The Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, a former Du Pont estate in
Delaware, branched out from its focus on 17th to 19th century decorative
and fine arts in 2015 with its first costume design exhibition, "Costumes of 'Downton Abbey,'" in 2015 for a pretty relatable reason. "Our director was an avid fan," says Estate Historian Jeff Groff. The "Downton"
exhibit "paralleled" the culture and lifestyle of the fictional
aristocratic Crawleys with the American Du Ponts through wardrobe,
architecture and furniture. The museum's sophomore effort, "Costuming 'The Crown,'" which opens on March 30, focuses on the creative and design processes of the Emmy-winning designers Michele Clapton (season one) and Jane Petrie (season two). (The director is a fan of the Netflix series, too.) . . . .
For "Costuming the Crown," Kim Collison, Manager of Exhibitions &
Collection Planning at the Winterthur, closely collaborated with Petrie
and Clapton to best showcase their design process, incorporate
behind-the-scenes anecdotes and determine the final lineup. "Michele
said, 'No, I really want this one here," say Collison, over the
phone, about including a soft pink off-the-shoulder dress that Princess
Margaret (Vanessa Kirby) wears in two meaningful story moments in the
The exhibition will feature famous recreated
ensembles, like Queen Elizabeth II's gilded coronation robes and the
aforementioned blue dress, but also original designs by the Clapton and
Petrie, like the Duchess of Windsor's Schiaparelli and Mainbocher-inspired cardigan and dress set in season one and
Margaret's fabulous abstract check coat and scarf look worn for a visit to Tony Amstrong in season two. (Spectacular reproductions of royal crowns and jewels will be featured, too.)
"We had around 50 pieces here, but we maybe could have had 500,"
says Rafael Gomes, Director of SCAD Fashion Exhibitions, about
filtering down his selections for "Cinematic Couture." The exhibit
included an expansive collection of movie and TV costumes, including the
aforementioned Oscar-winning "Dangerous Liaisons" gowns, Jenny Beavan's
16th century-ish dresses for Drew Barrymore in "Ever After: A
Cinderella Story," Michael O'Connor's Oscar-winning 18th century
aristocratic ensembles in "The Duchess" and Rosalind Ebbutt's 19th
century designs for "Victoria" on the small screen. Gomes, like the
Winterthur for "Downton Abbey," worked with London-based costume house Cosprop, which has a dedicated exhibitions department. . . .