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Dressing Downton Catalogue
Item #: 20122
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Description 

The costumes in the exhibition Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times comes from the wildly popular British period drama Downton Abbey , a co-production of Carnival Films and PBS's Masterpiece.  The Televisions series has won numerous prestigious awards and has been recognized for its outstanding costume design. 

The exhibition and this catalogue explore fashions in Britain between 1912, the year the Titanic sank, and the early 1920s, the dawn of the Jazz Age.  This period, marked particularly by the impact of World War I (1914-1918), saw great changes in people's lives and in the way they dressed.

As the series opens we meet the Crawleys, living in the fictional Yorkshire estate of Downton Abbey.  We meet Lady Mary, the eldest daughter of the aristocratic family, and her sisters.  Their days are spent preparing themselves for a successful marriage.

Much of the Crawley women's time is taken up with their wardrobe - dressing for a succession of social engagements that fill their days. The clothes in Dressing Downton feature the fashions worn by aristocratic families alongside the uniforms of their servants.  The costumes are inspired by old photographs, paintings, patterns and magazine pictures.  Some costumes are largely original.  Others are made from vintage fabrics by highly skilled dressmakers with stunning results.  Most are supplied by the renowned London costume house, Cosprop Ltd.

By showing period costumes in historical context, Dressing Downton illustrates the progression of style in Britain from the bustles and corsets of the Dowager Countess to the liberating, French-style fashion choices of Lady Sybil; from white tie and tails for men—de rigueur for formal dinners—to the more relaxed short dinner jacket with black tie.  There is a costume for every activity and time of day in Dressing Downton.