The New 'Downton Abbey'-Themed Cosmetic Line is Almost Historically Accurate
Downton Abbey doesn't start again 'till next year (Season 4 airs January 5, in case you don't already have a calendar up), but now you can manage your withdrawal symptoms with an array of products worthy of the Crawley daughters themselves: Soaps, candles, and... nail polish.
File the new Downton Abbey-themed cosmetic line, sold only at British department store Marks & Spencer, under Weirdly Inconsistent Marketing Moves. Granted, the packaging is very lovely, and it's easy to imagine Lady Mary unwrapping one of the freesia-and-mandarin-scented soaps with one pale hand, or languishing in a crème bath as she weeps for poor, poor Matthew. On the other hand, a Downton Abbey nail polish (excuse me, nail varnish ) is obviously a glaring anachronism.
The line focuses on bath products rather than makeup — a clever move that fits with the uber-minimal makeup policy of the show: No mascara, no eyeshadow, no plucked eyebrows. Downton has been frequently praised for its attention to historical detail; the actresses even smell the part by wearing Yardley Lily of the Valley eau de toilette. So while it's cool that they're not releasing a Lady Sybil's Luscious Lashes mascara, it's disappointing that the show's hair-raising historical accuracy hasn't been extended to all their products. Then again, servants were barely allowed to bathe back then. And there was poisonous lead in everything. So while we may long for the era's waist-nipping fashion, perhaps it's okay to embrace 2013's beauty innovations.