‘Titanic’ costume exhibit opens in February at Biltmore

ASHEVILLE — Quickly on the heels of the 20th anniversary of 1997’s blockbuster hit “Titanic,” Biltmore will launch a new exhibition, Glamour on Board: Fashion from Titanic the Movie. The exhibition offers dazzling attire worn by actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, and many others from the film’s large cast. Staged throughout Biltmore House, the exhibition opens Feb. 9 and runs through May 13.

With these costumes, guests will have perfect examples of the luxurious wardrobes favored by transatlantic travelers like George and Edith Vanderbilt in the early 1900s.

This is the first large-scale exhibition of fashions from Titanic, which won a record 11 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Costume Design. Showcasing the work of Oscar-winning designer Deborah L. Scott, the garments evoke the lifestyle of the era when voyages on the great ocean liners of the early 20th century offered high society and luxury on ships known as “floating palaces.” First class passengers took every opportunity to see and be seen in the finest fashions of the time. And, just like Jack and Rose, the fictional couple at the heart of Titanic, the days at sea fostered friendships and romances, including Vanderbilt’s courtship of Edith Stuyvesant Dresser.

“We are all fascinated with Titanic, and this moment in history,” said Leslie Klingner, Biltmore’s curator of interpretation. “It’s intriguing to think about what was happening in the daily lives of the Vanderbilts, and how closely that connected to what the filmmakers showed onscreen.” For example, the formal dinner scene in which Jack joins the first class passengers takes place in the ship’s dining room. Costumes from that scene are set in the Banquet Hall where the Vanderbilts and their house guests dined in full evening dress for their evening meals.

Klingner notes that many of the gowns displayed in the Second Floor Living Hall were worn by an actor portraying a real person who actually sailed on Titanic. They included the Astors and the Guggenheims – couples the Vanderbilts would have known or were familiar with. The costumes are luxurious and highly detailed, featuring accessories such as fans, elaborate jewelry and long gloves.

“Guests at Biltmore would have dressed in a very similar manner. I can imagine them assembled in the Living Hall, taking a moment to visit with fellow guests or admire the paintings before going down to dine in the Banquet Hall,” Klingner said.

New guided tour debuts during Glamour on Board

The exhibition is part of the self-guided tour through Biltmore House and is included in estate admission. Guests interested in a more in-depth experience may wish to take the Glamour on Board Guided Tour, created and designed by Biltmore’s museum services team especially for this exhibition. Hosts conducting the tour will provide colorful details about the costume design process, with insights into the elegance of the era’s fashions, culture of the times, connections with the Vanderbilts, and making of the film. This guided tour requires a separate ticket.

Learn more about the Vanderbilts

Guests will be able to learn even more about the family who called Biltmore home by visiting the Biltmore Legacy in Antler Hill Village. The Vanderbilts at Home and Abroad exhibition is located here, and gives guests deeper insight into the family’s time at home and on their extensive travels throughout Europe and the Far East. Complementing Glamour on Board, the Legacy exhibition delves into the Vanderbilt family’s daily lives and their unique personalities. Guests will get a close-up look at many of the exotic and rare treasures they collected throughout their lives. Opens March 15.

Glamour on Board around the estate

· Stay overnight

When Glamour on Board opens in Feb., The Inn on Biltmore Estate will offer a special Valentine’s Package during the month that includes a special room delivery of Biltmore red wine, chocolates, and a dozen red roses upon arrival. The Inn is perfect for those seeking a retreat with personalized service, and four-star accommodations in a private hilltop setting.

· Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate is for guests looking for a casual overnight stay. It is located in the heart of Antler Hill Village just steps away from shopping, dining, Biltmore’s Winery, and live music in the Village.

· Both The Dining Room at The Inn on Biltmore Estate (Feb. 9 through 17) and Bistro (Feb. 14) will offer special Valentine’s dining options. Reservations required.

· Glamour on Board: Fashion from Titanic the Movie Tea at The Inn

Live orchestral music, period décor, and actors in period attire create an immersive atmosphere as guests dine on a selection of teas and artfully prepared light bites inspired by the tea menu served on Titanic. Taking place in the Vanderbilt Room at The Inn, the tea will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. on April 14. Call 866-336-1245 to reserve.

· Orchid Talks in the Conservatory

Biltmore’s large collection of orchids in the Conservatory is the subject of Biltmore’s free Orchid Talks. Biltmore’s on-site orchid experts offer the history of orchids on the estate, and how they are grown and cared for. Jan. 22 through March 16.

For tickets, reservations, and more information, visit Biltmore.com/visit.