The glamorous, elegant costumes made for Downton Abbey: A New Era hide details and behind-the-scenes secrets that add to the sequel’s story.
The long-awaited sequel, Downton Abbey: A New Era brought Hollywood to Downton, with an injection of glitz and glamor of a different type, and whole new fashions to boot. With Europe on the verge of the 1930s, less traditional outfits, the rise of the androgynous look, and for the men, less formality. And the Downton Abbey sequel movie grasped every opportunity to show off those changes.
Downton Abbey: A New Era’s cast wear some vastly different costumes from their debut in the beloved original series. The trip to the South of France sees Hugh Bonneville’s stoic, often bumbling Lord Grantham wearing summer suits in lighter colors, while his most progressive daughter Edith wore formal sportswear with her husband Bertie. And of course, with Mary’s succession as the true spiritual head of the Crawley family, Michelle Dockery’s outfits saw her take on her new mantel subtly, with small details paying tribute to Maggie Smith’s Lady Violet.
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As Downton Abbey: A New Era’s costume designer Anna Robbins puts it “tiny little details that could be really visible or quite subliminal are the favorites of a costume designer”, and A New Era has some extremely interesting elements hidden in some of the key costumes. Here’s every hidden detail and behind-the-scenes secret in Downton Abbey: A New Era’s costumes, to celebrate the movie’s release on Blu-ray and DVD.
Mary’s Downton Abbey: A New Era Costumes Reflect Her Becoming Violet’s True Heir
Anna Robbins also confirmed in an interview with Screen Rant that the “interplay between Violet and Mary” was key to telling A New Era’s story subtly. Mary is set up as Violet’s true heir, as the matriarch of Downton Abbey and the Crawley family, and just as her role was passed on, so too were elements of her look.
“We’ve got this little brooch that Violet’s worn at her neck many, many times before that we then see on Mary. And a really significant ring that was featured less but felt almost more significant.”
In more subtle terms, A New Era’s costume team looked for necklines and details at the front of Mary’s costumes to mirror those of Violet but in a way that reflected her status as a modern, progressive woman heading into the 1930s. Robbins also revealed that the brooch had a significant impact on Michelle Dockery: “I think she felt quite moved by it as a costume piece, which makes you realize how much of a tool costume is to actors.”
Lucy’s A New Era Wedding Dress Is A Mix Of Her 2 Universes
Downton Abbey: A New Era opens with the wedding of Tom Branson (Allen Leech) and his bride Lucy (Tuppence Middleton), and while Crawley weddings had previously been grand, traditional affairs, their was a symbolic marriage of different worlds. As such, Lucy’s wedding dress was designed to feel “fashion forward, fresh and relaxed” according to Robbins, so that Lucy “could gather up her skirts and really dance at her wedding reception”. It was designed to be beautiful, but also practical and fun; modern, but accented with the heirloom jewelry passed on from her mother as a nod to her heritage.
Related: Downton Abbey 2: Carson & Lady Maud Is A New Era’s Best Meta Joke
Mr Carson’s Perfect Movie Scene Costume
In the fan-favorite pay-off of the Hollywood at Downton Abbey subplot, the staff are invited to play parts in The Gambler, and while Mr Carson is appeased knowing he plays a Lord, his part is perfectly reserved. The rest of the cast are decked out in fine garments and jewellery, and the men wear fake mutton chop sideburns, befitting the era of the movie within a movie. But Carson refuses to change, even for Hollywood and the only allusion to his character is a simple bow-tie.
Myrna Dalgleish’s Costume Was Designed To Make Her Stick Out In A New Era
As Downton Abbey: A New Era’s hair and make-up designer revealed, the intention for the look of Myrna Dalgleish (Laura Haddock) was to make her “alien” in Downton’s surroundings. She was designed to look different, particularly to Mary, to accentuate the conflict of glamor and class. That was achieved through dressing her in cool tones, and brasher jewellery, reflecting her initial coldness as a character.
What Daisy’s Wedding Dress Would Have Been
While it’s not seen on-screen, costume designer Anna Robbins revealed what she thought Daisy’s wedding dress would have looked like for her and Andy’s off-screen wedding:
“Daisy would have married in her Sunday best, so we probably saw that in this film, to be honest. But had I had the opportunity to design it, I would have liked to have designed something new, and made it… [feel] like it totally belonged in her wardrobe, and she’d worn it many times before. But that she kept it good; that it had just that little bit more pigment in it. As bright as we could get away with, with it still being a practical piece of clothing that a downstairs member of staff would have.”
Next: Downton Abbey: A New Era Ending Explained (In Detail)
Downton Abbey: A New Era is available now on Blu-ray, DVD and digital.
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Simon is the Head of Features for Screen Rant and a veteran editor who has been writing online since 2010 – long before anyone wanted to read his work. He loves Clueless. Like, a lot.
Previously seen at WhatCulture, Simon has been with Screen Rant since August 2020. If you’ve read anything on Grease here, he was probably behind it.
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