Oh, poor Edith. We all knew it was coming (and she knew too, not that it makes the tragedy less painful), but I think the Crawley family’s collective callousness caught everyone off guard. Damn, these people are awful. Why do they hate Edith so much? Was Cora really convinced while she was pregnant that Edith was going to be a boy, so she started off as a huge disappointment or something? I just…don’t get it. But I do get her reaction. There’s only so much one can take, and after a lifetime of neglect or her own family members actively working to undermine her happiness, she grabbed her kid and got out of there. Good for her. I really hope it sticks.
But on to the clothes.
Well, there are some interesting things going on, some cute things going on, and some strange things going on. To start with, we know that this is not going to be Edith’s greatest episode, because she kicks it off dressed so drably she actually fades into the walls and curtains.
Though in Cora’s case I think it’s more of a signal to her distant husband, sending the message that she totally belongs here. She is as one with the house and with him. Simon Bricker means nothing, Robert!
Cora, weirdly, then dresses in a nice floral number in love-pink which, on her, I generally associate with maternal love:
I find it incredibly ironic that she should be wearing that colour at a time when she’s showing her daughter, who desperately needs her mother right now, absolutely no love at all. And that nice cheery floral pattern? Just…oh, Cora. She’s so, so out of it sometimes, isn’t she?
It does the trick, though, I guess. She and Robert patch things up and are soon sympatico once again.
Rose was also working the pink this episode, because despite her continuing insistence that it’s not like that with Atticus and her, it totally is like that. So, she wears love pink and blooming roses.
OMG, Rose meets the parents!
It’s been mentioned more than once that Atticus’s familiy is new money, but these two appear to be quite respectably in line, sartorially speaking, with the other moneyed folk. Dad’s tie is a teensy bit louder than the other men’s (though it’s a similar pattern to Robert’s), but it also matches his wife’s outfit, uniting the two. Mom’s outfit is also fairly similar to Rose’s, both in style and colour, though of course Rose’s is more youthful.
There was some significant contrast between the vigorous youthful folk, with their plots and flirtations and reckless riding, and the older generation, sedately sitting by in the tent or minding the grandkids. The younger set is sporty and fabulous:
Don’t they make a dour trio? Let’s talk about Cora: this is another absolutely TERRIBLE outfit. The hat is gorgeous, but everything else is all wrong. The top and the coat are seriously drab colours that don’t do her any favours. She’s worn that top before, and I’ve noted that it matches the colour of Downton’s exterior almost exactly, so again, she’s tying herself to the house. The coat looks like another version of the one she wore during her gallery date with Bricker, but whereas that one was a bright, vibrant colour that tied her tightly to the art world, this one is sad and dull and ties her more closely to Downton. Honestly, I’m kind of hoping that this Bricker thing isn’t entirely done, because it was interesting to see Cora start to develop a little bit and explore a life away from the house. It seemed to do her a bit of good.
Violet and Isobel aren’t exactly wearing matching outfits, but those clothes are definitely getting along together. The stripe in Isobel’s coat is a subtler version of the striping formed by the checks in Violet’s, the colours are similar, and they both have velvet lapels. Again, Isobel seems to be dressing a bit more richly these days, which makes sense, since it seems she’s about to become Lady Merton after all. She and Violet are soon to be very close to the same social footing.
To very briefly go back to Cora, it’s interesting that she’s wearing a navy blue skirt in this scene, because at the same time, Edith’s wearing that colour as well, drawing a thread between the two women (two mothers). Another mother connected to Edith wears blue as well.
This dress, which Edith wears to leave Downton and start her new life in London reminded me somewhat of this one, which was closely tied to her happiest days with Michael.The earlier dress is brighter and includes the love-pink, whereas this one is more serious, more of a mourning dress. Because Edith is mourning, even putting on black after she gets the news, as a relative (or a widow) would.
Not that her family cares. Mary’s too wrapped up in her own (rather childish) plans to make the men in her life want her more, despite the fact that she’s actively trying to jettison one of them. She’s kind of two-faced, isn’t she?
I confess I wasn’t sold on the new hair right away, but it’s growing on me (so to speak). And I adore that dress (though it looks way more 1930s than 1920s to me, which is something that’s been happening in Mary’s wardrobe from time to time throughout this season).
Now, Edith’s reaction in this scene was a little extreme. Mary did not do this specifically to upset her, she was just being kind of self-absorbed. And I’m sure Edith knows that too, she was just raw and lashing out, and this moment was really the straw that broke the camel’s back, coming on top of her family’s horrible, collective shrug over Michael’s death. But at least their little tiff gave us some amazing reaction shots throughout the scene, from poor Atticus’s ‘WTF?’ face when Edith snapped that now he’d know what her family was like, to Violet’s and Tom’s ‘Hey, now, maybe reel it back a bit, ok?’ when Mary insulted Edith and then kept escalating the whole thing even after Edith had left the room.
And again, visually, we got a contrast between the older and the younger generations.
A few quick notes.
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Asian-inspired patterns were coming into vogue, as Rose was nice enough to show us (she re-wore that dress in the opening breakfast scene). Cora’s getting in on the action too, with her latest robe:
What is he, a newsie?
Kuragin probably went from something a lot like this:
Nothing to really note here, I just thought it was a really beautifully composed shot:
Downton produces some mighty cute kids.
And for all his claims that he only cares about kids when they’re a bit older, Robert actually is really cute with Sybbie.
As annoyed as I am that apparently Mabel’s going along with Blake’s obnoxious plan, I still think she’s really amazing. I appreciate that she’s completely willing to call Mary on her bullshit, and she’s a thoroughly modern girl, riding astride, as comfortable and stylish in the country as she is in the city. Let’s all bow down to this girl, she is serving it up.
Patmore, Hughes, and Carson actually got out of the house (and out of uniform) for a little while.
Plain and serviceable, nothing flashy to see here. And yes, Carson’s still wearing the same suit he’s had for more than a decade now. That thing must be woven from iron. Hughes and Patmore have updated a little, but not by much. Patmore’s hat is straight out of 1900. Hughes’s coat doesn’t fit all that well, and all the colours are a bit drab (as is the cottage, if we’re being honest). These are not people who give a crap what they look like when they’re not on duty. They’re wrapped up in their roles at the house and seem pretty happy to be so. Interestingly, Patmore, the one who’s closest to breaking away from Downton, has the nicest looking clothes (aside from that hat). The coat looks newer than the clothes on the other two, which makes me wonder if she took a little bit of that money she inherited and treated herself. I hope she did.
Oh, the poor Drewes. Here they are, an understandably downcast pair:
In slightly happier pairings, we have Mary’s hairdresser and his assistant:
Her hair is marcel waved to within an inch of its life, and notice the menswear-inspired fashions she’s sporting. I noted in the costume recap two episodes ago that this was a trend in womenswear at the time. I’m not quite sure what the deal is with that huge anchor-shaped lapel pin the hairdresser’s wearing. It may just be a flashy accessory, but does anyone know if those pins were in some way meaningful in the 1920s?
It’s a day at the races for high and low! Crowd shot!