Designed for Drama: Fashion from the Classics
The artistry of great literary works, costume design, and movie making comes together in “Designed for Drama: Fashion from the Classics,” Biltmore’s new exhibition premiering in Biltmore House on Feb. 10, 2017. Inspired by George Vanderbilt’s love of literature, the exhibition showcases award-winning movie costumes from films based on favorite books in his collection. The exhibition will run through July 4, 2017.
Once recognized as “one of the best read men in the country,” Vanderbilt amassed a library of more than 22,000 volumes at his North Carolina home. A reader from an early age, he began at the age of 12 keeping a record of the books he read, including the title and author of each work. By his death in 1914, Vanderbilt had logged 3,159 books.
That literary connection is a central theme in the exhibition, with the original books from Vanderbilt’s library that inspired the films accompanying the costumes. This also marks the first time most of the volumes have been displayed to the public.
Wide-ranging fashions in Biltmore House
The exhibition features elaborate costumes from recent films that bring literary characters to life, from the detective duo of Holmes and Watson in “Sherlock Holmes” to the creation of the Peter Pan story in “Finding Neverland.” The costumes reveal the attention to detail involved in period costume design, and represent the work of costume designers at the highest level of their profession, numbering Academy Awards and Emmys among their honors.
A collaborative effort
This is Biltmore’s third costume exhibition, all of which brought together the estate’s Museum Services team and Cosprop Ltd., London, an award-winning costumier that has designed countless fashions for film and television productions. Work leading up to “Designed for Drama” has involved a new collaboration, this time with Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles.
Carolyn Jamerson, the institute’s collections manager and chief mount maker, traveled to Biltmore to create wigs on-site for the costumed mannequins. Jamerson is one of the few paper wig designers in the country. While she uses simple tools to construct each wig, the precision and attention to detail results in a life-like yet ethereal effect. The wigs are meant to provide texture and structure without distracting from the costume.
Admission to the new exhibition is included with a visit to Biltmore.
For more information, visit www.biltmore.com.