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The 7 Best Costumes of Downton Abbey: New Era
The second movie installment of the Crawley family saga sees two equally important plots for the family. One point is a film being filmed at Downton with Lady Mary leading the helm and the other is about Violet’s past in the South of France.
Aside from the large and memorable cast of characters one of the hallmarks of Downton are the costumes and the sets. As the story still takes place at the magnetic Highclere castle and a charming French villa the sets do not disappoint but what of the costumes?
They do not disappoint either. The film is set in 1928. The costumes not only reflect classes of the upper echelon and the lower classes but also the dynamic of rich with new and old money; modernity vs prim and proper.
This list is a ranked list of seven stand-out costumes from the 2022 Downton Abbey: A New Era movie that was released in May of 2022. Mostly it was based on memorability and aesthetics. These are mostly my opinions so your mileage can vary. The list can be changed at any time. There is also an honorable mention at the end.
Costumes were designed by Anna Robbins who did the costumes for Downton since season 5.
Side note - The Scene when the servants got to be extras in the film was great. It was very nice to see them in fancy costumes.
A Spoiler Warning is in effect
Lucy’s White Villa Dress
Lucy, played by Tuppence Middleton, was introduced in the 2019 movie. In the first movie she and Tom start up a romance which comes in fruition as the start of this movie. As the plot unfolds we see Tom and her go to the South of France as Violet inherited a villa there that she plans on leaving to Sybil, Tom’s daughter with Lady Sybil.
The scenes at villa feature perfect summer outfits, ideal for taking in the warm air and lounging by the sea which is in contrast to the costumes during the scenes at Downton.
One look of Lucy’s is this white dress with sheer white embroidered overlay. It is sleeveless with a dropped waistline that is also gathered giving a touch of fullness which was very on trend in 1928. It perfectly suits the villa surrounding all while being pretty, effortless and very chic.
Mary’s Navy Circle Gown
Very early in the movie there is a discussion about a film being shot at Downton. Mary, played by Michelle Dockery, is keen as it means the income from the venture would be enough to mend the leaking roof. This is a case of art imitating real life as this was the case when Downton Abbey filmed at Highclere Castle so that the roof could be fixed.
During the dinner scene when the subject is being discussed and Mary brings her father up to the attic, Mary wears this dark navy evening gown.
The gown is dark navy with silver and blue ombre circle details on the bodice and skirt. The sash at waist is made from black satin and just brings in the waist ever so slightly which was being done in the late 1920s. The hem is a high to low hem which was also on trend for 1928 as seen on a 1928 fashion plate of a Chanel evening gown.
Cora’s Printed Velvet Gown
Towards the end of their stay at the Villa secrets are being revealed. One secret is about Cora’s health and she tells Robert at the party on the last night of their stay. It is a key pivotal scene for Cora, played by Elizabeth McGovern.
This dusty purple velvet gown is very much Cora’s style with its softly flowing drapes falling away from the shoulders. The fabric used for the gown was Fortuny printed velvet which was done custom for the film. It has a soft drape at the waist and there is a silver ring that sits off center of the waist.
Edith's Multi-Colored Gown
his gown worn by Edith, played by Laura Carmichael is also worn to the Villa party. It’s a multi-colored gown that features lots of warm tones which is very in keeping with Edith’s color palette but with a few blues thrown in for visual interest. It has a halter neckline which is also very in keeping with Edith’s overall look as she has worn many of those necklines from TV series.
There is definitely a sense of cutting-edgeness to this gown but at the same time it is very elegant and chic which suits the working marchioness.
Mary’s Patou Gown
The name of the film is a New Era which is due the fact that its Lady Mary is now in charge of the estate in all the ways that matter. The baton has passed to her. To be fair this has been a long running theme as seen in the first movie and it still is repeated in this film. One scene that makes this very clear is Violet telling her to be the dragon, i.e. be the kind of woman who doesn’t suffer fools and commands a room, or Violet herself.
In this scene where Violet tells her to be the dragon Mary is wearing a vintage Patou gown. Fans of the show will recall way back in season 3 when Violet lamented about Edith not getting a Patou wedding gown to which Cora replied that Lucille was safer and implied that Patou would have made her look like a chorus girl. Perhaps Patou is better suited for an evening gown versus a wedding gown.
This original piece is made from champagne chiffon and sparkling silver beading in an Art Deco style. The neckline is a rather deep V-neckline with silver beading along the end. The silver beading down the gown is ombre in effect with its pattern. It is rather a shame that the gown wasn’t showcased more because it is stunning.
Lucy’s Wedding Gown
At the end of the first movie it becomes apparent that Tom and Lucy are heading in the direction of marriage. Lucy suits Tom as she is a has family in the gentry and she is an heiress but not titled in any way.
The 2022 movie starts with them getting married. The wedding was very much featured in the trailer so they did not even try to hide it from the audience.
Lucy’s wedding gown is a recreation from a photograph from a 1920s copy of Vogue. The bodice is more streamline with a sheer fabric making up the yoke and 3/4 sleeves. The bodice has silver embroidery. Also worn on the bodice is a bow shaped brooch.
The waist is dropped with silver lace edging the waist. The skirt is gathered at the waist and is made from tulle which would give more range of movement for dancing.
Robbins said she sourced the veil through Jane Bourvis and wears a Bentley & Skinner diamond and pearl studded tiara.
Edith's Orange Kimono Villa Look
Edith has grown a lot as a character from her younger days. She is a high ranking member of the aristocracy but she is a modern career woman and her clothes reflect a cool cutting edge person. Even when she is chilling in the South or France her lounge outfit doubles as work attire.
The outfit she is wearing to snap some photos of the Villa for her article she is also wearing when she is chilling by the pool is a combination of an orange flowing jacket something akin to a kimono. It has blue and green painterly type motifs on it. It is paired with a loose white blouse and trousers. She wears a blue head scarf and a long beaded necklace.
It still has the cut and proportion of 1928 but it also feels super modern. Like with some different accessories anyone could wear this right now and look contemporary and fresh. And yet it still is very much Edith on vacation in France wearing the perfect outfit for the setting and the scene.
Myrna Dalgeish's Blue Coat
One of the new characters in this movie is Myrna Dalgeish, played by Laura Haddock. She is a silent film superstar and rather difficult to work with for the Downton characters.
When she first arrives at Downton she is wearing a pale blue fur trimmed coat. Her style is the opposite of Lady Mary as her colors are not a Downton Abbey color. She sticks out and it separates her as part of the new money type of people rather than part of an ancient noble house.
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