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Being beautiful: 'Downton Abbey' brings old-world glamour into modern living rooms


David Creel



'Downton Abbey," the acclaimed British drama brought to American audiences on PBS, is indeed a masterpiece which has taken the world by storm with its Edwardian setting and dramatic tensions both above and below the backstairs. The early 1900's era is revisited through all the grandeur of Edwardian fashion, even down to the romanticism of hairstyling and makeup.  


This season we are moving into the Roaring '20s while Dame Maggie Smith, totally credible as the Dowager Countess of Grantham, sits regally on a settee at teatime and Lady Mary takes a turn about the gardens with Mr. Crawley. We are so very eager to invite them into our living rooms, probably not quite as opulently appointed as their own!  


I marvel at the period when ladies wore hats and gloves, floating from parlor to parlor, as adorned with beauty as the surrounding furnishings. Lace, embroidery and fringe were just routine embellishments in those glorious days. It must have been all Lord Grantham could do just to afford the ladies' clothing allowances. Nobody portrays the era with as much magic and splendor as the award-winning masterpiece series "Downton Abbey," and the world is watching with glee. 


A few of the lovely things borrowed from the period are sure to be as big of a hit as the show itself and will influence our fashionable lives this season, with or without the grand grounds or gold-gilded drawing rooms. Hats will become more of a staple in fashion with elaborate feathers, jewels and other trims worthy of any doyenne, whether on the Columbus Southside or not. We are already seeing hints of intricate lace details in everything from clothing to handbags, and I love the romance of it all. 


Hairdressing is coming back into vogue with more attention paid to finger waves, pin curls and truly "dressing" the hair. Even at the recent Golden Globes, stars of today stole the spotlight with polished bouffants, cascades of waves swept to one side, and French chignons reminiscent of days gone by. As the Dowager Countess said herself this season: "Nothing succeeds like excess." Nothing is more elegant than perhaps a jeweled pin pushed into a bun or an updo very much in keeping with Lady Cora Grantham's own as she descends the grand staircase of Downton.  


Tune in to every episode of "Downton Abbey," paying close attention to the pale faces with rich rouge and lips stained with a hint of color. And don't miss the epic moments punctuated by a pageboy, chignon or hat. No doubt you will marvel as I do and feel nostalgic for a time and place, for most of us, which never really existed beyond Sunday nights at 8 p.m. on PBS.


Former Columbus resident David Creel owns Beautiful With David salon in Jackson and has 20 years experience in the beauty industry. Contact him at [email protected]


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