near you. 

1 comment:

  1. AnonymousMay 06, 2016

    What a wonderful exhibition - and great pics! Yes, that was an era in which womens' dresses were so captivating! Thanks for sharing!! Martha