Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Designed for Drama: Fashion From the Classics at the Biltmore

The Biltmore in Ashton, North Carolina is a fairly short drive away from Tennessee so, towards the end of our trip we made a day trip up there to visit this gorgeous estate. My parents and I had just toured through this magnificent home about 6 months earlier, CLICK HERE to see pictures from that visit.

We were excited to spend some time in the gardens before going through the house since we didn't have time to see them last time we were here.

We spent a long time in the conservatory. Conservatories are one of my favorite things, I find them beautiful, tranquil and exotic.

There were tons of rooms, all of which focused on different kinds of flowers. One of the first rooms we went through was filled with dozens of different types of orchids in all colors and sizes.

Then it was time to return to the main house for our tour. To be honest, I wasn't looking forward to touring through the estate again, we had just barely been here and it seemed repetitive. Luckily, there was a special exhibit going on called Designed for Drama: Fashion From the Classics. Inspired by George Vanderbilt’s love of literature, “Designed for Drama” showcased more than 40 award-winning movie costumes from films based on favorite books in his collection. Such a fun idea for an exhibit!

The first costumes we saw were from one of my all time favorite movies, Finding Neverland. I love the imaginative qualities of this movie, and it still makes me cry every time I see it. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Achievement in Costume Design.

These stunning dresses are from the film Twelfth Night and were worn by Helena Bonham Carter and  Imogen Stubbs.

These dresses from The Golden Bowl were definitely eye catching. The peacock inspired ensemble was worn by Uma Thurman and the lacy, peach gown was worn by Kate Beckinsale.

Two more gorgeous gowns from The Golden Bowl.

Seeing the costumes set in the grandeur of the Biltmore rooms was such a delight. I'm sure much thought went into which outfits matched each room the best. I love thinking about the behind the scenes curation of exhibits. I took a class on curating museum exhibits as well as curated my own show all about color at the Springville Museum of Art, so I have the slightest bit of understanding of all the thought that goes into something like this. I so wish I could have been a part of the team that but this one of a kind exhibit together, it would have been a fascinating process to watch.

Next up was The Legend of Sleepy Hallow. I loved how the costumes fit into this room the best, they were also my favorite set of outfits.

The library is one of my favorite rooms in the house, so I was excited to see which film they chose to showcase in that room. I was thrilled to discover costumes from Sense and Sensibility, another one of my favorite films. Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman make my heart flutter each time I watch them carefully woo the Dashwood Sisters.

I was intrigued, but also slightly confused by this foyer display, it didn't seem to fit the feel of the rest of the exhibition. I circled the table looking for some explanation or some tie into the Wizard of Oz, but no explanation was found, so we are all left to interpret this literary tornado as we will.

Something I did love about this display were the little book vignettes displayed under glass domes, I'm going to log this idea away for some future party.

Continuing our literary classics tour upstairs, we were met with these exquisite costumes from Anna Karenina. This film won the Academy Award for Best Achievement in Costume Design.

Along with the costumes, the rooms were also decorated with books and flowers. As I often love to use books in my decorating and tablescapes, I was inspired by the many ways they incorporated books into their floral arrangements.

Throughout the house, there were a few of these rare edition book displays that came from George Vanderbilt's very own book collection.

The next several rooms showcased costumes from the 2011 Jane Eyre. This is another Academy Award nominated film for Best Achievement in Costume Design.

This next, sunshine yellow room was another one of my favorite rooms last time we toured the house. I love everything from the unique shape, to the bright, yet soothing colors, to the textures and designs of the fabrics and it's overall feminine feel.

The costumes displayed in this room were from The House of Mirth. This literary classic was written by Edith Wharton, who was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

2015's Far From the Maddening Crowd also got several rooms to display it's costumes.

The last film that was showcased in this wonderful and enchanting exhibit was The Portrait of a Lady which starred Nicole Kidman and was nominated for the Academy Award in Costume Design.

1 comment:

  1. I loved this post! It would make a lovely power point to show at a bookclub. It combines period architecture with books that lead to films, so touches on three types of art. With the flowers as well, it is enchanting and could be enjoyed with the pictures in larger form. I feel it would also promote a lot of discussion...of the dresses, the book and the film and how people reacted to them. Perfect with a three tiered tray of tea sandwiches and scones, and a selection of fruity herbal teas. I enjoyed how carefully you documented the name of the film for each room and the stars who played in the film; that must have taken some research.