Fashioning Jane Austen

1 July 2011


Photocall Opportunity: Jane Austen-style Regency Fashions will be installed and unveiled at Fairfax House on Monday, 22nd August between 1.00 and 2.00pm.

One of the most distinctive and recognisable periods in clothing history, synonymous with the heroes and heroines of Jane Austen will be revealed at Fairfax House this August.

 In their latest major exhibition, Revolutionary Fashion 1790-1820, Fairfax House will be revealing the dashing and elegant fashions of the Regency era and the “real” clothing worn by the legends of literature.

Following on from the hugely popular Dress to Impress in 2010, this sequel exhibition, Revolutionary Fashion will continue the story of the development of fashion through to the end of the Georgian period. Drawing upon key collections from around the country, Fairfax House will be bringing to light a swathe of exquisite pieces of costume including shoes, fans, headwear and accessories, from the vibrant and dashing Regency period that have rarely been seen in the public realm.

Hannah Phillip, Director and Curator explained: “It was a tremendously daring time with clinging fabrics leaving little to the imagination and helping to reveal more than they did to conceal. For women, low cut, high-waisted gowns in soft diaphanous fabrics were the rage. For men it was all about masculinity – close-fitting cut with superb construction and tailoring to show off the figure. Essentially we are seeing the modern man’s fashion being born. Regency clothing has such a great influence on styles today as we see many of these deigns revisited again and again.

People often connect fashion of this period with the novels of Jane Austen. This is an opportunity to see what these characters would have worn and more exciting still, to see the genuine articles of dress that have inspired the period drama productions that people love and are so familiar with. ”

Opening on Saturday 27th August and running through until 31st December, Revolutionary Fashion will explore the sweeping political, economic and technological influences impacting on taste, style and production during this “revolutionary period”. The fashions will inhabit the whole interior of Fairfax House, being on display not only within the exhibition space but also throughout the period rooms of the house itself, giving mutual context to both the items of dress and the room settings.

The final decade of the eighteenth century witnessed dramatic changes in fashion – changes which can justly be termed Revolutionary. This is such an exciting period in term of fashion. The influences of the Napoleonic Wars, French Revolution and Industrial Revolution can all be seen in these clothes.

Entry to the exhibition is through purchase of a general admission ticket. Tickets cost £6.00 (£5.00 Concession, children under 16 are Free) and are valid for one year.

Fairfax House is open Tues – Sat: 10am to 4.30pm and Sunday 12.30pm to 3.30pm. Guided tours are also available at 11am and 2pm on Mondays.

Please visit for more information on Revolutionary Fashion and associated special events.



PRESS CONTACTS: Hannah Phillip, Director, or telephone 01904 655543.