So most of you know our obsession with British period drama from our posts on Glorious 39 and Cracks and on the critically acclaimed An Education, but I can't believe I haven't shared anything about the ITV series Downton Abbey which just won a bucket of Emmys. Written by Julian Fellowes of Gosford Park fame, the series follows the story of the Earl of Grantham and his household as they deal with the problems of class and succession with the backdrop of turn-of-the-century Britain and the First World War. Very Upstairs, Downstairs except BETTER.
The cinematography is absolutely gorgeous, long sweeping views of the Highclere estate and loving and lingering close-ups of ancient books in the library and silverware & crystal in the dining room. Downton Abbey is history viewed through rose-coloured spectacles, all things beautiful and good, with the added bonus of Coronation Street-style drama. Oh, the British. :))
There's a ton of style inspiration to be found in Downton Abbey. It's set in the early decades of the 20th century, after the horrendous bustles (no one could ever look good sporting a false bum) but before the days of flapper dresses (flat-chests a requirement, full bosomed girls, away with thee!), so the clean lines and almost empire-cuts look fantastic on every kind of body type. I really love the white lawn dresses that Lord Grantham's three daughters wear to tea and village fetes as well as the tailored riding habits complete with horsewhip that the eldest daughter Lady Mary wears. Even on the television, I could see how fine the lacework and filigree on the collars and the gowns were, and I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to keep them pristine. And the hats!
My two favourite characters are Lady Mary and Lady Sybil. A lot of people dislike Lady Mary for being a little spoiled, rather bossy, and very mean to middle sister Ethel (HATE HER), but I love her to bits. She’s clever, common-sensical, and cosmpolitan, and Lord Grantham sees her as the son he never had. Unfortunately, by the laws of primogeniture, Lady Mary can’t succeed to the title, so she must choose between marrying well into the aristocracy or her distant cousin Matthew, a middle class solicitor from Manchester who is heir presumptive to Downton Abbey. It is so much fun watching silver-tongued Mary cutting up Matthew, who she initially sees as an upstart bumpkin, before realizing his essential merits—one of which is a kindness that she does not possess. She has the most divine dresses, I would go out in her nightdress!
Then there’s Lady Sybil who is so gosh-darned sweet. She is very progressive, helping their maid find a job as a clerk-typist and discussing communist tracts with the Irish chauffeur Branson, and by the start of the second series she’s convinced her parents to let her attend a nursing course to aid the war effort. The scene where she fails at filling a kettle with water and making porridge is hilarious! Her fashion sense progresses from pastel smocks reminiscent of the nursery to peacock-inspired harem pants before settling on a very practical blouse and skirt uniform.
Totally shipping Sybil/Branson.
Kranich’s gave me a $150 gift coupon to spend on its website and I thought it would be fun to feature some of the possible future purchases in Downton Abbey sets. I swear, Polyvore is so addicting.
Peacock featuring Simon G jewellery from Kranich's.
I’m really looking forward to the second series, and I am willing to put on record that if Matthew doesn’t end up marrying Lady Mary, I will eat my Sales textbook.
This is a sponsored post for Kranich's Jewellers, purveyors of Simon G, Ritani and more! If you're looking for some fancy bling or a hope ring, check 'em out!