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Downton Abbey and Edwardian Style


Julian Fellowes who was a longstanding friend of the Carnarvon family, and having spent some time at Highclere Castle he then found his inspiration for the hit ITV Series of Downton Abbey. He was successfully able to find a property with as much sophistication and character to represent the Edwardian period.



With the series loyal viewers came expressive and inspired fashion statements, so much so that rival BBC’s new drama Parade’s End starts this coming weekend. Set in the Edwardian/ First World War period, this thriving fashionable era has taken this season’s trends by storm.


Below are some of the garments used by the new rival series and are all authentic vintage pieces some being nearly 100 years old.



This military inspired jacket with its gold trim and gold fringing is typical of the period. The royal blue was a very strong, wealthy colour during this period. The features are similar to the cream jacket below.



This jacket would have been worn over a long skirt with a full back and the jacket is shaped to fit. Edwardian women wore corsets and traditional fashion was for an S shaped silhouette ( looking from the side the bust and the bottom stuck our with a small waist). Fashionable women were dropping tight corsetting during this time.



In the photo below you can see this jacket has four wonderfully long tails. The two at the back are weighted to hang perfectly and the two at the side are gathered into the knot ending with gold tasseled trim.


This linen coat has a fabulous crotchet insert panel which wraps completely around the skirt. It is cut in large shape which doesn’t follow the natural silhouette of the body (and especially not the traditional corseted Edwardian body). These large shapes were popularised by Paul Poiret and were very fashionable.


These two photos below are of a net over dress with gold braid trim.


This last piece reflects Arts & Crafts design and the influence of the exotic and the far east which was so fashionable at the time. This garment would have probably been bought at Liberty & Co. Its a fine silk gown styled on a traditional ethnic garment (3 large rectangles of fabric sewn together) with Chinese emboridery and decorative rosettes with tassels on the front and shoulders.


Despite being nearly 200 years old Edwardian fashion is a recurring course of inspirationg to many contemporary designers (Yojhi Yamamoto, jean- paul Gaultier, John Galliano) and is currently having a resurgence, no doubt due to the popularity in the UK, America and Japan of such period dramas such as Downton Abbey and Parade’s End. Vogue says Edwardian is one of this seasons most intriguing trends.




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