TWENTIES ON SHOW: Original Twenties frocks and evening coats reminiscent of Lady Mary’s lavish attire in “Downton Abbey” are on display at Galleria Dallas through Feb. 28.

“The inspiration was to coincide with the last season of ‘Downton Abbey’ and the popularity that show has garnered through the years,” explained Martha Hinojosa, director of marketing and business development at the mall. “It’s an era of such exquisite beauty in fashion.”

“Decadence: Fashions From the 1920s” features rarefied pieces, including an apricot silk chiffon wedding gown and a white ermine capelet with tails by Madeleine Vionnet, three pleated Delphos dresses by Mariano Fortuny, and a Lucien Lelong aubergine silk satin gown with a cascading sculptural bustle.

The show was curated by Ken Weber, co-owner of Vintage Martini, a Dallas boutique of fine fashions dating from the 1800s to last spring. A former costumer for film and television, Weber has been passionate about fashion history since he was a design student.

“The Twenties was such a giant leap for fashion — how quickly it went from this rigid, structured, almost manly look in the Teens to very little undergarments and shifts and sheath dresses and hemlines that went all the way up to the knees by 1925,” Weber pointed out. “There has been so much 1920s fashion on the runways, especially since Prada did ‘The Great Gatsby,’ and I want people to realize that what they’re wearing is inspired from the past.”

All the couture pieces and most of the looks on the 41 mannequins were borrowed from the private Austin collection of Susan Denn and Robert Schmidt. About a dozen ensembles and many of the period shoes, hats and handbags were loaned by the Texas Fashion Collection at the University of North Texas.

Denn, who has been collecting for at least 40 years, agreed to exhibit valuable styles from her collection “because she loves it, and she’d like to donate it one day and she’d like it to go to a teaching university,” Weber explained.

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