Either way, fans of Masterpiece Theater can now act on their affinity for sumptuous Edwardian style and bring a piece of Lady Mary home with them. Gareth Neam, the executive producer of everyone’s favorite British period drama, Downton Abbey, has announced it will launch a full line of subsidiary products later year, including apparel, housewares, furniture, and beauty products. Of course, our Charlotte marketing agency has already seen it done with the new Tiffany & Co. jewelry and Brooks Brothers clothing collections inspired by the forthcoming remake of The Great Gatsby. And, notably, when Banana Republic captured the public bonanza over Mad Men with their mid-century-influenced capsule collection.
Downton Abbey is set in the Edwardian period of England – the era following the heaviness, clutter and dark colors of Victorian interiors in which people wanted something new and cheerful. With its light floral patterns and pastel colors, Edwardian style was a breath of fresh air, and as I watch the show, I find myself wanting to touch the textiles, the endless yards of brocades and lace, the sumptuous furnishings, and the gleaming oak and mahogany.
Creators of the internationally acclaimed TV series used Highclere Castle – the real-life mansion and 1,000-acre estate in Hampshire, England – as the set of Downton Abbey, and the set designers pretty much used the castle's opulent rooms as they found them, full of priceless art and antiques.
That look – with its sparkling, rich and royal spectacle of interior design – has apparently fueled an appetite for Edwardian elegance over here in the New World. So, get ready for a coast-to-coast rollout of Downton Abbey products (and inspirations) in the new season.
Since the first episode was broadcast in 2010, Downton Abbey has achieved vast popularity on both sides of the Atlantic. The finale of the second series last year was watched by 5.4 million people in the US (and 10.5 million back in the UK). The drama, created by writer Julian Fellowes, now in its fourth series, has spawned a range of merchandise the people behind the Olympics would be proud of.
After the huge success of the show here in America, the producers plan to rake in the cash with a host of goods so that viewers can buy their own piece of fake, oddly anachronistic, speedily rendered history in the hope of achieving a faux-aristocratic thrill.
Knockout Licensing, the company charged with partnering the Downton Abbey brand with appropriate products, has plans for Abbey-inspired furniture, bedding, kitchen accessories, lighting, timepieces, tableware and formal attire. It also has licensed a rose collection.
And if sleeping on Lady Mary's sheets (hmmm) or painting your living room the color of the Dowager Countess' salon isn't enough, the look and feel of the Crawley family has also been adopted by the fashion world. We hear Marc Jacobs is a fan, the team at Prada watch the show, and designer Christopher Kane has recently been dressing Laura Carmichael, who plays Lady Edith. I'm sure there is a lot more in the merchandise pipeline, and our Charlotte marketing agency will let you know how the whole product ecosystem continues to grow.