As Great Britain’s Downton Abbey television juggernaut thunders onto American and international radars, the cross-marketing opportunities continue to grow more lucrative. Recently, PBS (where the popular period drama resides for U.S. audiences) launched an Abbey-themed jewelry line, which it then was forced to recall for legal reasons. The Fall 2012 Fashion Weeks have annointed the female cast burgeoning muses: actresses Michelle Dockery and Laura Carmichael (Ladies Mary and Edith Grantham) were front row at Mulberry; Ralph Lauren and L’Wren Scott showed a strong Edwardian influence in their shows. Now the drama’s main attraction, Lady Sybil – played by English actress Jessica Brown Findlay – stars in a haunting campaign for British jewelry designer Dominic Jones.
“She’s a real English rose,” Jones said to the Telegraph, upon the campaign’s well-publicized launch. “The collection is quite aristocratic and she was a perfect fit. She has a real natural beauty and is really engaging.”
Cast in a ghoulish glamour, Findlay evokes a lovely, well-accessorized Victorian ghost. Her skin is whitened to an eerie, pearly pallor, her lips blanked out, her eyes look bruised – but the theatricality works well. It’s a stately collection of jewelry and demands drama from its wearer.
“They almost look like museum pieces,” Jones says of his latest designs, “but with a modern aesthetic.” The same could be said in praise of the ever-increasing appeal and influence of Downton Abbey itself.