Saturday, January 26, 2013

Downton Fashion – ‘20’s Style

I usually don’t do posts outside of the Edwardian era, but since I’m in the middle of watching Season 3 of Downton Abbey, I thought I’d talk a bit about the fashions of the 1920's.

As the Edwardian age came to a close, replaced by the flapper era, women’s fashion took some dramatic turns. In the early 1910’s, and onward, things began to inch slowly away from the tightly corseted, large picture hat era, and moved more towards loose flowing lines and shorter skirts. Corsets became less restrictive and by the end of the ‘20’s they were nonexistent. Young women even began to (gasp) bob their once waist-length hair and those who didn’t bob it, crimped it in the Marcel wave, using a newfangled curling iron.
Evening attire became less elegant and took on a more glamorous look with metallic thread, beads, and sequins replacing the lace and flower accents used previously.

Popular dress designers included Coco Chanel, Madeleine Vionnet, Lavin. Paul Poiret, Paquin, and Liberty and Co. of Paris and London. While fashionable women still continued to have their gowns specially made, the Edwardian fashion industry suffered due to the new trends, putting once booming businesses out of a job.
One of my favorite costumes so far has a great deal of Edwardian elegance with only a hint of flapper. Mary’s blue gown that she wears to Edith’s wedding. Made by Vionnet, it’s simple, yet oh so beautiful.

One of the things I’ve found interesting is the way different characters embrace the new fashions. The Dowager Countess still looks very Edwardian, with her tiaras and velvets, whereas Lady Grantham dresses in the new style, but in a reserved way that befits her role as a countess. Mrs. Levinson, on the other hand, goes all-out when it comes to looking like a flapper with short hair and a very overall ‘20’s look. The girls are in the middle, with Sybil dressing very practically, while Mary echoes her mother.
And of course there are the wedding gowns. While I prefer Edith’s Lucille Limited designed gown to Mary’s, they are both lovely. Of course, we wouldn’t want either of them designed by Paquin now would we?

So there you have it. The new fashions of Downton. Looking forward to seeing what gorgeous costumes shall appear in future episodes!


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