Two Ways to Experience Downton in Asheville

Two Ways to Experience Downton in Asheville
New costume display & banquet series welcome Season 5

Footmen set the table at Lex18's Downton Abbey dinner series.
With the fifth season of Downton Abbey kicking off on January 4, 2015, fans of the show will soon have new ways to experience the high-class, upstairs-downstairs drama for themselves.

More than 40 original costumes from the hit PBS series are on their way to Biltmore for the highly anticipated exhibit "Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times," which opens Feburary 5. Two dresses have already arrived and are on display to estate guests (see below).

If swooning over Lady Mary's wardrobe is not enough, visitors can now eat like a Crawley as well. Lex18, a 1920's-style speakeasy in the heart of downtown Asheville, has introduced a special banquet and viewing party series to run with the show's fifth season. Each Sunday evening through March 1, the restaurant will host an intimate and interactive vintage dinner recreating the flavors, styles and traditions celebrated at Downton.

Each dinner will be limited to 16 guests and will include:

  • a cocktail hour with a discussion of 1920s music, art and fashion; 
  • a five-course meal served on china by footmen dressed in tails; 
  • an interactive cast of actors portraying Crawley family-inspired characters; and 
  • a champagne and dessert course to accompany a live broadcast screening of that night's new episode.

Tickets and additional details can be found on Lex18's website.

Biltmore adds preview garb

Downton devotees are also looking forward to Biltmore's upcoming exhibit, which will run through Memorial Day 2015 and will be included with estate admission.

Earlier this month, a second preview costume arrived at Biltmore and is currently on display in the Reception & Ticketing Sales Center located just before the admission gate:

Madeleine Allsopp dress. Courtesy of Biltmore.

The costume is an original 1920s flapper dress of lilac silk with a silver metallic fabric overlay, layered with a scalloped hemline and seeded with faux pearls. It was chosen by series designer Caroline McCall and worn by Rose’s friend Madeleine (played by Poppy Drayton) for Downton Abbey's Christmas Special.

Both this and the costume worn by Violet Crawley will remain on display through the end of the exhibition in May 2015.

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