March 19, 2016

{Bridal Inspiration from Downton Abbey}

Dear Bride-to-Be:
The appealingly British Downton Abbey series has brought us some beautiful 1920s-inspired wedding dresses over the years! In season three, Lady Mary’s gossamer layers of ivory silk and vintage lace, delicately beaded, in a column-shaped design worn when she married Matthew Crawley; and Lady Edith’s slipper satin and silk chiffon asymmetrical confection with a Watteau-like back for her “almost wedding”—both gowns custom-made from old and new materials by costume designer Caroline McCall.

In season five, Lady Rose’s fabulous sweep of a vintage gown in silk tulle with dainty gold sequins and a circular train was only glimpsed for a moment on screen, but worth a relook! (The show’s costume designer at that time, Anna Mary Scott Robbins, found the original, perfectly-preserved gown at an antique fair.)

Then in the romantic final season six, Mary remarries in an ivory two-piece suit—made of a crisp silk and bamboo fabric—with a knife-pleated skirt and lovely hand-worked original trim shaped into a sharp-V design. (Plus a fetching, brimmed hat with real 'preserved' butterflies on the vintage baling as the designer gives a nod to the bride’s new beginnings!)

And, of course, the sweet finale with Edith becoming a Marchioness—and happy! Costume designer Anna Robbins created a graceful, custom wedding dress with lovely layers of antique Brussels lace—ankle length with a small swish of a train and lots of lacy veiling. (Did you notice that Edith wore a diamond tiara for the wedding ceremony and a vintage pearl-beaded headdress with a jaunty tassel for the reception?)

Perhaps these 1920s fashions have such appeal to us now because this was the era of the budding “modern woman”—smart and sassy, romantic and bold.

Love. Listen. Let go.
…with love from Cornelia

ps: A few seats remaining for my "Tea & Flowers & Costumes" fete at the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina in April....come hear more 1920s design inspirations of those Downton bridal costumes!