March 18, 2018

{Titanic Glamour On Board at Biltmore}

By the turn of the 20th century, when touring the European continent was fashionable for wealthy Americans, transatlantic travel became luxurious to suit those “gilded age” patrons. Ocean liners like Cunard’s RMS Aquitania, The French Line’s S.S. France, and White Star Line’s RMS Olympic were synonymous with extravagance and glamour.

For over a century, stories of one of those ships, the ill-fated RMS Titanic which tragically sank on its first voyage in 1912, has captivated the public—and dozens of books and films have kept the fascination alive! The most famous of those movies, James Cameron’s 1997 Oscar-winning epic, recreated the grandeur of the time, including the elegant fashions. How appropriate that Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina hosts the first large-scale exhibition of its costumes: “Glamour on Board: Fashion from Titanic the Movie.”

Now through May 13, 2018, the exhibition at Biltmore House represents the extensive wardrobes preferred by intercontinental travelers like George and Edith Vanderbilt in the early 1900s. Visitors will learn more about the Vanderbilts’ worldwide travels while viewing 45 of the award-winning “Titanic” costumes, evoking the era’s gilded lifestyle.

Since first-class passengers strolled the promenade decks, had tea in richly-decorated lounges, and dined at elegant formal dinners (all dressed-to-the-nines in different outfits for each occasion), costume designer Deborah Lynn Scott and her team had hundreds of garments to recreate and authentically accessorize—down to the proper collar studs and cuff links for the men, and corsets and hatpins for the ladies. (Recreating the hats alone became a “titanic” task!) Scott’s design team scoured international antique markets to find as many original period garments as possible; other ensembles were custom made from original patterns of the era, embellished with vintage beadwork and appliques.

Entrance to “Glamour on Board: Fashion from Titanic the Movie” at Biltmore is included in the general admission ticket price. However, a limited number of special-ticket guided tours are available, taking you behind-the-scenes of the glamorous period! ~

[Reprinted from my article in the Spring issue of SEASON magazine. Images of the costume exhibition inside Biltmore House above courtesy of The Biltmore Company.]

Click here for other Titanic Fashion Happenings!

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