Saturday, July 14, 2012

Saturday: Movie Costume Highlight: Downton Abbey - Period Drama Fashion Week

Okay, Saturday is going to be pretty much Downton Abbey Day. Why? Well, just look at the costumes! Some of the best costuming I've seen! Plus, I haven't seen many movies from the 1910s...

So far in Downton Abbey, we've seen costumes that have spanned roughly a decade (Okay, eight years). And now for Series 3, we'll get to see 20s fashions.

The beginning of Downton Abbey begins after the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, so we get to see examples of clothing before World War I. 

 Downton Abbey is the story of the two parts of the estate of Downton Abbey: the Crawley family upstairs and the staff downstairs. Yes, it shares many similarities to Upstairs, Downstairs, but in many ways (including costuming), Downton Abbey is far superior.

We get to see a big selection of outfits. We see the fancier clothes of the Crawleys (notice Lady Sybil at the left) and the uniform and plain clothes of the staff (notice Gwen on the left). We don't really get to see the staff wearing regular clothes much, but we do get a glimpse of what they wear on their days off every once in a while...
Like Anna here on the left. Okay, so she's wearing her maid's uniform without the apron, but just by looking at her jacket and hat, we get to see what kind of clothes she would wear. Since Anna is a maid, she wouldn't have very decorative clothes, so her jacket, while it doesn't look bad, is pretty plain and "gets the job done" in her budget. Compare that to Lady Mary's outfit (right) which is more decorated.

 Lady Sybil and Lady Edith, Lady Mary's sisters, are also dressed nicely. Their clothes tend to be brighter than Lady Mary's clothes since Lady Mary is a more serious character. 

One of the high points of Downton Abbey's costuming is the hats. Oh my! There are a number that are very, very, very nice! One of my favorite hats is Cora's white hat with the black netting (the one that is in this picture). All the hats in Downton Abbey are very well decorated and well constructed. If you are interested in historical millinery, definitely check out the hats in Downton Abbey.

And, let's face it, Lady Violet (played by Maggie Smith)'s hat just fits her so well!

 And here's another hat for you!

And for Series 2, we follow Downton into World War I. Personally, I liked the costuming from Series 1 better than Series 2, but nevertheless, Series 2 does have some nice costumes.

The fashions of Downton Abbey change for the second series. Some of the clothes of the Crawley family are still decorated nicely, but a lot of them are simpler and not as decorated like before. More of the male characters wear military uniforms since a good number of the men have joined the war effort. 

Inn Series 1, Sybil had some very nicely decorated dresses. But in Series 2, she becomes a nurse to help the war effort and is mostly seen in her nurse's uniform. For the most part, Lady Violet has the same fashions as before. We don't see her in her iconic purple outfit that we often have seen in the promotional pictures of Series 1, but her blue outfit fits her well.

As the war goes on and the series progresses, formal dresses begin to be sleeveless. There are some dresses that have sleeves with transparent fabric, but by the end of the series, a good number of the evening gowns are sleeveless. Compare that to the dresses in Series 1 that were never sleeveless.

During Series 2, the staff's clothes don't change very much... Although, kitchen maid Daisy does have a couple of new dresses. They're not fancy or anything since she is a kitchen maid, but, like I said before with Anna's outfit, "it gets the job done".

And by the Christmas episode, which begins around Christmas time 1919, we begin to see more and more 20s fashions. Take a look at Edith's hat: doesn't it look very much like the cloche hats of the 20s? 

Overall, Downton Abbey has some of the best costuming that I've seen. I can't wait to see what's in store for Series 3's costuming (though there are some pictures floating around out there of behind the scenes pictures). If you decide to watch Downton Abbey (though there are a few parts you may want to skip), you're in for a costuming treat!

So that is my movie highlight for the day. Have you seen either series of Downton Abbey? What were some of your favorite costumes?

 God Bless,
God Bless, Miss Elizabeth Bennet

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