the fashion of Downton Abbey

So I’m back after a loooong Christmas break. Being my favorite time of year, I take some time to enjoy it as much as possible. This evolving making presents until the last minute and trying to see as many loved ones as I can.

I saw lots of exciting new things and places back in Portugal (including the wonderful exhibition on Frida Khalo), but more on that later.

Back in Barcelona, I needed some quiet days and plunged in the series everyone was talking about, Downton Abbey.

I’ve just started the second season and am totally mesmerized by it.

It got me thinking how a series on heirs and girls trying to find the right eligible man to marry could be the most popular british series ever. It’s dated in one of the most exciting periods in recent history, where so many things are happenning so fast (like now) and such historical details are brilliantly placed as the characters naturally respond to them – electricity, the phone, cars, changes in costume, …

Obviously, the costumes, by  Susannah Buxton and Caroline McCal, are so stunnig and well made that they won an Emmy.

It was interesting to read some interviews with Susannah Buxton, where she explained how workshops had to be done, so people could be specifically trained to make period costumes. Also interesting to find out so much information on the hand-me-down costumes featured in the series.

Curiosly, this is one of my favorite periods in the Art history, but my references are of the Vienna Secession‘s fashion (and art), which is remarkably different. I love to see the subtle mentions to the fashion details, such as the abandon of the corset or the adaptation of the modern Fashion.

Lady Sybil’s pantsuit, described by Susannah Buxton as inspiered from the Ballets Russes and the designer Léon Bakst, is a clear reference to Paul Poiret and Worth, whose model (from 1870, 30 years before the series) is featured here:

Also of much interest, the historical focus on the women’s roles during the WWI, in particular one so important I didn’t know, the formation of the Women’s Land Army. You can read about the historical details of Downton Abbey here – it includes a list of recommended books!

And here, a fun article on the filming and setting locations.

All the images are from the wonderful tumblr, Period films & co. (except the one featuring the pantsuit, from here).


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