Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) just can’t catch a break.
After two seasons of failed relationships, Downton Abbey’s dejected middle sibling finally stepped into the spotlight last night as she walked down the aisle to wed her (much older) suitor, Sir Anthony Strallan (Robert Bathurst). Though the moment was ultimately short-lived (Edith’s fiance left her at the altar), costume designer Caroline McCall says she wanted to make sure it was memorable.
“[Edith has] always been a little bit of an awkward character,” McCall tells EW. “She’s always looking for her place in the world and I wanted her to look absolutely stunning on her wedding day. I wanted [her] to find her place.”
To create Edith’s wedding gown, McCall took cues from designers like Lanvin, but the biggest inspiration turned out to be an original silk train adorned in flowers and crystals that she borrowed from a friend.
“[That] was the starting point really,” says McCall. “We brought through the embroidery from the train and put it on the shoulders and the hips. It was like a draped silk dress. It’s very simple and elegant.”
To top it off, McCall added the pricey “family bridal tiara,” which Mary (Michelle Dockery) wore at her wedding to Matthew (Dan Stevens) in last week’s episode. That, however, was where the similarities between the two brides ended.
“You choose things that suit each girl the best really,” says McCall, who explains that since Mary’s dress was lace—a popular fabric at the time—she opted to outfit Edith in satin.
McCall says the ultimate goal was to make sure Edith looked “more mature and more beautiful than we’d ever seen her before.”
“I wanted Strallan’s reason for turning her down to be because he suddenly sees this beautiful young girl and [thinks] how could he steal her life away?” says McCall. “ I wanted you to sort of be devastated as an audience.”