This past Saturday I piled into a car with my other MFA Costume first years as well as a few lovely BFAs and adventured to Winterthur Estate in Delaware. We were all very excited because our professor had arranged for us to tour not only part of the beautiful mansion on the estate, but also the Downton Abbey costume exhibit. That's right I was in the same room as costumes worn by Maggie Smith and Dan Stevens. Cue excited girl giggles.
(WARNING: If you choose to continue there may be some spoilers for those who have only seen the first season. Proceed at your own risk)
Armed with my DSLR I worked my way through the beautifully organized exhibit battling gentlemen waiting for their wives and ladies carelessly flinging their arms in front of my camera to point at the "pretty dresses". Despite this I got some great shots and was able to get up close to many of the garments to see how they were constructed as well as pieces of detail that are edited out of the television series.
The first part of the exhibit chronicled the servants of Downton. I thought this little information snippet was interesting. The footmen's livery had buttons with the family's coat of arms on them. A very tiny detail, but still important to the uniform. Above is the example of Thomas' livery and buttons.
Then we moved on to other characters' costumes, Cora, Edith, Mary, Isabelle Crawley, etc. Click on a photo below to learn a little more about each section of the exhibit.
There is no way for me to fit every little bit of the exhibit into this blog post, and nor would I want to. I believe these costumes need to be seen in person, not just in pictures. I highly suggest the exhibit at Winterthur as well as the other parts of the museum and gardens on the estate.
I will leave you for now with an explanation of how the costumes fit each character.