Biltmore's 5th Clothing Exhibition, a Vanderbilt House Party, runs February 8 and through May 27, 2019. Elegant fashions worn by the Vanderbilts recreated by Oscar-winning designer John Bright will fill the grand rooms of Biltmore House when Biltmore’s newest exhibition.
This is the first time reproductions of clothing from the Vanderbilts’ very own wardrobes are displayed in the settings in which they were originally worn: the elegant rooms of Biltmore House.
For many years, Biltmore's curators have researched what it was like when the Vanderbilts entertained guests at Biltmore House.
Using information gleaned from letters, photographs and documents in the Vanderbilt archives, the curatorial team has created an experience that will put today's visitors into the action of the time when George and Edith Vanderbilt extended their boundless hospitality to family and friends.
“This exhibition is unlike any we’ve ever done before,” says Leslie Klingner, Biltmore’s curator of interpretation. “You will get a sense of what life was truly like at Biltmore.”
Klingner and Ellen Rickman, Biltmore’s director of museum services, traveled between London and Asheville over the course of two years to work with Oscar-winning designer John Bright to recreate the Vanderbilt wardrobe, researching fashion magazines of the era and studying archival photography and portraits from Biltmore’s collection in great detail in order to create the designs found in the exhibition.
“To bring these photographs that have been in black and white for more than a century into vivid, living color representations has been incredible,” says Klingner.
Among the artwork, tapestries, and antiques in Biltmore House and the Vanderbilt collection, there are few pieces of clothing from the Gilded Age-era. Clothing tends to deteriorate through the years.
“This exhibition is like we’re replacing a piece of the collection that was missing,” said Dini Cecil Pickering, great-granddaughter of George Vanderbilt who was Biltmore’s founder.
Your tour will be even further enhanced by the new Premium Audio Guided Tour. This unique component of the exhibition combines innovative 360° sound techniques with stories told from the perspectives of those who lived and worked at Biltmore in the early 1900s. This creates a unique, immersive and wonderful audio-visual experience for guests.
The new Premium Audio Guided Tour is free only with online ticket purchases at www.biltmore.com, or can be purchased at Biltmore for an additional fee.
Just as the Vanderbilts’ guests did, guests today may extend their visit with an overnight stay at one of Biltmore’s lodging properties. Both The Inn on Biltmore Estate and Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate are offering A Vanderbilt House Party packages throughout the exhibition’s run.
>> See our Full Guide to Biltmore Estate for all the great things to do and see.
Guests visiting the estate may also tour the estate’s gardens, explore hiking and biking trails, dine at one of the many restaurants, and spend time visiting and shopping at Antler Hill Village & Winery. The Biltmore Winery offers complimentary tastings from among more than 20 of Biltmore’s handcrafted award-winning varieties.
Additionally, Biltmore’s winemaker has created a special red dessert wine, Mariporta, for the new exhibition.