Friday, April 28, 2017

The Downton Experience Part 2

This is a multi-part series on my trip to the Dressing Downton Exhibit at the Mall of America in January. You can check out the first post here!

All costume facts are sourced from the pamphlet provided by the exhibit.

This burgundy day dress is made of Moroccan silk and worn by Lady Mary in Season 6 (1925).

I really love the details of the pleats in this skirt. I don't believe we get to see them in the show, but man, look how sharp and crisp and tiny they are!

Pleats are a fashion statement you don't see often these days because they do take some care to keep in shape, and that is not something we do for our clothes anymore. No Anna, no pleats!

The bodice of the dress is much simpler, but it still has some lovely structure in this drapey asymmetrical neckline.

And this gray dress, also made from silk, is worn by Lady Edith in the same scene. The two textures you see in the garment are actually from the same length of silk--both the shiny and matte sides were used to create texture in this garment.

Note my hand gesturing for my husband to get a close up of the neck detail...

...which you can see here. Anyone who has sewn with silk will know that it is an extremely fussy fabric, and to get a narrow finish like this to lie smooth is insanely difficult. Again, an impressive detail that you'd never catch on the small screen.

The men of Downton wear ensembles that vary little from day to day, so we had far fewer examples of their costumes than of the women. This herringbone tweed was one of the few examples on display. You probably won't recognize it, but it was worn by Lady Mary's godfather, Dickie Merton, in season 6 (1925). As indicated by the accompanying props, it is a three-piece suit meant to be worn during the day for casual errands.

Here we have a burgundy wool coat and cream blouse worn by Lady Mary in Season 5 (1924). I actually rather hate the button decorations on the blouse (I have a weird button phobia, especially in strong contrast colors like this), but button fans will probably want to know that the buttons are vintage jet and diamante.

This is another Lady Mary gown, as worn for Sybbie's christening in season 3 (1920). It is mauve silk, as appropriate for a mourning gown, and features gorgeous embellishment.

A closer look at the embellishment. I would really love to do more of this sort of embroidery myself, it is a really gorgeous effect.

And here we have a Dowager Countess ensemble. As a staunch relic of her day and age, Violet retains the rich texture and layers of the Edwardian (and sometimes Victorian) age, which make her costumes some of the yummiest.

This gown is an evening dress, worn by Violet in Season 6 (1925). The gold lace is antique, as is the belt.

The closer you get to the dress, the more layers you see in it.

I mean, look at that embroidery!

Orange and gray are not a favorite color combo of mine, but even I have to admit that this Season 4 (1923) evening dress of Lady Edith's is a stunner. Deceptively simple from a distance, closer looks reveal an insane level of detail.

That is not a woven texture, it is beadwork!

I, like most dressmakers, appreciate knowing how a dress goes on. Details like the shoulder attachment here, and the glimpse of the undertunic are invaluable.

For the third and final post on our Downton Abbey Costume Adventure, click here!

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