Well Played Covers: Downton Abbey on the Cover of Harper’s Bazaar UK


Real talk: I am very excited about the return of Downton Abbey, when it finally comes, and even though I know it ushers in a long period of those of us in the United States logging onto Twitter on Sunday morning and then screaming when we realize that our friends in the UK are about to tweet something like, “I can’t believe Lady Edith just shoved Thomas down that well!!!” or some such. I think EVERYONE is always looking forward to the return, however, hence these covers of UK Harper’s Bazaar. This is the subscriber cover:

Harpers-Bazaar-Downton-Abbey (1)

The delightful Fug National who brought these covers to my attention wished that everyone’s bosom was more amply supported, but for some reason, that doesn’t really bother me personally — it feels kind of period appropriate? Despite the fact that Rose’s sheer is not period appropriate and that Downton itself is no longer in the period that these frocks are kind of referencing. Most of all, I guess I just love how SAUCY Edith looks.

The newsstand cover gave Lady Mary all the real estate:

Harpers-Bazaar-Downton-Abbey (2)

I like this, because there’s life in her face, even though she looks a little bit like she’s about to say something. WHAT IF IT’S SPOILERS?

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Comments (56):

  1. Anne

    I wish Edith had the kind of storylines that would support a saucy look like that… maybe she knows where that Bible is!

  2.  D.

    Edith FTW!!

  3. Entry Level Cartier

    Michelle Dockery is so classy: she Instagrammed the subscriber cover with all of them, rather than her solo cover. I love them both, they’re gorgeous.

  4. Maggiecate

    I wish they’d included Maggie Smith, and I agree with your correspondent regarding the need for some bosom support. I do like Lady Edith’s smirk though – she clearly knows EVERYTHING and isn’t going to tell…

    • Noire

      Or is she?

    • Joanie

      Yes to some bosom support! The breasts just look far too low for anyone’s liking.

    • JenLWB

      I think it’s all down to the neckline. A high round neck gives the illusion of lower bosoms anyway. Definite care needs to be taken to hoik ‘em up a bit when wearing these I reckon.

    • Sweetsinger

      Dame Maggie would have outsassed all three. Best she does solo work.

  5. anne p.

    Well, they owed Miss Dockery a fetching solo cover after that group shot, where her legs (and one foot) are so distractingly akimbo and her sitting position does her chest no favors … and is that a big ol’ post-knee-surgery bandage she’s sporting??

    Oh, Lady Edith, Round One to you, bigtime — and earned on your own merits, not just by comparison!

  6.  cg

    Isn’t Michelle’s dress that Valentino that Cate Blanchett wore at Cannes?
    I recognized the feathers on the sleeves!

  7.  KarenG958

    The dresses and the ladies are lovely on the first cover, but all of the poses are awkward. Love the red shoes with the first dress.

    •  Sharon

      I like those shoes as well. They all have strange expressions, like they just kissed your husband.

    • gryt

      I’m betting the magazine picked this shot over many better shots the photographer made… It happens a lot. (And it’s frustrating for the photographer.)

      I do hate that the new girl is sitting on an actual apple box (an ever-present studio prop for when you need to… prop something up), which I gather is supposed to be edgy or something? Ugh.

  8.  Caitlin M

    Inside, there’s a spread that includes the downstairs ladies, too, all looking quite glam: http://tomandlorenzo.com/2014/07/the-women-of-downton-abbey-cover-harpers-bazaar-uk-magazine/

    But no Maggie Smith, unfortunately.

    •  cg

      So lovely, all of them!

    • Marnie

      Hey, Daisy’s wearing the same dress as Kiera from the previous post! I like that photoshoot a lot. It looks very Vanity Fair Hollywood Issue.

    • Katrina

      Saw that too and yay for Mrs. Patmore looking glam!!! And Elizabeth McGovern looks sooooo much younger in that photo! I wish that Jane Frogatt was smiling though. Her look here is too reminiscent of Anna from last season, and that’s something I don’t like being reminded of.

    •  Caitlin M

      I feel like there was a makeup artist directive, though: “No lipstick for the downstairs crew!”

    • Diana2

      If you scroll down to see the runway looks, you can appreciate how cleverly they’ve masked the granny pants sheerness of the Temperley London that Joanne Froggatt is wearing.

      Everyone looks gorgeous – upstairs and downstairs! I can’t get over how well done these shots are.

  9. lali

    I don’t watch Dowton so I can’t say much but this Mary person reminds me of Winona Ryder. Also, I like her manicure.

  10. meggiemoo

    I covet Michelle’s eyebrows and skin.

    As a graphic designer, I can’t quite get behind the black box behind the white type on the solo cover. But I may be the only one this bothers…

    •  cg

      Graphic designer here, too. I actually thought, well, that’s a way to handle the white type over the white background. It does bleed off the left side …

      • Libby

        It’s the back of the director’s chair she’s sitting on.

        •  cg


        • Persephone Mulberry

          I don’t think it is, it’s too perfectly square and horizontal. It looks like the photoshopped out everything left of her head and added the black bar. You can just see the arm of the chair under her other arm, and the angle is wrong for that to be the back of the chair.

        • meggiemoo

          No, it’s a black bar so that you can read the white type. I would have handled it differently, that’s all.

    • Annie

      Another graphic designer, and you’re definitely not the only one it bothered. My eye went right to the black box. It’s one solution to the problem, but not the one best suited to this cover, I think.

      Michelle looks fantastic, however.

  11. val.

    I love both covers. I also love Michelle’s hair. Note to self: MUST NOT cut my hair. Must not cut my hair. I will not look like her!

  12.  Elle

    DAMN, Lady Edith. You look GOOD.

  13.  tp

    i had the same thought about the breasts and then i remembered, we’re so used to trussed up pneumatic bubble breasts, we forget that this is what real breasts can look like. imagine that!

    •  Nanc

      Their bosoms do indeed look natural–I just feel like they need some minimal support–what if they have an energetic polka at the ball?! But given the sheer nature of the gowns, Laura and Lily’s shoulders-back-and-bosoms-up pose was a good workaround. I’m a bit bugged by Michelle’s slouching–I just re-read some of the Betsy-Tacy books this past month and am reminded of Betsy practicing her Ethel Barrymore droop and debutante slouch, which would be fashionable for the period–maybe that’s what she was going for?

    • HelenBackAgain

      You can wear a bra without pushing them up to your chin. There’s a middle ground. And it’s a nice place.

      These all need brassieres.

    • luxsword

      The thing is we shouldn’t be thinking so much about their breasts and breasts support. Yet that’s the first thing I thought about when I saw this picture, because of those awful sheer dresses.

  14. Persephone Mulberry

    Why why why why why does everything have to be SHEER? The faces are smashing and the details of the dresses are lovely, but IMO they’d be a hundred times lovelier if they were lined. The sheer is just distracting.

    • marylou bethune

      I agree – and the dresses are so ethereal as are the ladies so really no one needs the peek a boo ness of it all. And Lady Rose’s shoes are fabulous.

  15. gigi

    bummer I never got into this show… would be fun if they had aliens… are there at least secret rooms and spy stuff?

  16.  GeoDiva

    The pictures inside with all the ladies (upstairs and downstairs) are great.

  17.  Bella

    I don’t quite know what it is, but Edith and what’s her name (not L. Mary) look like their heads were photoshopped onto someone else’s body. Something doesn’t look right. The second cover is beautiful.

    •  giggleswick

      I agree. I feel like the focal point is Mary and the other two fall in front of and behind the focal point, so are a bit soft or out of focus, especially Edith.

  18.  Sharon

    I love this. It is like they all got together in grandma’s attic and played dress-up.
    Beautiful ladies all.

  19. Alix Cavanagh

    You probably want to check out Crownton Dobby, the Downton spoof filming this summer and being released this Autumn: http://www.21stcenturyfilm.com/crownton-dobby/

    Scripts are awesome and your loyal reader is playing Lady Eliza/Edith – do I get a fab lace frock too?

    •  lacondesainvierno

      Congratulations. I hope you had a wonderful time and that it leads to more for you.

      •  lacondesainvierno

        oooooh. just think. later we could all be talking about pictures of you and saying we knew her when she was just a type font.

  20. Bottle Ginger

    Those dresses undoubtedly have pretty details, but I think they’re as unflattering as hell.

    A bad high-necked dress can do the following things to slender women: Make their heads look enormous, make their bosoms look low (because they’re so far from the neckline), and make the wearer look like she’s got three or four sister wives. These dresses are doing all of that, and two of them are also making the shoulders look painfully narrow. That increases the bobblehead effect.

  21. witjunkie

    Well Michelle’s dress looks much better close up than from afar. But I do think it’s a well-done cover, the three of them.

  22. Gretchen
  23. Sajorina

    The subscriber cover with the three of them is ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS! Worth framing and putting in my salon (as André Leon Talley would say)!

  24. tessa

    You all know what a chicken looks like after its feathers are plucked off — all neck and scrawny. That’s the image that came to my mind when I saw Laura Carmichael on that cover.