Sunday, January 3, 2016

Dressing Downton

Today, I had the pleasure of visiting the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond to view the fantastic "Dressing Downton: Changing Fashions for Changing Times."  Featuring costumes from PBS's smash-hit "Downton Abbey" the exhibit chronicles the changing fashions from 1912-1924 and how the effects of the end of the Edwardian era, World War I, and the Jazz Age effected the fictional Crawley family of Downton Abbey.  The costumes are simply gorgeous, many of the elements featured on the costumes came from original period garments.  Below are some of my favorite costumes displayed.

One of the show's iconic costumes worn by Violet, Dowager Duchess of Grantham (Dame Maggie Smith).  The costume helped set the stage for the imperious Dowager and is stunning in person.

The end of the long Edwardian summer as symbolized by the costumes worn by Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) and his wife Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern).

Lady Mary Crawley's (Michelle Dockery) riding outfit.

Lady Mary's evening dress from Season 1 (1913-1914) is absolutely gorgeous and was my personal favorite.

More views of this stunning gown.

One of my favorites, this costume was worn by housekeeper Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan).  This gown appears better in person, on camera the black on black brocade flowers is washed out, but in person it is very stunning.

Another stunning costume worn by Lady Mary, this piece reflected the emerging fashion for orientalism around 1913-1914.

More views of this lovely gown.

This lovely coat was worn by Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) during Season 2 set near the end of World War 1.

Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Frindlay) was the most fashion forward of the three Crawley sisters.

   Another great costume worn by Lady Mary.  I would love to have that handbag.

I would love to have that handbag.

Lady Rose MacClare (Lily James) embraced the Flapper ethos of the Jazz Age in her dress and her personality in Season 3.

 Violet, Dowager Duchess of Grantham will never give up the Edwardian style of dress that she is comfortable with, she has embraced the new fashions with a softer look.

Martha Levinson (Shirley MacLaine) brought a exotic flair with her when she arrived at Downton Abbey in 1920 during Season 3.

 Cora, Countess of Grantham's evening dress features the reemergence of panniers in fashionable dress.

Another one of my favorites, this costume worn by Cora, Countess of Grantham during Season 3.  This piece highlighted the skill of the costume designers.  The piece was original a tablecloth from the 1920's and was turned into this stunning piece.

Despite a changing era, some traditions remained firm as seen in this court dress worn by Cora, Countess of Grantham.

Maternity dress worn by Lady Sybil worn was Season 3.

The exhibit was simply stunning in its breath and selection of costumes.  I was a little disappointed that there were no costumes from seasons 4 and 5.  But this is a very small complaint and I enjoyed my time in the world of "Downton Abbey" immensely.  The exhibition is in Richmond until January 10, 2016, but is traveling the country and if you are a fan of Downton Abbey I highly recommend a visit.

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