Downton Abbey Costume Exhibit!

Staff uniforms of Daisy, Thomas, & Mrs. Hughes
A couple of weeks ago for a post-birthday girl trip getaway I met my friend Katherine at the Winterthur Museum in Delaware. It was only about 2 hours away, so not too bad a drive! The Winterthur Museum is a lovely, private museum and house that was owned by Henry Francis du Pont. He was an avid collector of American decorative arts and was also a dedicated gardener. His natural gardens are really lovely.

I had heard last year about the museum hosting an exhibit, the only of its kind in the U.S., of the costumes of the first three seasons of BBC's Downton Abbey. I've followed the show and have enjoyed it, though I'm not obsessed. :-) I adored the costumes from the first two seasons (before the 20s hit) and so I really, really wanted to see them in person!

Katherine and I gave in to our completely girly, giggly side as soon as we walked into the exhibit, especially when I found out we could take pictures. It was fabulous! The exhibit winds through the seasons, starting from the beginning. At the start you get Mrs. Hugh's dress, Thomas's butler's suit, and Daisy's maid's dress. There were oodles and oodles of signs, hardly any of which that I read. To be honest, I didn't want to read about Edwardian servant culture. I just wanted to see the costumes!

First impressions: these were definitely costumes. The materials used were interesting. On some of the costumes where antique fabrics and laces were used, you can really see their wear and tear.

The other things that unexpectedly stunned me is that you got a very real sense of the stature and build of the actors who wore those costumes! I was surprised how broad-chested Dan Stevens is. (He plays Matthew Crawley.) And Brendan Coyle, who plays John Bates, was shorter than I was expecting. It was all very interesting!

Edith's wedding gown train
I was never very fond of Edith's wedding gown, though the beadwork on the train was fantastic and so beautiful. It's such a shame you don't see much of it in the show.

Love me some British hunting tweeds!
The hunting tweeds were awesome! I adore British hunting tweeds and wish I had my own outfit...

Sybil's shocking Harem Pants outfit!
The show stopper for me was Sybil's harem pants outfit. It was spectacular! It was one of the outfits with antique lace and you could see where it had unfortunately torn. So lovely though. I loved seeing it in the show and it was even better in person.

The velvet jacket is a lovely deep olive green,
though it's hard to tell from the photo
Another stunner was Lady Cora Crawley's white beaded dress. The beadwork was exquisite! I remember seeing it in the show and sighing over its loveliness.

Overall, it was a great exhibit and Katherine and I enjoyed it thoroughly! We were even able to take corny pictures in front of a huge backdrop of Downton Abbey itself. Haha!

To see all my pictures of the costumes on display visit my flikr album here!


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