Downton Abbey premiered in the U.S. a decade ago, but today, more than five years after concluding its six-season run, the period drama remains one of the most acclaimed British costume dramas of all time. Several of those elegant costumes from the series about a family of British aristocrats and their domestic servants are on display at the NORTHWEST MUSEUM OF ARTS & CULTURE in Spokane, Washington. The MAC is hosting “Dressing the Abbey”, a traveling exhibit featuring more than three dozen original costumes from the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning show. Styles span the series’ timeline from 1912 to the mid-1920s, and savvy fans may recognize exactly who and when each exquisite outfit was worn among characters like the Lord and Lady Grantham, their three daughters and household employees.
This is the perfect occasion to relive the Emmy and Golden Globe-honored drama, which ran for six seasons on PBS (2011-2016) and was one of the most widely watched TV shows in the world. Experience original costumes worn by the stars that depict fashions of the British aristocracy and their servants in the early 20th century. The exhibition showcases the turbulence and changes in the late Edwardian era into the 1920s through the fashions of the period, while evoking fans’ favorite moments.
The exhibition presents 38 costumes created for the British series that covered the years just prior to WWI starting with the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 up to the dawn of the Jazz Age in 1925.
The costumes were made for the show’s aristocratic Crawley family and their servants who inhabit the fictional English country estate of Downton Abbey and range from country tweeds and riding outfits; servants’ uniforms and footmen’s livery; to lavish evening attire crafted from sumptuous fabrics and decorated with intricate embroidery, lace, and beading.
Designed from old photographs and patterns, sometimes incorporating pieces of vintage fabric with stunning handwork, the clothing was produced by the renowned London costume house, Cosprop Ltd.
On display are Carson, the butler’s black dinner jacket, waistcoat, and trousers; Lady Sybil’s “maternity” dress; family wedding guest outfits from Edith’s first wedding; gowns from Lady’s Rose’s presentation to “Court”; ladies’ gowns from dinner at Downton; and much more.
The selections include accessories. and are enhanced with sets, lighting and effects designed by Spokane Civic Theatre with period furnishings from the museum’s collection.
The exhibition was developed by Exhibits Development Group which tours exhibitions globally including 2020’s Pompeii: The Immortal City.