Downton Abbey Costume Designer Anna Robbins: Interview

Photo: Ben Blackall / © 2022 Focus Features LLC

Image source: Ben Blackall / © 2022 Focus Features LLC

Returning to the big screen since its first movie in 2019, before the world turned upside down, Crawleys of “Downton Abbey“and their in-house staff once again embodying elegance, glamor and fashion in their second film,” Downton Abbey: A New Era. ” In 1928 before the world fell into a global recession.

Much needed in a world currently grappling with despair and grief, the film is certainly more joyful and humorous than the last film and more than the one that brought the inhabitants of the estate. He entered our home and our hearts. There are quite a few adventures to go around, from a wedding to a vacation in South of France to the entrance of Hollywood movie stars making a movie within a movie.

A monumental job like this during a global pandemic requires the expertise of a known costume designer. Crawleys and company pretty good. So costume designer Anna Robbins is back at the top of the wardrobe after designing the costumes for the previous two seasons of the series and the first.

“The cast and crew are like a family, and it’s been a great experience to work with them again,” Robbins told POPSUGAR while working on the second film. “Anyway, we are all very excited and grateful to have that opportunity, but for it during a pandemic made it special in a different way because we were able to see each other and see each other. work. In a very different way. There was a lot of impact on the costume department, but we were able to overcome all of those challenges.”

Photo: Ben Blackall / © 2022 Focus Features LLC

Image source: Ben Blackall / © 2022 Focus Features LLC

None of those challenges hit the screen from the start, as the audience joins in on the joys of Lucy and Tom’s wedding to kick off the film. Robbins said: “It is wonderful and a privilege to have the opportunity to design a bridal gown in Downton. “It definitely comes with a certain amount of pressure because you want to make it perfect and show the character’s justice with this very special cape. Knowing that’s the opening scene for the movie, we’ve got it. I know we wanted a dramatic look for Lucy’s dress, but for the church we’re seeing in the church both upstairs and downstairs. I was able to look at the colors and really compose the scene so that all the colors were in harmony.” There were a lot of people on screen at the ceremony, so Robbins definitely cut out her work for her. that.

For Lucy’s gorgeous dress, Robbins drew inspiration from a 1928 photo of a Chanel dress and another fashion illustration at the time. Robbins said of the piece: “What I was really attracted to was an asymmetrical hem and layers of bubbly tulle. “I wanted to give the feeling that it was really fresh, contemporary and cutting-edge at the time. I wanted it to feel like Lucy could really fiddle with her dress and dance well at the reception, so there’s an easy and comfortable kind of vibe to it.From there, it’s about creating drama with low backs, beautiful crew necks with chiffon and silver embroidery on satin, so you’ve got a lot of fun. many lovely plays on the texture.”

Lucy also wears a number of incredible pieces of jewelry that are truly timeless, including a diamond and pearl tiara and a stunning Van Cleef & Arpels diamond brooch that she wears on shirt. “It’s a great outfit to design and a lovely way to introduce Lucy into this new world that she’s openly been a part of,” Robbins said. “We were able to really show her personality through her outfit in a way that we weren’t able to do much in her wardrobe as a maid in the first movie. “

Although the film is only a year ahead of the first film, there are notable changes as we all know the style can change dramatically in a year’s time. And there are obvious shifts between the fashions of the 20s and 30s that shine through the looks of rich women like Lady Mary. Robbins talks about the character of Michelle Dockery, who worked with film director Jack Barber to turn a silent film that was staged on the estate into a spoken film. “We looked at some 1930s silhouettes with her, and that was really interesting.”

Robbins also styled Lady Edith in trousers for the first time as she turned her vacation in the South of France into a work trip, where she visited the palatial new home bequeathed to one of the… the youngest of Downton. At that time, she was already playing in real-life emerging pajamas, popularized by fashion designers like Paul Poiret and Callot Soeurs in the area.

“In Downton, that timeframe and in the upper classes, there are a lot of rules when it comes to what and when you should wear,” says Robbins. “Traveling is no exception, so you’ll be wearing a travel suit and you’ve got a hat and gloves in your pocket. We started in Yorkshire, so we made travel suits. in the English way. The weight of the jacket on the gents was made of tweed, and the hats were made of felt.”

Then when Crawleys and the crew arrive at the villa, you find them moving into a wardrobe in the South of France – a really interesting and surprising turn of events since we have yet to see this comfortable and sun-drenched family. This shows through lighter fabrics and softer color palettes, with women wearing pink and yellow and men wearing cream linen. Robbins said of Chief Downton: “We featured Robert in the splits, it was a really lovely look I’ve been waiting to do. “He wore a Grenadier Guards jacket with separate trousers, consisting of a gray pair to throw away and then light brown trousers when he arrived at the mansion. Things Such petty things suggest they will have an outfit for every occasion and occasion. . . He still arrives as this quintessential British gentleman meets this quintessential French gentleman.”

Photo: Ben Blackall / © 2022 Focus Features LLC

Image source: Ben Blackall / © 2022 Focus Features LLC

And in case you were wondering, there was a real similarity in dressing between the aristocracy in different countries at the time, especially between London and Paris. “The rules in the south of France are much more relaxed, because this is where people are starting to go on vacation in the peak summer season and the pajamas are women wearing trousers,” Robbins said. “Menswear is getting more comfortable with double-breasted jackets going in for waistcoat distribution, which will make them a lot cooler. The Crawleys show up with a small portion of their staff becoming a bit cooler. much more open and relaxed environment at the villa, a nice contrast to Downton.”

But the Crawleys and their beloved staffers aren’t the only characters making waves this time around, as two Hollywood movie stars are thrown into the mix: Myrna Dalgleish and Guy Dexter. “It’s been a great opportunity to design for these really exciting new characters, who come from completely different backgrounds and have the exciting potential to push the boundaries of plot and with a way of life. they dress,” Robbins said of the duo who took turns Downton Abbey into a Hollywood movie set. “I had a really great coder on this movie named Maja Meschede, and we worked pretty hard on Myrna’s look. Maja came up with this gorgeous outfit for the appearance. her, summarizing who the character is and what we want to do with her. She’s dressed in cool colors, although she does warm up a bit throughout the movie.” Myrna is absolutely glamorous on Tinseltown, with cuffs, exaggerated necklines, and the definitive “more is more” energy. Meschede and Robbins looked at Hollywood stars of the time, including Clara Bow, Louise Brooks and Marlene Dietrich, to create her incredible collections.

Photo: Ben Blackall / © 2022 Focus Features LLC

Image source: Ben Blackall / © 2022 Focus Features LLC

The film also takes a sombre turn, with Downton’s female chief of staff, Violet Crawley, the Countess of Grantham, passed away. The moment plays out in several scenes, with the family gathering in her bedroom to take her last breath and say goodbye and then her funeral, it’s a touching and regal affair. Robbins said of the first scene with the family: “I had to design the look knowing that they would work together in many different configurations and across many different scenes, ending up in this very intimate space. “The color palette should feel harmonious and nothing should appear within it.”

For the funeral, most people wore black, but some staff members wore gray and brown as they might not have been dressed in black for the occasion. “It’s about knowing what these characters are going to be, so some of them will wear their best Sunday,” she said. “Some of the characters were dressed exactly like the wedding at first as well as at the end going to the funeral. We wanted to show their characters through the costumes, but we wanted the textures, the fabrics, the details. and various accessories, so we can add interest.”

Overall, this Monday”Downton Abbey“The film feels more open and fun than any previous chapter of the story,” said Robbins. We need moments of fun, laughter and uplift more than ever.”

Image source: Ben Blackall / © 2022 Focus Features LLC

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