Downtown Abbey chic – a frocky horror show?

  • @gillian_orr

Ever wanted to dress like one of the Crawley sisters? NBC, the US media giant which owns Carnival, the production company behind the show, has just announced plans to release a Downton Abbey clothing line. Although there are few details, one assumes they are focusing on the wardrobes of those residing “upstairs” rather than the servants “downstairs”. Think drop-waist gowns and chic hats as opposed to ankle-skimming pinnies.

“It’s very rare for a British drama to have this much retail potential and merchandising value,” says executive producer Gareth Neame. He’s got a point. It would be hard to imagine much demand for a Broadchurch capsule collection at M&S.

And there’s no reason why it won’t be a hit. Banana Republic’s Mad Men line managed to avoid naffness and was actually pretty well-received. It was created with the show’s costume designer, Janie Bryant, however. Less successful television cross-overs include Glee for Macy’s (think garish T-shirts in primary colours) and Romeo & Juliet Couture launching a range inspired by Gossip Girl’s Serena van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf, which ended up being a bit more River Island than Ralph Lauren.

As for Downton Abbey garb, I’m not sure I’d want to wander down Tottenham Court Road in one of Lady Mary’s extravagant silk dresses and pearls, but hey, it could be great for a fancy-dress party.