Fashion Visual Arts

Oscar-Winning Costumes on Display at Biltmore House

Kate Winslet outfit from the movie Titanic. Photo by The Biltmore Company

Biltmore House will be the setting for a new exhibition of costumes, Glamour on Board: Fashion from Titanic the Movie, opening Friday, February 9, and running through May 13. In December, the blockbuster and award-winning movie celebrated the 20th anniversary of its premiere. Titanic received a record 11 Oscars, including Best Costume Design.

More than 45 accessorized film costumes in the exhibit evoke the era of the early 20th century when George and Edith Vanderbilt were frequent transatlantic passengers. It was a time of opulent sea voyages for those who could afford the first-class tickets. George had courted Edith on board a ship in 1897. Years later, married and still making voyages to Europe, the couple had booked passage on the Titanic, but decided at the last minute to sail instead on the Olympic, sister ship to the ill-fated Titanic.

“We are all fascinated with the Titanic and this moment in history,” says 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.”

The luxurious wardrobes include accessories such as long gloves, hats and elaborate jewelry. Displays of the costumes have been placed in corresponding rooms of the Biltmore House where the Vanderbilts and their guests might have dressed with much the same elegance in the day. For example, costumes from the movie scene when Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) dines with first-class passengers in the ship’s formal dining room are being displayed in Biltmore’s magnificent Banquet Hall where the Vanderbilts dined in full evening dress for evening meals.

Many of the gowns displayed in Biltmore’s Second Floor Living Hall were worn by actors playing actual persons who sailed on the Titanic, including the Astors and Guggenheims. The dress that Rose (Kate Winslet) wore in scenes at the front of the ship is also among those on display in the exhibition.

Entry to the exhibition is included in Biltmore admission. To learn more, visit

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