ASHEVILLE – Fans going through "Downton Abbey" withdrawal, awaiting the show's return to PBS in January, now have something else to anticipate anxiously.
In February, Biltmore will open a new exhibition of costumes from the popular series, titled "Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times." The exhibit is designed by Exhibits Development Group in cooperation with London's Cosprop Ltd., which created the TV series' costumes.
The outfits will be shown within Biltmore House, so the show will be included with estate admission. Tickets for dates in February go on sale in July. As always, season pass holders may visit any time but may need free timed tickets for admission to the house on busy days.
The show features more than 40 costumes from the series, the fifth season of which debuts in September in the U.K. and in January in the U.S. The Biltmore exhibit runs through Memorial Day.
The clothing will be showcased in rooms throughout Biltmore House in groupings inspired by the fictional show and by real life at Biltmore, the 250-room Asheville home George Vanderbilt built and lived in during the same era as the fictional show.
Biltmore opened at Christmas 1895. The story of "Downton Abbey" began with the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, when George, his wife Edith and daughter Cornelia all still lived at Biltmore. George died in 1914, but the family remained in the home throughout the time period of "Downton," which ended its fourth season with an episode set in the summer of 1923.
The period costumes in the exhibition cover that period, from 1912 through World War I and into the dawn of the Jazz Age in the early 1920s.
As part of the exhibit, "New stories will be shared about George Vanderbilt, his wife Edith, and their daughter Cornelia," the estate said in a press statement.
"The day-to-day running of the house was surprisingly similar to that of Downton Abbey," said Biltmore's director of museum services, Ellen Rickman. "Just like Downton has [butler] Mr. Carson and [housekeeper] Mrs. Hughes, Biltmore had its own cast of fascinating characters. Displaying these fabulous costumes from the show gives us an unparalleled opportunity to delve into Biltmore's stories."
The press statement noted that costumes in the show "will range from country tweeds, to servants' uniforms, to lavish gowns and evening attire cut from fine fabrics and decorated with intricate embroidery, lace and beading. ... Some are original pieces from the time period, while others incorporate antique decorative elements that inspired the overall costume design."
• For Biltmore visitor information, visit www.Biltmore.com or call 800-411-3812.
• For the Citizen-Times weekly columns comparing Biltmore to each Downton Abbey episode, visit CITIZEN-TIMES.com and type "Downton Abbey" into the search box.