Gone are the days of austerity, Downton Abbey is heading into the Twenties and ready to shine. And more often than not, they’re shining literally thanks to the introduction of Swarovski crystals.

For season three, which premieres in the U.S. on January 6, the show’s costume designer Carolyn McCall wasn’t afraid to go overboard. World War I is over, so gone are the days of basic evening dresses and fitted corsets. Now the ladies of Downton will all be showing off a little leg in shorter hemlines and more relaxed silhouettes.

Lady Mary Crawley, played by Michelle Dockery, is known for her strong will and her lavish taste. She once remarked that her dresses “cost twice the national debt,” and this year, she’s certainly not scaling back.

da sr3 26042012 jb  019 2  From Flapper to Bride: The Looks of Lady Mary on Season 3 of ‘Downton Abbey’

Mary looks more sophisticated than flapper when the decade begins choosing beaded dresses and bold, rich colors like the below wine colored satin gown by Vionnet, a French designer known for showing off a woman’s natural shape with her slim fitting dresses, something new at the time.

“You try whenever possible to recreate the feel of the period,” McCall told The Daily Beast. “I bought a lot of vintage fabric. It’s much easier to start with something real and work with that than start from scratch.”

da3 1 5 From Flapper to Bride: The Looks of Lady Mary on Season 3 of ‘Downton Abbey’

What fans really want to know though, is what will she be wearing when she finally marries Matthew Crawley?

For the epic gown, McCall looked for inspiration in the French fashion house Lanvin and the wedding dress of the Twenties. The look– a long-sleeved lace dress fitted with tiny Swarovski crystals and rice pearls–took McCall eight weeks to create and is the series’ most expensive costume to date.

”Sometimes the character can be quite hard,” the costume designer told Entertainment Weekly. ”I wanted her wedding dress to have a bit of softness. I wanted her to look really romantic, really elegant.”

From the looks of it, McCall did not disappoint.

What’s your favorite Downton Abbey look?

Shannon Carlin, Radio.com

Photos courtesy of © Carnival Film & Television Limited 2012 for MASTERPIECE


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