Michelle Dockery is glad the current season of Downton Abbey is set in the 1920s because it is less taxing on her body.
“The corsets were abandoned by 1922!” she said in interview in London recently.
This simply means her character, Lady Mary Crawley, doesn’t need to wear the piece of garment which was popular in the early 20th century. “It was more uncomfortable when we had to wear corsets in the earlier seasons. They are also delicate as some of them were originals, so we had to be careful.”
For the last six years, Dockery has played the eldest daughter of the Crawley family in Downton Abbey, the British series that is also a worldwide hit.
Featuring the aristocrats and servants who serve them, the costume drama – created and written by Oscar-winning writer Julian Fellowes – is currently in its final season.
When she first auditioned for the role, Dockery had no idea the series would be that popular.
“I was lucky enough to get an audition for the job. (Executive producer) Gareth Neame had seen me in a play (Pygmalion) where I portrayed Eliza Dootlittle and that was a springboard for getting the role. To be honest, it was just another job audition but it was the best thing that has happened to me,” said the 33-year-old actress.
Indeed it is. After six years of being on stage and playing small roles in several British series, Downton Abbey catapulted Dockery to international fame. Wearing fabulous turn-of-the-century frocks in every episode, the character of Lady Mary soon became a fashion icon, and in proxy, so did Dockery.
“I wasn’t really into fashion when I started on the show. I mean I love clothes, but having a sense of style, knowing the designers out there wasn’t something I had the opportunity to learn about,” Dockery explained.
“But of course, I started doing photoshoots every few months and I got to meet new stylists and designers, so it was a bit of an education in the fashion world which I found fun.”
1. Are you as fashion-forward as your character Lady Mary?
Lady Mary is not as fashionable as, say, Rose (Lily James). She was very flapper, whereas Mary is a little bit more mature (in terms of style).
I take note of fashion, I like seeing what’s out there – the new collection – so I guess we are about the same, fashion-wise.
Mary’s clothes are beautiful as always. The designs (this season) could absolutely be worn today; the clutch bags, the coats are all very contemporary. Mary is really on trend and it’s been a lot of fun to wear the costumes for this series.
NEXT PAGE: Fashion spreads, transforming into Lady Mary