Perspectives

Laura Loew Will Highlight Fashions of the Downton Abbey Era at WOUB Tea

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Laura Loew, an expert on the fashions and accessories of the Downton Abbey period, will be the featured speaker at the WOUB Public Media Downton Abbey Tea on Sunday, March 6 in Baker University Center.

Loew will display several of the period ensembles and explain the role of fashion in the popular PBS Downton Abbey series.
It most certainly was a “period of grandeur and elegance,” Loew told WOUB’s Tom Hodson.

Loew, who is an authority on Victorian and Edwardian styles in England, also is an expert on the period between 1912 and the mid 1920’s – the time covered by Downton Abbey.

She notes that World War I had a major influence in modernizing women’s fashion. She charts the evolution of dress from Season One of the show, which was prior to World War I, through the post-war period of the 1920’s in Season Six.

Clothing materials were different along with colors and the cut of women’s clothing.

Loew also posits that the colors used to dress the various female characters in Downton Abbey are reflective of their personalities. For example, Lady Mary is often dressed in reds over the course of the show and Lady Edith is often dressed in oranges – a slightly less bold color which characterizes her personality.

The clothes worn by the Dowager Countess, portrayed by Maggie Smith, have changed the least over the six seasons of the show symbolizing the dowager’s reluctance to keep pace with modern times.

Loew also notes that men’s fashions did not change much over the six years of the show and that the fashions of that period are even reflective of men’s fashions today.

The non-work dress of the servant staff, she notes, are plain with little color and almost no style. Efficiency and durability were important in off-duty clothing of the working class.

Loew is the owner of Lost in the Past, a company established in 2001 that specializes in the antiques, clothing and accessories of the Victorian and Edwardian periods.

Loew lives in a fully restored and period furnished Victorian home in Medina, Ohio.