By Ella Alexander
07 October 2011
DOWNTON ABBEY‘S Jessica Brown Findlay says in the August issue of Vogue that the blue Valentino dress she wore in the magazine’s Heirs And Graces shoot was perhaps “the most beautiful thing” she had ever worn – but she nearly missed out on wearing it altogether.
“Originally, I was supposed to wear another dress – and of course it was beautiful – but I saw the blue one hanging on the rail and I just loved it, but I couldn’t bare to change everything so last minute,” Brown Findlay told us. “But then Michelle [Dockery, Brown Findlay's co-star in Downton Abbey] just knew, in that very big sister way, that I had my eye on the other dress and just told the stylist that ‘Actually I think Jess really loves that one’. She knew I’d never say anything, I mean it was for Vogue! We were all so nervous, but it was such a wonderful day. It was so nice getting dressed up together. We had dinner, the three of us, after it all finished just to talk about it. It was amazing.”
Findlay Brown is no stranger to dressing up, currently playing Lady Sybil Crawley in the hugely popular television series – but she says the costumes aren’t always too logistically sound.
“There’s a reason hobble skirts are called hobble skirts,” she laughs. “You literally can’t move very far in them. Some of those dresses are originals, some are copies, but when you’re wearing them you can really see why women who lived in that period couldn’t move very fast or do very much. It’s just physically impossible to move at speed in them. But, the costumes are beautiful though. Susannah Buxton [Downton Abbey's costume designer] 100 per cent deserved that Emmy, she thinks of everything right down to the smallest detail.”
Next Friday, will see the actress star in her first film, Albatross, where she plays an independent 18-year-old who is experiencing her own coming-of-age – a very different role to which many are used to seeing her in.
“It was actually shot before Downton Abbey was even conceived,” she said. “I’m so proud of it, I adore it – it was just the best job. Sybil and Emelia may seem very different, but parts of them are quite similar. It’s nice for people to see, and for myself to know, that I can do different roles though – that I can dress up in period costumes and slouch around. It’s just another side of acting – a new physicality.”