Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Sunday Solace

The one thing I look forward to more than anything at this time of year is Sunday evenings, and the chance to pretend that I was actually born in the 1900s so that I could be in Downton Abbey. An hour-long glimpse into the world of the roaring 20s is enough to make me squeal (literally), filling me with heady visions of crystals and finger waves and elegantly cut silk gowns. All of that combined with outstanding scripting and impeccable acting results in one happy Hannah on a cosy Sunday night in.

It is the fashions that I want to focus on though. They are what has made this series of Downton stand above the previous two though the calibre of acting and storyline has remained largely the same high standard. Every week there is a new, beautiful creation that speaks of everything wonderful that happened in the 1920s. That is, whilst politically England and most of the rest of the world was stuck in the patriarchal dark ages, at least women were beginning to express themselves through what they wore.


Going into the 1920s, the world hit an era of prosperity, rebuilding itself after the horrors of the First World War. The decadence of this period was reflected in society, through industry and leisure and particularly in the world of fashion. The popularisation of the socialite and party goer in prohibition, yet fun-loving and Gatsyby-esque, America led to an increase in extravagance and the rise of the party frock. The flapper dress became a symbol of the 1920s.

This symbol then made its influence in England and thus found its way onto our screens in Downton’s adaptation of the roaring 20s. Each week there is a new delight to behold as the Crawley sisters adorn themselves in lush silk dresses of rich red, emerald green and soft jacquard peach, and long, beaded necklaces that hang delicately from their necks, their hair in soft yet precise finger waves. If I had to choose a favourite outfit, I couldn’t – all the girls look utterly stunning in their 1920s gowns, one of the most figure flattering and modest styles to come out of any decade. From Mary’s statement red dinner dress, to Ethel’s wedding gown and Sybil’s maternity wear, they all look beautifully elegant.

The 1920s has been one of my favourite fashion eras since I read The Great Gatsby at school, and ITV has yet to disappoint me, continually surpassing my high expectations of this fabulously decadent age. Bring on Sunday night! 


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