The first post introduced the downstairs staff costumes, the maids and footmen, and the second showed many of the upstairs gentry outfits, with closeups of the antique details, embroidery, lace, and fabric.
Today, we’ll continue highlighting the beautiful dresses worn by the ladies and outfits worn by the gentlemen too. There are some Pinterest boards that you might be interested in too that you might want to consult or just to study of scenes and portraits of the actors in costume.
We were surprised to see the museum so crowded (but not uncomfortably so) when we visited on Tuesday. They report that the number of visitors has shot up because of this exhibit alone because of the popularity of the BBC series in America.
Susannah Buxton, the former fashion designer for Downton, received an Emmy for costume design. The current fashion designer is Caroline McCall.
According to Buxton, Downton Abbey clothes don’t strictly adhere to the period, but use the same aesthetic while trying to make Downton style attractive to modern audiences. She says it’s more a translation than historically accurate. Her effort was to have each costume support the personality of the character, rather than make a statement on its own. So many of the costumes cry out who wore each piece that I look at the photos and rarely ask myself which character wore what.
She has also said that it would be too expensive to make all the clothing required for each season entirely new, so the series management rents much of the clothing, or uses period pieces of material around which the rest of the costume is constructed.
I have clothing in my basement that once belonged to family members in the 1900’s, teens, 20’s, and 30’s. The detail of these fashions is similar to the antique parts of these costumes. Such amazing handwork long before machines took over lace making, knitting, embroidery, and similar textile decorations deserves to be preserved, if only in digital form from movie and TV cameras.
Or would it be better to give them to museums to better preserve what is left? Do you know of any archivists trying to save this stuff for the future?
Next post on this subject will be my favorite costumes, one of them an extraordinary original dress from the 1920’s.
Our Guest author today is Kate Wilson. Her website JetFeeds is a creative writer’s dream. She may be interested in everything known to human kind, but she certainly knows her winter hardy plants:
Batten down the hatches: the Farmer’s Almanac is calling for another harsh winter. For gardeners of all levels of experience, a cruel winter can produce feelings of pessimism or hopelessness. All your hard work might be laid to waste by snow, frost, and freezing temperatures. The chances of newly planted—or even veteran—species dying under the harsh conditions is high.
But don’t despair! Although some of your favorite heat-loving species will undoubtedly meet their wintery end, there’s no need for all of your hard work to go to waste. Try planting some of these hardy plants this fall, so come winter you’ll have something cheery to liven up your wintry landscape:
Holly bushes are usually one of the first winter-resistant species to jump to mind. This sturdy plant remains verdant all year round and—as an added bonus—actually becomes more vibrant and festive in winter months, thanks to its colorful berries.
Snowdrops do well in cold weather; a harsh winter won’t stop these petite beauties from popping up come spring. Plant the bulbs around trees, lampposts, or shrubs and watch for them to break through the last snow to provide the first hope of spring.
If the name Hellebores doesn’t inspire confidence, perhaps the nickname “Snow Rose” will. This perennial is known to flower as early as January and won’t be deterred from its schedule thanks to snow.
Golden Sword Yucca
Looking for a container staple that won’t turn your planter into a plant casket at the first sign of frost? The Golden Sword Yucca is great for year-round containers. It pairs well with a variety of other plants and, while it may not be as perky or vibrant in winter, it will snap back to top form come spring.
Shrubs are always a great choice for all seasons. Evergreen shrubs may suffer aesthetically during winter like many other plants, but most retain some color over the winter, regaining full vibrancy come spring. Some species, like the Green Mountain Boxwood, sustain their rich color year round, even during winter.
Hardy Sugar Cane
The name says it all: this plant is hardy. Hardy Sugar cane grows tall, towering over smaller plants without overwhelming; it adds vertical appeal that looks great year round. As an aesthetic bonus, the flowering heads shift from pink to silver through the seasons.
Japanese Fiber Banana
Although it won’t produce fruit, the Japanese Fiber Banana provides a striking, tropical component to your garden. This particular species grows tall and produces massive, light green leaves. What’s more, it can bounce back after winter, even a winter that reaches down to -20 degrees.
The Smoke Bush needs yearly pruning to maintain health and vibrancy, but will produce beautiful flowers and leaves that will dazzle in summer and fall. It comes in several varieties with unique hues, satisfying a range of visual preferences or needs. Known to do well in zones 5-8, the Smoke Bush can tough out a hard winter.
Arborvitaes are classic choices for privacy hedges due to their slim shape and lofty height. Their tall and slim tendencies also make them a great vertical focal point in a decorative bed. They do well in zones 4-7, so they are sure to weather a nasty winter. They just need proper watering and a little trimming to maintain their beauty. [Shenandoah suggests caution with this plant if you live in a deer-infested area because deer love most species of arborvitae. She will report next year about the survival of her next door neighbors' newly planted "Green Giant" variety which is said to be "deer resistant."]
Witch Hazel provides unique beauty to your lawn and garden during all seasons. Hardy enough to thrive in zones 3-9, it lights up with yellow leaves in autumn, followed by yellow flowers that cling even after the leaves have fallen off.
A garden or landscape made completely of evergreen shrubs will likely look a little drab. However, mixing a variety of the above species together with bolder, less-winter-resistant species insures that your yard will sustain a large portion of its beauty even in the harshest conditions. Choosing hardier plants is just one of many tactics you can use to prepare your garden for winter. With enough preparation, come spring you’ll only have to overhaul your bolder, more temperature sensitive accent plants, not your whole landscape.