I can barely hold my excitement for the return of Downton Abbey on PBS. The period drama is romantic and sensual with gorgeous actors and enviable costumes. The character Lady Mary is one many , including myself root for and love despite all her faults, particularly her pride. She is played by British beauty Michelle Dockery, who is the subject of profile feature in September’s Harper’s Bazaar. She stars in a gorgeous editorial in which she wears luxe pieces by Tom Ford, J.Mendel, Ralph Lauren Collection, Alberta Ferretti and Etro. Lady Mary would definitely be proud. The actress also opens up about her role on the hit period drama, her career, style, and more.
On being cast in Downton Abbey:
“Until then I’d played much more vulnerable parts, but I remember coming out of the audition, and Dan Stevens [who plays Mary’s handsome love interest, Matthew, and with whom Dockery previously appeared in the TV movie The Turn of the Screw] was in the waiting room. I said, ‘Who are you up for?’ and he said, ‘Matthew.’ She laughs. “I walked out and thought, Oh, that could work.”
She is often asked why she believes Downton is so celebrated, especially in the U.S.
“I think some period drama can be quite alienating, but Downton isn’t,” she says. “This is going to sound quite, um, pretentious, but someone said that it’s like a soap written by a poet.”
Dockery thinks her character, Lady Mary, would be very modern if she lived today.
“She’d be in charge, her own boss. She’d have married very well and maybe had kids, but I don’t think she’d be particularly maternal.” She laughs. “She’d definitely have help.” As for modern Mary’s style: “Armani. Simple, clean.”
She characterizes her own look in a similar way. She’s a fan of actress Charlotte Gainsbourg’s boyish aesthetic.
“Very French, understated. That’s the kind of style I go for.”
She maintains her figure with workouts at her gym in London’s Shoreditch. On location, however, it’s harder to work out:
“Once you’re in costume, you can’t really exercise in a corset.”