Thursday, November 9, 2017
Day Trip to Downton Abbey... Part Two
Here is Part Two of highlights from the "Dressing Downton" exhibit at St. Augustine's Lightner Museum. What does one wear when being presented to the King and Queen of England during the Debutante Season in the early 1920s? Something lavishly beaded, lacy, and formal. And, according the the strict dress code, a headdress with three white Prince-of-Wales feathers attached to tulle veiling was required. The gray velvet dress on the right was worn by the Countess of Grantham, Lady Cora in Season 4.
This beaded silk dress was also one worn to Lady Rose's debutante ball in London.
Lady Mary Crawley wore this stunning dress of black net over light-color silk in the first season, circa 1913. The dress is embroidered with silver starbursts. This creation ranked near the top of my favorites, though it was not easy to choose favorites, the fashions were all so beautiful.
"Below stairs", the servants were garbed in black cotton dresses topped with decorative white ruffled aprons. Lady's Maid Anna Smith was often seen in this kind of garment in the early seasons of the show. Her job was to dress the Crawley daughters, choose their jewelry, and arrange their hair.
Lady Cora Crawley wore this fitted coat with black frogging and a large silk-trimmed hat during Season 1, circa 1913.
The museum had a nursery vignette set up with this lovely carved cradle and lace canopy, from their collection.
Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess, wore this purple day dress with a silk bolero and close-fitting hat in Season 1. The color was one permitted for those who were in "half-mourning" after a proper period of time had passed following a loss. The Crawleys had lost a family member in the Titanic disaster. Notice the clusters of grapes or wisteria on the lamp behind the dress. Another of my favorite pieces from the museum's collection.
Does it look as if I'm stalking the Crawley sisters? They were certainly fun to hang out with for the day. It does seem as if this exhibit is the final one in the tour which began at The Biltmore in Asheville, NC.
We worked up a hunger at the exhibit, so enjoyed this lovely salmon dish at La Pentola Restaurant nearby.
The Lightner is housed in the former Alcazar Hotel which was built by industrialist, founder of Standard Oil, and railroad magnate Henry Flagler in 1888. It houses Chicago publisher Otto Lightner's extensive collections of Victorian era decorative arts, and has a lovely collection of Tiffany glass. This is a stained glass image of St. Augustine.
One tidbit of note about the old Hotel Alcazar is that in the late 1800s, in addition to a casino and bowling alley, it also had the world's largest indoor swimming pool. You're looking at it here. Currently a restaurant and wedding venue, this was once a huge swimming pool where meets were held. Hotel guests could look down upon the pool from the mezzanine and upper level balconies. Learn more here, and see some photos of the watery phenomenon.
I may have just talked myself into watching the Downton Abbey series again!