Saturday, March 22, 2014

stylish dressing

Last week, for my birthday, a friend took me to see the Dressing for Downton Costume Exhibit at Spadina House in Toronto. Here is a postcard (because this is a nicer view than one at this time of year with dirty snow everywhere) of the 1866 house next door to the more famous Casa Loma. The house sits in what was at the time the wealthiest area of the city and was owned by James Austin who founded the TD Bank and Consumers Gas.
The exhibit and tour nicely ties in what life was like for the Granthams of Downton in Yorkshire and the Austins of Spadina in provincial Toronto during the 1920s and 30s. Things may not have been as grand or busy at Spadina House, but it was a little more progressive (telephone and electricity and kitchen gadgets, for example) 
On display were about 20 costumes worn by the Grantham sisters, Lord and Lady Grantham, the Dowager Countess, Matthew and Isobel Crawley as well as Mrs Patmore, Daisy, Mrs Hughes and O'Brian
My photos aren't the best, but there is a video link at the end that gives you a better idea of the dresses on display.
Mrs Hughes and her keys!

Lady Mary's dress worn on that fateful night when she took Kemal Pamuk as her lover
A "plain" dress worn by Lady Edith on the left and a dress worn by Lady Cora on the right
and Lady Sybil below

I cannot impress on you how tiny these dresses are! they don't look nearly as small in the pictures, but some of them (Lady Mary) had to be put on children's mannequins as they wouldn't fit on the adult ones.
there is also a Downton-inspired Afternoon Tea but ... it's sold out!
you only have until April 13, 2014 to see this exciting exhibit... (thank you, Beverly!)


  1. Ah back in the days when women dressed like women and lived like slaves. How tiny they were. No wonder so many died in childbirth in those days.

  2. Happy belated birthday. Such a nice way to have spent your day. It would be lovely to dress like that. Love the looks of Spadina House now that would be great to stay in.

  3. OOoh lovely exhibition. I don't follow Downton that much, but I do love the "frocks"! And belated happy birthday too!


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