This fifth season of Downton Abbey took place over the course of the year 1924, and fashion-wise, we’re deep in the ’20s styles. Compared to past series of the show, we only see hints of the original Edwardian styles left on the Dowager Countess (played with the usual aplomb by Maggie Smith). Everybody else is completely updated, as we’ll see.
Now that the series and “Christmas special” has ended in the U.S. on Masterpiece PBS, after having previously shown in the U.K., let’s look at some of the costume highlights of Downton Abbey‘s fifth season.
1. The London Dress Show
Good god girl, YEAHS! Can we have a fashion show every year? Pretty please? This was totally inspired. Or, in the words of Lady Mary, “Yummy!” It was just so fabulous, the quintessence of what we want to see in the show. Extreme 1920s high fashion on the catwalk! That Egyptian headdress! The posh summer suit! The wedding gown! The makeup! The jewelry! Doesn’t get better than this.
2. Lady Mary’s Bobbed Hair
Well, finally, one of the ladies cuts her hair short. I’d have thought Edith would do it first, to go with having a baby out of wedlock and all her skimpy back-less gowns. But nope, Mary’s a contraceptive-usin’, hair-cuttin’ wild woman these days. Also, a bit of a cock-tease.
3. Mary and Mabel’s Riding Clothes
What was I just saying? She’ll chop off her hair, but she won’t ride astride for fear of upsetting granny. Whatevs, girl. Lady Mary is such an attention whore, I’m really over her after this season. But Mabel Lane Fox looked pretty foxy in her jodhpurs, and some guys like a woman who wears pants.
4. All the Ladies’ Coats
As the show moved into the 1920s, I’ve become totally enamored of the period’s coats and outerwear. At first, Edith was shown in lots of cool coats back when she visited Gregson in London. But this season, Mary got more coats for her assignations with Lord Gillingham, and even Cora was seen wearing more outerwear as she flirted with Mr. Bricker. Basically, when Downton‘s ladies get down, they need interesting coats.
5. Rose and Atticus’ Wedding
Rose got both the most boring wedding dress of all the Downton girls and the prettiest. For her real wedding (hey, she considered it the official thing), Rose wore an incredibly frumpy old-lady suit in pale blue. Geez, did she borrow this from the Dowager? Fug-tastic. Thank goodness she changed into that beaded empire-waist gown for the wedding reception, as “informal” as the event was. This gown outshines Lady Mary’s and Edith’s wedding gowns, IMNSHO — it’s both elegant and blingy. And, according to PBS, it’s vintage! Downton Abbey costume designer Anna Mary Scott Robbins said she got it from a vintage shop in London, and the wedding dress “was a hundred years old and had never been worn.” For all the whinging within the show about no veil, I love her hairstyle and beaded floral headpiece. Very young and fresh, which fits Rose much better than than dowdy sack she wore at the Registry Office.
What was your favorite costume on Downton Abbey season five? Any fashion moments I missed?