Downton Abbey using 'hand-me-down' costumes from other period dramas
Published 09/01/2012 | 15:19
DOWNTON Abbey has been spotted using 'hand-me-down' costumes that have been used in other period dramas.
Eagle-eyed viewers have found many of the costumes from both series have been used a number of times before.
Edwardian clothing previously worn by Hollywood stars like Uma Thurman has been recycled for the show's latest series, according to the website Recycledmoviecostumes.com.
In one scene a costume seen on Michelle Dockery who plays Lady Mary Crawley in the hit period drama was first worn by actress Emma Thompson in 1992 film Howard's End.
The same floral blouse is also used as part of the outifit worn by Catherine Zeta Jones as Mary McGarvie in supernatural romantic thriller Death Defying Acts in 2007.
It is not the only costume that the Welsh actress has worn years before Dockery.
Zeta-Jones is seen in a red dress in the same film opposite Guy Pearce only for the Downton actress to recycle the look four years later.
In another spot by attentive viewers Elizabeth McGovern, who plays Cora Crawley, adorns a very similar outfit to Uma Thurman's character in The Golden Bowl, although the gown appears to have been altered slightly by dressmakers.
If viewers felt they were already familiar with the beautiful white dress worn by Downton Abbey's Lady Edith Crawley, played by Laura Carmichael, archive pictures show why.
The dress had appeared three years earlier, in 2007, worn by Lucy Honeychurch, played by Elaine Cassidy, whose story was told in A Room with a View, also on ITV.
Another re-used Edwardian costume was worn by Michelle Dockery in the first series.
The silky green and black dress had already found fame seven years ago when it was first worn by Radha Mitchell, who played Mary Ansell Barrie in Hollywood blockbuster Finding Neverland, in 2004.
The hand-me-downs in the show were revealed by website Recycledmoviecostumes.com, which showcases many similar examples from other period dramas.
Katie Bugg, a designer who runs the site says that the recycling is common practice in order to keep costs on expensive costume dramas under control.
The website reads: "Recycled movie costumes are gowns that often appear in one production and then go on to be used in another. "Many movies have very small costume budgets, which means that instead of making all of the costumes, the designer is forced to rent costumes from a costume house.
"Sometimes costumes are altered significantly to give it a new look, and sometimes the dress is used as it appeared for the first time."
The drama which tells the story of a fictional estate in North Yorkshire first aired in September 2010 and has proved a big hit with viewers following two hugely successful series. It has been nominated for four Golden Globe Awards including Best Mini series or Television Film as well as recognition for Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern and Maggie Smith for their roles in the show. A third season will be broadcast in September this year.