We’re used to seeing them in demure Edwardian period costumes.

But as Downton Abbey prepares to return to our screens, its three young ladies have come into present day in a stunning new photoshoot for Vogue magazine.

Michelle Dockery, Jessica Brown-Findlay and Laura Carmichael, who play the three Crawley sisters in the ITV drama series, have posed in dramatic designer couture.

Swapping the halls of Downton Abbey (aka Highclere Castle in Hampshire) to the equally-historic Kew Gardens, the three actresses pose in their designer garb amongst the horticulture.

Dockery, 29, who plays Lady Mary Crawley – the eldest daughter of Lord and Lady Grantham – told the magazine: ‘Our costumes for the show are lovely, but nothing on this.’

While co-star Carmichael, 23, who plays middle daughter Lady Edith, admire her costumes, she admitted she would have lost patience for dressing up on a daily basis.

She said: ‘It seems insane – sometimes they changed four times a day. All those gloves and jewels and hair slides, it must have been almost a full-time job.’

In the accompanying interview, the actresses have credited surprise hit Downton Abbey with changing their lives.

Brown-Findlay, 20, who plays the youngest Lady Sybil, turned to acting relatively recently after an injury led her to quit a ballet career.

After training with the National Youth Ballet and associates of the Royal Ballet, her dancing career came to an end after undergoing a series of operations on her ankles.

Despite her acting talent, Dockery is also an accomplished jazz singer and sometimes joins her on-screen mother Elizabeth McGovern’s (Lady Grantham) band Sadie And The Hot Heads.

The three actresses are currently filming the second series of Downton Abbey, which is set to return to ITV1 in the autumn.

The new series if set against the backdrop of World War I – moving on from the sinking of the Titanic which kickstarted the drama of the first series.

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