Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times

I am/was a huge fan of the British period drama, Downton Abbey. When my friend, Karen, saw that I was here this week she sent me this very fortuitous link http://dressingdownton.com/.

For the only West Coast appearance, Muzeo Museum is proud to host Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times from February 12 through May 7, 2017. Dressing Downton highlights fashion from one of the most widely watched television dramas in the world, Downton Abbey®. Follow your favorite characters, both upstairs and down; walk through a costume chronicle of the period that showcases costumes and jewelry from the hit series.
Even if you were not a fan of the show, the elegance, details and history of these costumes and the era from which they came is quite intriguing. Displayed in chronological order, this exhibit is a short recap of an amazing six season television series.
The story line begins in 1912, with the sinking of the Titanic. While I will not recap the show, it is important to the costuming. The purple gown, worn by Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, was an acceptable color for mourning because those lost were not immediate family members.
I thoroughly delighted in the ability to inspect closely and also see images of the costumes being worn. There were informative plaques to be read as well, allowing one to linger and savor. So fun!

Housekeeper Mrs Hughes and her always present keys were two of my favorite characters.

The love story between Matthew Crawley and Lady Mary was touching and tragic. I delighted in seeing them together once again.
Lady Edith, the underdog, was probably my favorite. I love that she pushed through barriers and really was an early feminist (depicted by her pants).

Probably my least favorite character, though exquisitely dressed, was Martha Levinson (played by Shirley MacLaine). She is Cora Crawley, Lady Grantham's brash, outspoken American mother, a wealthy widow with homes in New York City and Newport, Rhode Island.

Two costume designers, Caroline McCall and Anna Mary Scott Robbins, were responsible for creating the period-appropriate looks. The series covers the years between 1912 and 1926, and we watched the characters go from Edwardian dresses and dowdy updos to flapper gear, marcel waves and one scandalous bob. Most, I learned, were either vintage outfits or made from vintage fabrics. Cora's dress for Edith's wedding, was made from a 1920's tablecloth. So very interesting.
In praising this exhibition, The New York Post stated, "We think even the Dowager Countess would approve." High praise indeed. While this is a small exhibition, I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting the people who inhabited Downton Abbey. I have missed them all and seeing their clothing and images reminded me of how much I loved the show and the lives of the characters who, for six years, were very real to me.

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Cyndy Brown said...

If this exhibit ever reaches Reno or Sacramento...let's go? I LOVE the costumes!!!

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