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Posted at 05:17 PM ET, 01/06/2012

‘Downton Abbey’ fashion and actual fashion: a comparison

The ladies of “Downton Abbey.” (Nick Briggs - PBS)
As TV critic Hank Stuever wrote in his review of the highly anticipated second season of “Downton Abbey,” beginning Sunday on PBS, one of the show’s strongest assets is its beauty. And a major element of that beauty can be found in the period costumes, designed for the series by Susanne Buxton.

The long gloves and formal frocks worn by the Crawley daughters, as well as the ensembles donned by other “Downton Abbey” characters, are so striking that they may have inspired a World War I-era fashion trend.

Of course, it’s difficult to prove that designers like Ralph Lauren and Dior were directly influenced by the show’s costumes. But if you look at the photos from “Downton” along with images from recent runway shows — all viewable in the gallery below — it’s easy to spot some aristocratic style elements in common.

By Cara Kelly  |  05:17 PM ET, 01/06/2012

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