How Downton Abbey cast went from girl-next-door to Hollywood glamour

From girl-next-door to Hollywood glamour! How the Downton Abbey cast transformed their style in 12 years since first series premiered – after ditching the wooly tights and fake tan for glitzy gowns

  • Cast of Downton Abbey: A New Era wowed at premiere in London last night
  • Michelle Dockery, 40, was dazzling in silver sequinned gown with matching cape
  • Laura Carmichael, 35, cut a glamorous figure in a blush one-shoulder gown
  • Group transformed their style in the last 12 years since first season premiered

Experts have revealed how the Downton Abbey cast have transformed their style from girl-next-door to ultra-Hollywood glamour, allowing their personalities to ‘shine.’

Fans have been eagerly awaiting Downton Abbey: A New Era, the sequel to the 2019 film which will see the Crawley family head to the South of France to uncover a mystery at a villa bestowed to Dowager Countess of Grantham, Violet Crawley, while an ambitious director plans to make a film at Downton. 

And last night saw the premiere of the new film, with fan favourites including  Michelle Dockery, 40, and Laura Carmichael, 35, strutting their stuff on the red carpet at Leicester Square’s Cineworld.

With their glitzy gowns, ultra-bouncy blow-drys and flawless makeup, the glamorous cast were a far cry from earlier appearances on the red carpet. 

When the series first aired in 2010, the group graced film premieres in thick wool tights, mini-dresses and understated hairstyles.

Experts told FEMAIL the success of Downton has seen the cast ‘propelled to global superstardom’ and their style on the red carpet last night reflected that.

The Downton Abbey cast have transformed their style from ‘girl-next-door’ to ultra-Hollywood glamour as the series propped them to ‘global superstardom’, experts have revealed (left, Joanne Froggatt in 2010 and right, last night at the world premiere of Downton Abbey: A New Era)

Elizabeth McGovern showed off her signature sense of style as she stepped out in a black Azzi & Osta gown with a sequinned chest, puffed sleeves and a daring side split (left in 2010, and right, in 2010) 

Jack Merrick-Thirlway, creative director of Neville Hair and Beauty explained the cast appeared to ‘ooze confidence’ in their latest pictures.

He explained: ‘Looking back on the pictures of the cast’s first red carpet appearance 12 years ago to the latest red carpet – each cast member has really evolved with the times and modernised their hair styles, colours and general looks.

‘They now appear to be working with their natural textures, natural root colours, and embracing a more natural beauty and look. 

‘They appear more confident within themselves with their new looks. Although working with the natural movements, each actor’s hair looks polished, and groomed to perfection.’

Michelle, 40, who plays Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey, has ditched her low-key understated style (left, in 2010) for sensational Hollywood glamour, and yesterday opted for a sequinned gown with a matching cape (right) 

‘Particularly focusing on Elizabeth McGovern’s transformation, we can see she has actually embraced her natural colour which looks fantastic and she appears to ooze confidence and self esteem. 

‘Looking at Michelle Dockery, I can see that she has had a major hair transformation – she is rocking a luxury brunette textured bob which is sophisticated, elegant and highlights her amazing facial structure and frame.

‘Laura Carmichael’s transformation is incredible. her square bob is tousled to perfection. There is natural soft movement makes her look appear younger, fresher and perfect for a red carpet. The updated hair is a perfect match for the perfect fashion styling for the cast. 

‘All of them are dressing to complement their bodies and their personalities shine through.’

Laura Carmichael cut a glamorous figure in a sensational blush one-shoulder gown adorned with bow detailing and a dramatic train as she posed for snaps (right). It was a far cry from her earlier red carpet appearances (left) 

Celebrity stylist Rochelle White agreed, saying: ‘I feel that the cast have stepped up their game since the show has grown in popularity. 

‘It is a far cry from 2010 and the fashion back then. Times and fashion have evolved and moved on.

‘Downton Abbey started out as a humble UK show gaining international viewership, it has propelled the cast to global superstardom.

‘I feel that they know that the whole world will be watching and they want to be looking their best on the red carpet. 

‘In a way some cast members they are also playing homage to maybe their characters and the era of which Downtown Abbey is set.’

She continued: ‘From designers and style of gowns, they have really embraced the glam look.

‘There a good mix of Couture, embellished, sleek, slender and flowy. They really knew how to bring that glam.’

Sophie McShera was unrecognisable in a silver co-ord as she walked the red carpet last night (right) compared to her earlier appearances when the series began (left) 

On the red carpet last night, Elizabeth McGovern showed off her signature sense of style as she stepped out in a black Azzi & Osta gown with a sequinned chest, puffed sleeves and a daring side split.

The American actress, 60, who stars as Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham, completed her ensemble with a silver clutch bag and black strapped heels while she styled her silver locks in a chic up-do.

It’s only in recent years that Elizabeth has embraced her natural grey hair – in 2010, when the series premiered, the actress opted for a shorter bob-cut in a brunette style. 

Meanwhile Laura cut a glamorous figure in a sensational blush one-shoulder gown adorned with bow detailing and a dramatic train as she posed for snaps. 

Pearls: She kept her accessories classy, with pearl earrings and matching pearl detail silver rings, alongside a dainty bracelet

Laura, who plays Lady Edith Crawley in the ITV period drama, showed off her toned pegs in the mini-dress and gave herself a few extra inches with a pair of pointed pink stilettos.

She styled her golden tresses in a blunt bob and accentuated her natural good looks with a light dusting of make-up and a slick of pink lipstick.

It was a change from Laura’s earlier red carpet style. The actress walked the red carpet at the 2011 screening of ‘Christmas at Downton Abbey wearing a belted mini dress with black sheer tights.

At the time, her blonde locks were an auburn tone, though she sported a similar chin skimming bob.  

Meanwhile Michelle, 40, who plays Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey, did not fail to capture attention as she glistened in a sensational silver sequinned gown with a matching cape.

Left: In 2011, Tuppence Middleton opted for a more casual style, wearing her hair in a short bob style. Right: last night, Tuppence was absolutely glowing as she stepped out in her stunning black gown and showed off her blossoming baby bump 

She styled her brunette bob in glamorous curls while she bolstered her striking features with a slick of mascara and a touch of bold red lipstick.

Elsewhere at the premiere, her co-star Joanne, 41, who plays Anna Bates, looked sensational in a bold rouge one-shouldered gown with a collar as she arrived at the premiere.

She let her Sabina Bilenko Couture outfit do all the talking as she simply styled her blonde locks in natural curls while she accentuated her looks with a bronzed make-up palette.

Sophie McShera flaunted her incredible physique in a satin silver skirt, which she paired with a co-ordinated cropped top with diamante strap detailing.

The actress, 36, gave a flash of her toned pegs through the skirt’s daring side-split while she gave herself a few extra inches in a pair of glittering silver stilettos.

Cast: The upcoming sequel will see the return of the much-loved cast including Hugh, Michelle and Penelope Wilton (L-R) Samantha Bond, Douglas Reith, Harry Hadden-Paton, Laura Carmichael, Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Penelope Wilton, Robert James Collier and Michael Fox

She styled her brunette locks in a curled style swept over to one side, while she accentuated her striking looks with a bold red lipstick and a touch of mascara.

Sophie looked strikingly different from her Downton Abbey character, assistant cook Daisy Mason, as she cut an elegant figure on the red carpet. 

Downton creator Julian Fellowes previously teased some details about the movie, which is based on the acclaimed TV series.

Speaking about the project, Julian shared: ‘It’s really a new era. The further the ’20s went along, the more the world was changing in so many ways. Everything from entertainment to transport was really different by the end of the ’20s. That’s what we’re referring to in that.’

Julian sees the Downton films as an extension of the hit TV series, which ran for six seasons between 2010 and 2015, and he explained that the new movie will pick up from where the 2019 film ended.

He said: ‘As we know from the last film, Mary may not be the titular head of the household, but she is effectively running the show. We take that further.

‘We’re trying to mark the change – the fact that Crawleys of Downton are nearly in the 1930s, which is merely the beginning of the modern world.’

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