Dressing Downton: Series 5 Episode 8

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It’s a wedding! I love weddings! Pretty clothes for everybody!

Upstairs

Most of this episode was about Rose and Atticus and their relationship in the lead-up to their wedding, so the costuming was often focused around them. Rose, the bride, mostly wore love-pink, white, and florals.

Downton58-9 Downton58-12 Downton58-33 Downton58-40 Downton58-48 Downton58-52 Downton58-58She does wear blue a couple of times: what is presumably her ‘going away’ outfit at the top features a blue coat, and the dress she wears for the registry office ceremony is powder blue.

af43d5550a1d079902a6af63c83a8973Fittingly, in both of these scenes, the conflict her marriage poses is really front and centre. I like that she has roses embroidered on her registry office outfit, though.

The floral motif carried through the other ladies in her family as well. Nearly every single one wears flowers throughout the episode.

Downton58-35 Downton58-43 Downton58-45 Downton58-49 Downton58-57 Downton58-65 Downton58-68 Downton58-76Notice I said ‘nearly everybody,’ because there’s a notable exception: Rose’s mother. The other ladies in the family, even Violet, are on board with this marriage, but Susan is not, to a rather extreme degree. So she doesn’t join the motif. Instead, she shows us that Rose was totally right when she claimed her mother didn’t care about clothes.

Downton58-29 Downton58-31 Downton58-37 Downton58-46 Downton58-66 Downton58-70 Downton58-80Hoo boy does she not care. These are some seriously frumpy getups. Just look at her next to Cora up there. Like night and day. One wonders how this woman ever produced Rose, who’s actually quite chic most of the time. I know the Flintshires are rather hard up money-wise, but they’re not completely broke: they can still afford their London mansion, and Shrimpy would have been pulling in a decent salary in India (and probably some kind of cushy pension now), so there’s no excuse for her to dress this way. She clearly just doesn’t care.

On a completely unrelated note, did anyone else think it was strange that Rosamond and Rose’s two older siblings were completely MIA during the wedding? What was up with that?

Of course, we have to take a look at the wedding dress.

61305It’s really beautiful, but something about it seems a little off, historically speaking. It doesn’t look like a wedding gown from the period, it looks like a wedding gown from 2014 that’s supposed to evoke the mid-1920s. These are wedding dresses from the 1920s:

1920s-wedding

York Wedding download

I don’t know, it just feels like a rare stumble on this show. It’s lovely, though, and I’m sure lots of ladies are going to take one look and decide they want one just like it.

Let’s have a quick look in with Mary. She joined in on that floral motif a little bit, but in her own way (see the red dress with the roses around the neckline above). For the post-blessing party, she suited up in this:

Downton58-74 Downton58-82My first thoughts were that the gunmetal gray was not a great colour, and the whole thing had a harshness to it. But then I thought about what was happening in these scenes. She’s contrasting sharply with Mabel, who arrives in a diaphanous pastel:

These faces really say: you're terrible at handling awkward situations
These faces really say: you’re terrible at handling awkward situations

She’s in love pink, and flowers. But Mary is armoured up. Suddenly, that shiny gray looks more like protection than a dress. She’s feeling vulnerable just now, and she doesn’t do vulnerability well.

She’s got some pretty nightwear, though.

Downton58-87 Downton58-89Her kimono-style robe is another example of the ‘exotic’ Asian styles that were becoming popular.

Remember how last week I figured that menswear-inspired outfit from the fashion show would end up on a woman who didn’t have to work? Well…

Downton58-67I know people are going to yell at me and say that she is working, helping to run the estate, but honestly, the sum total of what we’ve seen her do in that capacity was to express a preference for the ‘prettier’ cottage designs before excusing herself to get her hair done. Sure, maybe she’s doing more off camera, but it’d be nice to see that once in a while. Nicer than watching her endlessly taunt men for her own amusement and ego.

Violet got one more visit with Kuragin before the season ended, and though it ended on a bit of a question mark regarding their future, I did note that the floral motif extended to them, and that there were flowers pretty prominently in the background throughout the scene:

Downton58-13 Downton58-18So who knows? Maybe there’s hope for them yet.

Actually, flowers were in the background throughout this episode, moreso than I remember ever seeing before. Hardly an upstairs scene went by without some massive bouquet showing up behind someone’s head. Flowers were all over the decor in the bedrooms as well (but not Mary’s–she’s got a really red room, which somehow doesn’t surprise me. It is, after all, her power colour.)

Quick notes. I know there are people out there who started shipping Mary and Tom in this episode, but he and Edith are dressed to match exactly at the end:

Downton58-107Just saying.

Downton: The Next Generation

Downton58-25 Downton58-26I’m happy to see this beautiful coat of Cora’s again, but doesn’t it seem a tad flashy for a memorial ceremony?

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Downstairs

There were all sorts of field trips this week! Molesley, Baxter, and Daisy took in the London sights:

Downton58-54 Downton58-55Despite the unfortunate hat, Daisy’s turning into a bit of a clothes horse. That’s not the same coat she was wearing at Mr Mason’s last week–she’s gotten another one. She needs to work on her style a bit–the coat, blouse, and hat are a little matchy-matchy, but maybe Baxter can help her out. Or not. What’s up with the gloves that don’t go with anything at all, Baxter?

Molesley, seriously, you’re a grown man, get a proper hat.

In less happy news, Anna was forced into a lineup.

downton-abbey-finale-3--adownton-abbey-finale-4--aIn sharp contrast to the ‘upstairs’ folk, they’re all wearing the fairly drab, ‘serviceable’ colours and fabrics we’re used to seeing on the non-aristocrats. Anna’s looking a little bit better these days, though. That’s a lovely coat and more fashionable hat than she usually wears. I wonder if she did a bit of shopping while she was down in London?

Thomas got to do a good deed by helping the young footman Denker was using for free drinks, and let us take a look at an underground club at the same time.

Downton58-84 Downton58-85 Downton58-92This place just kind of oozes sleeze. Notice the contrast between Thomas and Andy, clothing-wise. Andy’s wearing a louder tie with a soft shirt while Thomas looks, well, a lot more put-together and respectable. Nice tie, a tie pin, full suit with matching waistcoat. Their positions in life are quite different, and it shows. Thomas also contrasts with the club’s owner:

Downton58-93Talk about oozing sleeze. When does a pinstriped suit not make you automatically root against the wearer? It’s practically the uniform of fatcat bad guys. On an historical note, pinstripes were super popular during the mid-1920s.

And since we’re wandering down the avenue of vice, here’s a high-end (presumably) 1920s prostitute:

downton-abbey-finale-7--aWe catch a quick glimpse of a much cheaper lady of the night in the club Denker takes the boys to, and there’s a definite difference between that woman and this one. That woman looks really cheap and tarty and…sad, really. This woman is just a bit too flashy, but clearly costs a fair bit. Note the heavy beading on her dress, and the metallic underdress, both fashionable during this period.

Back up north, to pay tribute to the dead in World War I:

Downton58-95 Downton58-96 Downton58-97 Downton58-98 Downton58-99 Downton58-100Who gave Clarkson a bunch of medals? But not the guy who looks like he has severe facial scarring? The heck?

Not a whole lot to say here, it was a solemn moment. Odd that Bates’s and Thomas’s ties are matching. Patriotic colours, though (most of the men appear to be in red, blue, or red and blue ties). The ladies, save Cora, are all in suitably subdued clothes.



2 thoughts on “Dressing Downton: Series 5 Episode 8

  1. All right, it’s perplexed me for the entire series: Tom has never had a valet (and really isn’t in a position to have one) and yet dresses in black tie and white tie a LOT for all of the family events he gets dragged to. While he can dress himself in his everyday suits with no trouble, there’s not really a way for him to do his own collar studs by himself, is there? Doesn’t he need help? And if so, who helps him?

    (And I, for one, feel like her relationship with Tom – which is very much like that of a real brother and even a genuine friend (which she’s never really had) – is Mary’s healthiest one. I’d hate to see it ruined by romance.)

    1. It wasn’t unusual, in a household like this one, for a gentleman who didn’t have a valet to receive a little help from one of the other family members’ valets or from one of the footmen. Tom probably mostly gets ready by himself but then gets some help with the finishing touches (cufflinks, tie straightening) from Bates after he’s done with Robert, or from Molesley or another footman. That’s typically how it went, anyway.

      I agree that Mary’s relationship with Tom is probably one of her best, and I’d hate to see it ruined as well. Hopefully Fellowes will agree!

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