Dressing Downton: What a difference 80 years makes!
Downton Abbey has been a runaway success. But alongside the convoluted plotlines and the upstairs-downstairs drama, the other triumph has been the impeccably researched wardrobe of the cast. From immaculately tailored shooting gear to elaborate evening dress, Downton has given us a taster of how the conservative upper classes – and their servants – dressed 80 years ago.
But what do Downton Abbey stars look like out of costume As the stars arrived at a screening of the Downton Christmas special last night in London”s Haymarket, they revealed a very different sartorial side…
MICHELLE DOCKERY, 29, PLAYS LADY MARY CRAWLEY, ELDEST DAUGHTER OF THE EARL OF GRANTHAM
As the eldest daughter of Downton, the onus is on Mary to find a suitable husband.
Worlds apart: With her loose locks and luxury velvets and furs, Ms Dockery is as sophisticated as her character in Downton – but a sight more contemporary than the 1919 shooting chic of the show
LAURA CARMICHAEL, 25, PLAYS LADY EDITH CRAWLEY, MIDDLE DAUGHTER OF THE EARL
Ms Carmichael plays dowdy Lady Edith, who struggles to make herself noticed – but comes into her own with a nursing role during the war, when Downton transforms into a convalescent home for officers.
Party mode: There”s no blending in for Lady Edith actress Laura Carmichael, who makes a statement in studded boots and ultra-modern Louise Amstrup printed dress
JESSICA BROWN FINDLAY, 22, PLAYS LADY SYBIL CRAWLEY, YOUNGEST DAUGHTER OF EARL AND COUNTESS GRANTHAM
Lady Sybil is the rebel of Downton who dares to wear trousers and runs off with the chauffeur.
Contrast: Jessica Brown Findlay – Lady Sybil – shakes off her aristocratic role when off duty
ELIZABETH MCGOVERN, 49, PLAYS LADY CORA, COUNTESS OF GRANTHAM
The actress plays Lady Cora, Countess of Grantham in Downton – the American heiress who marries Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, played byHugh Bonneville.
Revealing: Ms McGovern”s red carpet frock would cause shock waves in Downton Abbey, where her character Lady Cora”s style is elegant but conservative
LESLEY NICOL, 58, PLAYS COOK MRS BERYL PATMORE
Lesley Nicol plays the jovial cook in the household who thinks she runsthe place – though head housekeeper Mrs Hughes and butler Carson beg todiffer.
Poles apart: Flowing locks, make up – and a carrier bag full of Walkers crinkle cut crisps – Lesley Nicol places herself firmly in the 21st century
PHYLLIS LOGAN, 55 PLAYS HEAD HOUSEKEEPER MRS HUGHES
The Scottish actress relishes the chance to unleash her glamorous side after two series playing the buttoned-up housekeeper.
Glamorous, glossy and made up: The Scottish actress relishes the opportunity to unleash her glamorous side after two series playing the buttoned-up housekeeper
DAME MAGGIE SMITH IS VIOLET, THE DOWAGER OF DOWNTON AND HUGH BONNEVILLE”S MOTHER
Dame Maggie Smith plays the acerbic and formidable the Rt Hon Violet, Countess of Grantham , whose cutting words and one-liners have gained her enormous popularity.
Youthful: Less formidable in the flesh, a smiling Dame Maggie Smith shows her softer side – and looks decades younger than her onscreen alter-ego
HEAD HOUSEMAID ANNA SMITH IS PLAYED BY JOANNE FROGGATT, 29
Devoted Anna is in love with Bates, who eventually marries her at the end of the second series.
From frump to vamp: Joanne Froggatt swaps her apron for a high octane evening dress
HUGH BONNEVILLE, 48, PLAYS THE RIGHT HONORABLE ROBERT, EARL OF GRANTHAM AND HEAD OF THE CRAWLEY FAMILY
Bonneville has his formal suits for the series made by Savile Row tailor Huntsman – an outfitters founded in 1849 – which plunders its archives to perfect the detail on the costumes, worn for Dowton”s many dinner scenes.
Dishevelled: What would the genial yet stuffy Earl of Grantham make of the unshaven appearance of Hugh Bonneville, pictured left with Laura Evans
MATTHEW CRAWLEY, PLAYED BY DAN STEVENS, AGE 29
Third cousin once removed to the Earl, Mr Matthew Crawley is heir presumptive to the title and estate of Downton. His growing feelings for his cousin Mary are set to dominate the Christmas special.
Traditional: Dan Stevens, pictured with wife Susie, is dapper in overcoat and leather gloves – perhaps taking inspiration from his neatly dressed character, Matthew Crawley
BRENDAN COYLE PLAYS JOHN BATES, LORD GRANTHAM”S VALET
Mr Coyle”s character is the kind but proper Mr Bates, an ex-military man who puts his principles before his feelings.
Where”s the tie Brendan Cole employs a much more relaxed dress code than his alter-ego, the well turned-out valet to Lord Grantham – though the stern expression is identical
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