Downton Abbey proves that women have been keeping ahead of the trends with their hairstyles for years. Many of the tips used to tame tresses during the ’20s still work well today, so it’s time to go old school.
The most iconic style during this period was the wavy bob, as sported by Lady Edith Crawley in the show. Putting some body into shorter hair is a great way to liven up the style and works well if you have a glitzy party to attend. It’s simple to get the classic Edwardian era wave, just invest in some foam rollers and leave them in overnight. This will give you beautifully soft, vintage-looking undulating locks just like Edith. Spritz with a holding spray to ensure they don’t droop during the evening.
Or if you are in a rush, spray each one-inch section of hair with two or three mists of hairspray and put into a hot roller. When they have cooled, let hair down and spray dry shampoo at the crown. Brush hair out and shape with your fingers. Introducing a side parting will give the look a modern twist.
Women were very particular about their bobs during this decade. Downton’s hair designer Magi Vaughan did extensive research into the period to ensure they got the look just right.
“I looked at paintings, watched old films and got books from the ’20s with hair techniques such as the Marcel Wave,” she explained. “I read Bright Young People: The Rise and Fall of a Generation by DJ Taylor and We Danced all Night by Martin Pugh. You get a lot from the text; for example, in the ’20s women were competitive about the sharpness of their bob.”
Sculpted curls are a favorite among the longer-haired Crawleys. Downton’s resident hairstylist Vanya Pell reveals that first she creates tight ringlets using a curling wand. She then brushes them out to create waves as she finds this easier to work with. The locks are then firmly gripped into place to “last all day” while the actresses are on set. Vanya even taught the actresses playing servants how to recreate these looks themselves so it looks convincing when they are fixing their mistress’ hair on the show.
Vanya also admits that most of the ladies in the show wear some kind of wig, with eight members wearing full hair pieces. If your hair is thin and you are eager to give it some volume or experiment with different styles, it may be worth investing in a hair piece.
Lily James, who plays Lady Rose MacClare, is naturally a brunette – but sports blonde locks in the show. She wears a bald cap to cover her own hair before honey locks are added and the process can be exhausting.
“My hair takes two hours alone, because it’s a wig and they have to glue my real hair down to my head. I hate wearing that wig,” Lily laughed recently.
Hair jewelry is also a popular look on Downton Abbey. With the Christmas party season approaching, why not splash out on a jeweled headband so you can look just like Lady Mary Crawley. A simple chignon can look stunningly glamorous with the right sparkly addition.
Lady Mary, played by Michelle Dockery, is a fan of romantic updos. To recreate the look, sweep hair into a side-bun with a side-parting. Leave the style loose, with a few tendrils of hair falling naturally, and add a faux pearl hair clip to guarantee period perfection.
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