Lady Rose (Lily James) wears Robbins’ favorite dress when the young aristocrat gets married in the Season 5 finale.
A vintage “virginal” piece, Robbins found the shimmering bridal gown when a London tailor told her about something “incredibly special” and got out a big box that had been packed away. “And when I first saw it, the hair on the back of my arms just sort of went up,” Robbins says. “And to make it even better, the dress fit her like a glove. We didn’t have to do very much to it at all.
“The dress had never been worn — it was probably made for somebody and then the wedding had never taken place — so all these years later, it gets its day in the sun.” Luminous on top, and nearly 100 years old, it’s a sumptuously beaded tulle gown. Robbins says they found an amazing creamy silk to go underneath it.
Her big challenge is “the vast number of changes we have for the cast during the day — at that time, aristocratic women changed into seven full outfits daily — and then you look at the number of actors in the ensemble cast and it’s a massive scale,” she says of the sheer number of period costumes needed for a single shoot.
“So we do very, very quick turnarounds, but the standards are very, very high. So, yes, I guess there’s pressure, but it’s no more pressure than I put on myself. And seeing things come from nothing into something — a piece of scrap or an image in my head — to having it on set, with that perfect production design and lighting, it’s quite a high, and it’s what spurs you on to hitting the nail on the head on the next one.”
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