Friday, February 10, 2012

Downton Abbey - Episode 5 - Lady Mary's Wardrobe

and when you get off the floor take another look at this dress.

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Lady Mary Crawley, Julian Fellowes fictional heroine (at least for me) in DOWNTON ABBEY,  has the most glorious dinner dresses, this one only rivaled by the white lace blouse with the diagonal black bows up the front that Leslie Caron wore in Gigi on the afternoon she awaited Gaston's dinner appointment for that evening. The closest thing I see to this level of beauty is in Chanel on Robertson, (and perhaps some of the cut out dresses and jackets from Oscar de la Renta, and Valentino, and Prada.) Chanel has a black and white dress with a cut out bodice that IS a dress to make one cry out. Girls love this stuff. And I think Susannah Buxton, the costume designer is remarkable. She has created not only the evening gowns, but everyone from the servants to the people in the village to the entire cast of characters.

Oh, Goddess. Downton Abbey has me swooning. I know. I know what people say and I don't care. There is no guilt in this pleasure. I LOVE DOWNTON ABBEY.

Julian Fellowes is brilliant. He writes scenes, so short and full of fabulous dialogue and one liners that keep the story moving. Some of my favorites:

Edith to that obvious nut ball imposter Patrick whose grotesque, carney, comical, bug eyed nasty bandaged face makes me look away: "It must be so hard for you with Mary getting married."

Lady Mary to Edith: "Any fortune teller at a fair comes up with a dozen details he couldn't possibly know."

Carson to Lady Mary: "...a huge wrench to leave Downton."

Lord Robert to Lady Mary: "you know there is nothing more ill bred than to steal other people's servants."

Violet to Isobel: "you decide which is more important, exercise classes and lectures on pottery or helping men and women build a new life."
Violet got rid of Isobel dim, or just in need of compliments like us all? Well, she certainly was pushy about someone else's home and doesn't seem to get the message.

Anna to O'Brien: "the trick of business is to mind your own." Good girl, glad someone has the nerve to stand up to O'Brien. And what is with these tete-a-tetes she has with Thomas, always standing around smoking, cooking up some kind of evil. Doesn't she think writing a letter to Vera Bates telling her that her husband, Mr. Bates is back at Downton will have some kind of consequence?

Daisy to Mrs. Patmore and staff: "It wasn't kind, it was wrong."
Poor Daisy, she is in a muddle after being pushed into marrying William. She's a good girl, she is, and just so young.

Mrs. Hughes to Ethel: "you've broken the rules, my girl, and it's no good pretending they're easily mended."

Lady Mary to Matthew: "I don't have to marry him, you know."
Matthew to Lady Mary: If you were not engaged to be married I wouldn't let you anywhere near me."

Lavinia to Matthew: "you won't drive me away whatever you do." Well, my girl, that's clear enough, hate to think what is going to happen next to you. Watch your words.

For some reason I am not as interested in Lady Sybil's communion with Branson, but that's probably just me. I'm much more interested in Lady Mary and Matthew and what is pulling in that direction.

There is so much red in this visual content. Deep red Jacobean settees, Lady Cora's red velvet dress, Lady Mary's red suit for London, Sir Richard Carlisle's drapes in his dressing room in Downton Abbey, Isobel's deep claret suit on visiting Violet. Luscious. Superb. Swoon.

Haxby Prk the house Sir Richard takes Lady Mary to inspect, and offers for their home is a crazy mix of french chateau in the English countryside. "Your lot buys it, my lot inherits it." And why does Lord Grantham seem to take an interest in the new housemaid's son when he is alone at luncheon? Is he lonely? Does he fancy her? No, I don't think so, but still, why?

Yes, Downton Abbey is superb, but I would take Isobel's house with it's pale minty green fabric lined walls any day of the week. The critics are right. This is a daydream, a fantasy so very well written, so very well acted, and filmed at the actual Highclere Castle, home of the Earls and Countesses of Carnarvon for hundreds of years.

In between Episodes, Julian Fellowes novel SNOBS is a very good read.

1 comment:

  1. I was surprised by how great this book is, not only as a companion to Downton Abbey but as a historical report on Manor homes and the aristocratic classes in Britain before the first world war. This book is incredibly compelling, a great read!