>Downton Abbey

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I don’t remember when I first caught wind of the new series Downton Abbey, now showing in the USA on Masterpiece Theatre, but I now am so entirely engrossed in the story line and characters I cannot imagine a time it was not in my memory.  That is exceedingly high praise from me for any film or series- as I nearly always say “I like it, but…”

Downton Abbey, contrary to what you might think, is not an adaption of a historical work of fiction but actually a genuinely new and original show altogether.  We enter the world of Downton Abbey in 1912- with a few years until the world was forever changed by the onslaught of WWI.  It’s done exceptionally well.  If you are a fan of British film and adaptions of period novels you will recognize many of the players- including the amazing Maggie Smith (who needs no introduction because she’s that amazing), Brendon Coyle (also in North and South), Jim Carter (also in Cranford), Penelope Wilton (also in Wives and Daughers… and I’ve just noticed all my references are from Elizabeth Gaskell novels) among other recognizable and talented actors.
I watched one installment on PBS.com and I was so hooked I immediately went online and ordered the DVD set- and have not stopped watching them since they arrived.  I quickly went through all of them and am now absolutely horrified I need to wait heavens knows how long for Season II.  Yes, they really are that good.
I know, as a reader of this blog, that all you’re really interested in are the clothes- and let me say, they do not disappoint.  One of my favorite moments in the entire series is seen at left, and trust me- this period is so often misrepresented in terms of costumes that I am completely thrilled to see this done accurately and tastefully- even down to detailing as to hairstyle, hats, colors, and textiles.  They even nail something that is often times so difficult to portray- the age differences in the different classes as related to period dress.  We see the older women wearing older styles- the younger ladies wearing the up and coming, and the lower/middle/upper class portrayed extremely well in regards to dress.  It’s thrilling to see this period so accurately portrayed.

Strangely enough it seems many of the costumes were actually previously used in period dramas- here is an interesting article stating a few of the costumes previous lives.  But I’m sorry- as a person who never understood the hype with Finding Neverland I feel that Lady Mary carries off the blue frock with netting and beading much better.  Why are the costumes so lovely?  Many of them came from Angels- a costume house that truly knows their stuff.  When I worked at the San Diego Opera I got to handle many of the gorgeous original period 1910s outfits we had on loan and would have gladly confiscated them for “personal study” if given the chance ;)  Ok, not really- but they sure were lovely to play with.
I won’t give away the story line, but let me suffice to say that this view of the upstairs/downstairs world of Downton Abbey is fascinating, extremely well done, and is something not to be missed.
Now, when are we getting Season II in the US?

(All images are provided solely for review of the series and are the property of their respective copyright owners.  Wearing History has no affiliation with Downton Abbey or it’s affiliates)

27 Comments on >Downton Abbey

  1. Beth
    January 21, 2011 at 1:09 am (6 years ago)

    >I'm loving Downton Abbey too! I've watched episode 1 twice, and just saw episode 2 last night – I'm watching it via TV, but I might buy the DVDs. I think part of why I like it so much is that the characters are interesting without being jerks – I watched Gosford Park again recently, and I was so turned off by how rude the characters were.I've never been that enamoured with Edwardian fashion, but there have been several pieces that I'd wear in a heartbeat. Makes me want to explore it more. If that's not praise, I don't know what is! :)

  2. Lauren
    January 21, 2011 at 1:14 am (6 years ago)

    >I know what you mean about Gosford Park! I love the movie but so many of the characters are so nasty! And I can't help but giggle at Stephen Fry as an inspector. Takes me back to Jeeves masquerading as one to save Bertie in Jeeves and Wooster. Hehe!

  3. Stephanie Lynn
    January 21, 2011 at 1:42 am (6 years ago)

    >Wow! The photos are amazing! I may have to track down a copy. I suppose it's too much to ask for it to be on Netflix.

  4. Tasha
    January 21, 2011 at 2:08 am (6 years ago)

    >Looks breathtaking! A good period piece is just delicious. I've just added the series to my Netflix queue even though it's not available yet, but if I understood it correct it looks like they'll be streaming them as of the 25th!

  5. Amy
    January 21, 2011 at 2:08 am (6 years ago)

    >Oh, I'm in love with Downton Abbey, too! I originally thought that it was just a mini series, but was thrilled the find out that there will be more to come! I'm watching it on PBS, so have just seen episode 2, but I'm enraptured. The costumes are exquisite (hmm, do I have an excuse to make a reproduction?) and the characters are endearing (well, most of them *cough*O'Brien*cough*). I can wait to see the rest of season one!

  6. Laura
    January 21, 2011 at 2:39 am (6 years ago)

    >I am also loving Downton Abbey!! I didn't realize that it is a series….great news! I absolutely loved Foyle's War and was so sad when it ended. Now there's something even better going on Masterpiece Theatre! :)

  7. Dolly the Bird
    January 21, 2011 at 4:08 am (6 years ago)

    >I love your blog, so I wanted to pass along The Stylish Blogger Award to you! Hopefully it'll send even more people to your fab page!

  8. Sarah
    January 21, 2011 at 5:26 am (6 years ago)

    >I bought the DVDs as well and watched them all. It's a nice change besides another Austen remake (not as if I'm complaining!). It reminds me so much of Manor House, which was one of my favorite PBS docs back in high school. I love the Edwardian era so this is great.

  9. Lyndsey
    January 21, 2011 at 7:37 am (6 years ago)

    >We are not getting the 2nd series here in England till the Fall, so I don't know when you will get it in the US…unfortunately like me, you will have to wait patiently

  10. garofit
    January 21, 2011 at 7:38 am (6 years ago)

    >I loved this series, and am very much looking forward to the second lot. Everything is great in this film, from costumes to interpretation. If I absolutely had to pick a favorite costume it would be the blue one you showed above, I adored the bouffant trouser ensemble – so avantgarde!- although there are so many others I loved.

  11. Debi
    January 21, 2011 at 8:35 am (6 years ago)

    >ack! this is the first I've heard of the series! I must buy the DVD! It sounds right up my ally! Thanks for posting those delicious costume shots!

  12. Naomi
    January 21, 2011 at 2:53 pm (6 years ago)

    >I have not seen this yet but am putting it on my "must watch" list. Thanks for sharing it Lauren!

  13. sewstorebought
    January 21, 2011 at 3:01 pm (6 years ago)

    >I have seen the promos and have been curious but it is on too late in my area. Thank you for the review. Definitely will check into getting it on Netflix.

  14. J.A. Gough
    January 21, 2011 at 4:23 pm (6 years ago)

    >I'll have to check this out! I love the period, so it'll definitely be pretty; and it's very cool to me that they're reusing costume pieces from other productions (I'm a theatre designer so I know all about not being able to afford tons of lavish new custom made costumes no matter how much you want them)! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Audrey
    January 21, 2011 at 6:05 pm (6 years ago)

    >I have been watching the series on PBS and enjoy it immensly especially the clothing. I had noticed the contrast between the sleek dresses worn by Mary and her sisters and the ornate, over embellished "outfits" (I can't tell if they are dresses or coats)of the Maggie Smith character.

  16. Leimomi
    January 22, 2011 at 3:19 am (6 years ago)

    >Oooh…I must find out if this is out in NZ let. It looks fabulous, and 1912 is my favourite period (and yes, so often badly done!).

  17. AshleighS
    January 23, 2011 at 7:33 pm (6 years ago)

    >Lauren, I absolutely LOVE your blog! I'm also a BIG PBS fan and love just about any period drama. I haven't seen Downtown Abbey yet, but it looks really good! I'll have to check it out!

  18. South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild
    January 23, 2011 at 10:42 pm (6 years ago)

    >I've seen the first episode on the PBS website and enjoyed it immensely! I didn't know it was on DVD, so I'll definitely check that out. I am so impressed with its historicity, given that it's a new creation, not a dramatization of a period novel!

  19. Diane
    January 24, 2011 at 3:30 am (6 years ago)

    >I am really enjoying the series on PBS. I love period dramas and am counting down the time until I can watch it again tonight.

  20. Ruth
    January 27, 2011 at 2:10 am (6 years ago)

    >I live in England so I watched this as soon as it came out, I was obsessed, its absolutely wonderful. The BBC have just aired a new historical drama called Upstairs Downstairs which is worth checking out. Its set a few decades later than Downton, and they only made 3 episodes, but its definitely worth a watch if you can find it anywhere in the states.

  21. Hayley
    January 31, 2011 at 2:22 pm (6 years ago)

    >I normally hate period dramas but I'm obsessed with Downton Abbey, I live in England so I watched the 1st episode when it was aired (cos my mam insisted) and I never looked back. I love the costumes especially the floaty blue trousers/pants that Edith wears in the 2nd photo when she rebels against women being expected to wear skirts. Gorgeous colour :)

  22. Hayley
    April 7, 2011 at 11:40 pm (6 years ago)

    >I normally hate period dramas but I'm obsessed with Downton Abbey, I live in England so I watched the 1st episode when it was aired (cos my mam insisted) and I never looked back. I love the costumes especially the floaty blue trousers/pants that Edith wears in the 2nd photo when she rebels against women being expected to wear skirts. Gorgeous colour :)

  23. Ruth
    April 7, 2011 at 11:40 pm (6 years ago)

    >I live in England so I watched this as soon as it came out, I was obsessed, its absolutely wonderful. The BBC have just aired a new historical drama called Upstairs Downstairs which is worth checking out. Its set a few decades later than Downton, and they only made 3 episodes, but its definitely worth a watch if you can find it anywhere in the states.

  24. Naomi
    April 7, 2011 at 11:40 pm (6 years ago)

    >I have not seen this yet but am putting it on my "must watch" list. Thanks for sharing it Lauren!

  25. Lyndsey
    April 7, 2011 at 11:40 pm (6 years ago)

    >We are not getting the 2nd series here in England till the Fall, so I don't know when you will get it in the US…unfortunately like me, you will have to wait patiently

  26. Dolly the Bird
    April 7, 2011 at 11:40 pm (6 years ago)

    >I love your blog, so I wanted to pass along The Stylish Blogger Award to you! Hopefully it'll send even more people to your fab page!

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