Downton Abbey style

The world of Downton Abbey
I confess: I never saw one episode of Downton Abbey until a few weeks ago when I started following the third season of this already iconic British drama. So I was also intrigued by the book, published by Rizzoli and written by Jessica Fellowes, revealing some of the production secrets and behind the scenes. Highclere Castle in Hampshire was used for exterior shots of Downton Abbey and most of the interior filming (the castle was often used in the past for television and film productions like The Secret Garden, Eyes wide shut and many more). The village of Bampton in Oxfordshire was used to film outdoor scenes.
But let’s focus today on the fashion of Downton Abbey, which as always represents the culture and the lifestyle of the times.
Morning Tea: Even if in a plain moment of daily life we can see Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham and  Isobel Crawley wearing large hats and gloves, being summer the gloves are lacey instead of the winter ones usually made of  subtle baby goat skin (another confession, I still have gloves of my grandmothers in a box, together with other ornaments, gorgeous buttons, and I have aged silk umbrellas and textiles, because I belong to a family of “keepers”).

Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham and Lady Edith, daughter. Younger ladies at the time in the morning used only a few simple pieces of jewelry and always light colors for their dresses.

Afternoon tea: at this time of the day more jewelry was allowed and of course in summer a parasol was a must to protect the aristocratic skin from the sun.

In the afternoon deeper colors were allowed. A curiosity: the cane used by Violet Crawley (as by other elderly aristocrats) was used often not as much to support the person but mostly as a symbol of supremacy!

dowtonabbey-11 lady Sybil 
Lady Sybil Branson (née Crawley) is showing to friends an evening dress, just arrived from Paris, I suppose, a two tones chiffon Jupe-culotte with precious embroidery on the top, long gloves and a tiara. I can’t avoid to admire also the extraordinary inlaid cabinet behind her, the damask wallpaper in a subtle turquoise hue, the Aubusson rug and the gilded wainscoting.

Morning uniforms for the staff: every single detail was studied, the dress are printed cotton with off white apron and cap (always with the crest of the family embroidered somewhere).

Of course also the staff had to change for the evening, wearing black uniforms and candid lace and ruffled aprons. Day and evening the uniforms needed to be perfectly cleaned and ironed.

Evening Tea in winter: the two sisters, Lady Mary and Lady Sybil in  dark colored velvet. Lovely pillows of different sizes grace the pale pink sofa.

Lady Mary, lady Edith and lady Sybil, the three sisters of the Grantham family with medium tone flowing dresses, elbow length gloves and very long and delicate necklaces.  On the left I believe is one of those majestic and elaborate fireplaces of the time.

A formal evening: Matthew Crawley with a high uniform, red jacket. Not sure about the hairstyle of Isobel Crawley, it looks a bit too modern for me, what do you think?

Once again extreme care for details in the evening dresses of Downton Abbey, longer skirts, darker colors, precious jewelry. Often the sleeves are chiffon or delicate transparent fabric through which the skin can be seen.

Finally a beautiful image of Lady Mary  with the typical fox hunting ladies’ costume, which was always black or dark blue, white shirt and tie and… who knew? pants under the skirts to allow for more easy and fast movements. For men was a must to have red jackets, cream colored pants and for both sexes cylinder hat, horse riding gloves and boots.
Needless to say that Susannah Buxton as a costume designer for the series won a few awards.
Great series, great book, I am hooked!
If you are watching Downton Abbey let’s play a game:
Who is your favorite character and why?
Who is the one you can’t stand and why?
It will be fun to read your comments…
All images courtesy of Rizzoli
©2013 Tent London Interiors writes about new trends, timeless decor, iconic pieces, design ideas, or at times just musing about "a certain Italian way of doing things".
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Write by: A-Efendy - Friday, January 25, 2013

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