George Vanderbilt was once described by New York media as “one of the best read men in the county,” and now his impressive library will come to life. From the movies of “Anna Karenina” to “Sherlock Holmes,” Academy Award winning costumes will be on display at Biltmore House for its new exhibition, “Designed for Drama: Fashion from the Classics.” The exhibition begins February 10 and runs until July 4, 2017. One of Vanderbilt’s favorite places in the 250-room estate was his library, which contained around 22,000 various works. From a young age, he made a habit of logging each book completed. At the time of his death in 1914, Vanderbilt had read 3,159 books. In a news release Biltmore Estate shared, “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.”Period piece fashion from Vanderbilt’s favorite collections will be the central focus. From ornate 19th century Russian gowns seen in “Anna Karenina,” the dress Nicole Kidman wore in “The Portrait of a Lady” to simple attire such as those in Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” the costumes come from 14 recent films with literary connections and boast both Academy and Emmy wins. “The costumes on display 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,” according to the news release. This will be Biltmore’s third costume exhibition. The first two foraged the relationship between the Biltmore’s Museum Services Team and the award-winning costumier Cosprop in London. For Fashion from the Classics, a new partnership was formed with Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. This partnership also came with an added bonus, a personal visit by one of the few paper wig designers in the U.S. “Carolyn Jamerson, the institute’s collections manager and chief mount maker, traveled to Biltmore to create wigs on-site for the costumed mannequins,” stated the release from BIltmore. “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, she says, are meant to provide texture and structure without distracting from the costume.”Not only will literary buffs love the exhibit, but cinema enthusiasts and fashionistas will delight to see rarely viewed, award-winning costumes. “Designed for Drama: Fashion from the Classics,” is included with admission to Biltmore House.
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