Tv's Downton Abbey has featured a plethora of designs from jewelry to the overall wardrobe. Sarasota Magazine sat down with one of the designers, Andrew Prince to get an inside look at the inspirations since his involvement in the show's third season in 2012 and beyond.
“I went on set a couple of times and met some of the cast, who were all delightful,” said Prince. “But there’s so much going on, you just get in the way. Also, jewelry is often the very last thing to be sorted out once the costumes and sets are completed, so I spent many late nights creating pieces for the extremely tight shooting deadlines.”
The designer's talk in Sarasota was primarily “From Downton to Gatsby: Jewelry and Fashion from 1890-1929.” “It was really the birth of the modern world. At the end of the 19th century, Europe, and particularly the British Empire, was at its most spectacular and opulent. Many people lived with a level of comfort and prosperity that had never been known before. It was a new age, though it still had a strong sense of tradition and continuity. Then came the first world war, and within four years, the old world had collapsed. A whole way of life vanished in a blink of an eye, so many people look back on that time perhaps with a sense of nostalgia.”
Other parts of Prince's inspiration for the designs on the show included a vast array of referential material that he dove into for quite a while. Old photographs and diaries provided a lot for his choices in jewelry and clothing.
“Getting the jewelry correct for each person is very important," when it came down to finding the female castmembers stuff to wear. "When I was creating pieces for Lady Grantham [Maggie Smith] I had to keep in mind she was a lady in her 70s, so her jewelry would be at least 30 years out of date from when the series was set. Lady Cora [Elizabeth McGovern] was the wealthy American heiress, who would have had large pearl and diamond pieces. Lady Mary [Michelle Dockery] and Lady Edith [Laura Carmichael] were young women, so their jewels would be up to date and in keeping with the sleek fashions of the day, particularly the bobbed hair cuts that really only suited bandeau-style headpieces rather than a tiara,” said Prince.
Information originally sourced from Sarasota Magazine.