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16-09-2012
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Laura Carmichael
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Laura Carmichael and Michelle Dockery attend the "Schiaparelli And Prada: Impossible Conversations" Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2012 in New York City. (May 6, 2012 - Source: Larry Busacca/Getty Images North America)

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16-09-2012
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Quote:
Laura Carmichael attends the private VIP view of Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2012 at Royal Academy of Arts on May 30, 2012 in London, England. (May 29, 2012 - Source: Tim Whitby/Getty Images Europe)

Quote:
13th September 2012. Laura Carmichael who plays Lady Edith Crawley in Downton Abbey pictured outside the London Studios. (September 13, 2012 - Source: Gf/Bauer Griffin)

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16-09-2012
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At Topshop Unique Spring/Summer 2013


*Vogue.co.uk

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16-09-2012
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Laura Carmichael is spotted at the Unique Catwalk Show at the Topshop Show Space during London Fashion Week. (February 20, 2012 - Source: PacificCoastNews.com)

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2012 ELLE Style Awards held at The Rose Club. (February 13, 2012 - Source: Bauer Griffin)

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16-09-2012
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LOVE F/W 12/13 by Mert and Marcus




*facebook/lovemagazine, colette.fr & glossynewsstand tumblr via Melancholybaby

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16-09-2012
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Quote:
Laura Carmichael attends the UK premiere of My Week with Marilyn at The Cineworld Haymarket on November 20, 2011 in London, United Kingdom. (November 19, 2011 - Source: Dave Hogan/Getty Images Europe)

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16-09-2012
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Quote:
L-R Sophie Mcshera, Laura Carmichael and Michelle Dockery attend an Evening With Downton Abbey - Raising Money For Merlin - The Medical Relief Charity at The Savoy Hotel on July 14, 2011 in London, United Kingdom. (July 13, 2011 - Source: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images Europe)

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Actress Laura Carmichael attends the Rainbow Trust: Silver Jubilee Ball at The Savoy Hotel on October 13, 2011 in London, England. (October 12, 2011 - Source: Danny Martindale/Getty Images Europe)

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InStyle hosts the Best Of British Talent Party held at Shoreditch House. (January 26, 2012 - Source: Bauer Griffin)

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16-09-2012
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I really like Laura's style, she looks really fantastic in many of these looks. I think my favorite one of the last three outfits posted is the blue jumpsuit, she pulls it off incredibly well! In fact out of the three Crawley girls I'd say she's best dressed.

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16-09-2012
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More from today, at Topshop Unique S/S 13'


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Laura Carmichael: Frocks, shocks and Lady Edith unveiled

Every so often a compelling female character comes along on television who captures viewers’ imaginations. But not in an altogether comfortable way. She is the shade to the leading lady’s light, the quietly resentful brooder in the corner, the (justifiably) sulky spectre at the feast because, as usual, nobody thought to invite her. In the sequestered world of Downton Abbey, she is insecure, snubbed Lady Edith Crawley. Our emotional response is every bit as confused and complex as she is: how we hate her! How we pity her! How we long for her to get her comeuppance! How we hope she finds a husband!

Like Dame Maggie Smith’s imperiously spiky Dowager Countess, or scheming Thomas the footman, Lady Edith, played with awkward wistfulness by Laura Carmichael, is the grit in the oyster that elevates the hugely popular period drama above the saccharine. She is the classic middle sister: overlooked, undervalued, eclipsed by dazzling Lady Mary (played by Michelle Dockery) above her and sweet, wide-eyed Lady Sybil (played by Jessica Brown Findlay) below her. She feels unloved and behaves unlovably – but for Laura, 25, portraying Lady Edith is an utter joy.

‘You have to have sympathy for and an empathy with a character in order to play them,’ says Laura. ‘But that doesn’t mean you should overlook their faults and, let’s face it, Edith can be annoying and deceitful. She feels like an outsider in her own family, the sort of girl who sits with the grown-ups and glowers at those her own age who are having fun.

‘What I find fascinating is whether she’s like that because she was excluded by her two sisters or did they exclude her because she’s like that?’ Either way, Laura has brought a depth to Lady Edith and raised her above the level of a prematurely bitter spinster.

‘Edith is vulnerable and sometimes you can see she’s struggling against the way she’s been pigeonholed, but just as you start to feel sorry for her, a nasty side emerges that makes you pull back. I love her complexity.’

In Downton, Lady Edith is dowdy and watchful, ever ready to defend herself from slights, actual and perceived. Laura, however, has an altogether more serene air. She favours masculine Katharine Hepburn-style tailoring: high-waisted trousers, nothing too girlie. Her strawberry-blonde hair is hanging loose about her shoulders, her gestures free and expansive. She also has a lovely – but more than that, an unusual, interesting – face. There’s the strong nose, the even features, the ethereal colouring. She’s perfect for period drama, but at the YOU photo shoot she’s as edgy
as a fashionista.

The thought occurs to me that she would make a marvellous muse for a playful designer. ‘Ooh, a muse, that sounds all right,’ she giggles. ‘I do love dressing up, which is just another of the many perks of working on Downton. As the years move on, the clothes become much less restrictive.

When Lady Edith went to help on a farm during the war, the wardrobe guy brought me Meryl Streep’s trousers from Out of Africa to try on. I was thrilled at the prospect of wearing them, but in the end they made me my own pair – but I did get to wear her blouse. Me, Laura Carmichael, in Meryl Streep’s blouse!’

Given that Laura cites Streep as a style icon, it was an unforgettable moment, and a reflection of the curious turns an acting career can take. Born and brought up in Hampshire by her physiotherapist mother and her father who works in IT, she was educated at state schools before attending Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. After graduation she ended up working as a ‘useless’ secretary and receptionist at a doctor’s surgery while looking for acting jobs. Then two came along at once: a tour of Twelfth Night to Dubai and Downton Abbey. She took a calculated risk and pulled out of the Shakespeare play before she was offered the plum role of Lady Edith. ‘When I went to the initial audition I assumed I would be a kitchen maid with a couple of lines. I had no idea that I would be given such a brilliant character to play.’

Laura herself is the middle sister of three. But any similarity ends there. ‘I have two sisters and we are the best of friends. Amy is two years older and designs phone apps for museums. Olivia is two years younger and works for the charitable wing of the Royal London Hospital. We are very different but there is a bond between us that is sacred, so it was interesting to play a sister whose life’s purpose is to ruin her older sister. Jessica and Michelle come from all-girl families, too, which gave us a shared understanding.’

That rapport extends beyond filming; the three, and in particular Laura and Michelle, who are like fire and ice on screen, have become very close off camera. ‘You’d think we’d have had enough of each other, but we love hanging out. I surprised Michelle by flying out to New York for her 30th birthday and walked into the restaurant wearing a pink bow – she got the shock of her life! I wonder if people realise what an amazing time we have on the Downton set?’ asks Laura. ‘In between takes we play music and dance around the trailers and sometimes Elizabeth [McGovern], who plays our mother the Countess of Grantham and is in a band called Sadie and the Hotheads, brings in her guitar and we sing.’

Laura and Michelle recently went to a Rihanna concert together (‘no VIP area for us, we were jumping up and down in front of the stage’) and have attended Fashion Week shows together. Laura declines to say whether she is dating, but given that she lives in a shared rented flat in North London with two other girls and Michelle accompanied her to the 2012 Met Ball in New York, it’s probably fair to surmise that she’s single. She was astonished by the reception they received: Downton has been a huge success in the US. Having won six Emmy awards last year, it has received 16 nominations for this year, the results being revealed next Sunday.

‘The Met Ball was like being at Madame Tussauds, except all the famous people were walking about – and talking to us. Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford said they were fans and then Mick Jagger came over and said, “Hi, I’m Mick,” and all we could think of to say was, “Yes, we know.”’

But the biggest thrill was yet to come in the shape of Beyoncé, draped in Givenchy haute couture lace and beading with a purple feather train. ‘I have such a huge girl crush on Beyoncé,’ sighs Laura. ‘She’s so sexy and inspirational, and she makes no secret of the fact she works hard. If I’m feeling discouraged or at a low ebb, I ask myself, “What would Beyoncé do?” and I know she would go to the gym or the supermarket.’ So spying her idol on the red carpet must have been the perfect opportunity to make a dream come true? ‘Oh no. Michelle whispered, “Do you want to go and speak to her?” but I was so overcome in her presence I was almost in tears and unable to move.’

It’s a touching scene, but she can always catch Beyoncé next year; with the introduction of Shirley MacLaine to the cast, playing the Countess of Grantham’s mother, who clashes with the Dowager Countess, Dame Maggie, the American ratings are set to soar even higher. But Downton holds many more surprises. Lady Edith’s plotline is about to take a trajectory, which seems only fair as she has come a long way since she destroyed her sister’s reputation by telling the world of Mary’s illicit tryst with Mr Pamuk, the Turkish diplomat who scandalously died in her bed. The First World War, which cast its shadow over the last series, made all the characters grow up and when the house was converted to a convalescent home for officers, it put an abrupt end to the idle longueurs of aristocratic living. Lady Edith helped out on a local farm – then passionately kissed the married farmer in a moment of uninhibited madness.

‘This series is going to be really satisfying,’ says Laura, glowing with anticipation. ‘I’m excited that Edith’s storyline is becoming positive; she’s growing up and her moment has come. War has liberated the girls and they’ve got jobs to do and a bit more backbone. Edith is clueless and with very little
self-knowledge. But we’ve also seen her softer side: a young woman who wants to be taken care of and appreciated and not constantly compared to Mary and found wanting.’ The proverbial cat, to some degree, is out of the bag. Photographs emerged early in the summer of Lady Edith in (whisper it) a wedding gown and veil. At least we assume it was a wedding gown as it was hidden under a coat for the outdoor scenes, filmed in Bampton, Oxfordshire. But Laura refuses to be drawn on whether she and Sir Anthony Strallan, her former suitor (until Lady Mary sabotaged their relationship in an act of revenge), finally make it down the aisle.

She also stoutly defends the series from criticisms that it is simply escapist Sunday night
fare. ‘I don’t understand how anyone could dismiss Downton as just another period drama of no relevance to modern life,’ says Laura. ‘Viewers get drawn into the story by the characters, whose motives and ambitions and strengths and failings are universal. In a great many respects their world isn’t so far removed from our own. We all have hierarchies at work – even on set, the runner would never walk up to the director and ask for a cup of coffee. This series is all about the end of an era: after the war nothing will ever be the same again and it becomes increasingly obvious that the younger characters deal with change much better, by embracing it and moving forward. We see that Edith isn’t content with being left on the shelf, she won’t inherit any money – if there’s any left – and has a new-found confidence and determination.’

The same could be said for Laura, who will be appearing alongside Anna Friel this November in her first major West End role (as Sonya in Uncle Vanya at the Vaudeville Theatre) and says she is looking forward to playing grittier roles, even if she’s a bit of a blubberer when it comes to anything remotely emotional. ‘I cry at films and TV and even adverts.’

Her gratitude for landing a part in such a prestigious show as Downton at the start of her career is evident. ‘When I emerge from filming I feel slightly out of synch with real life, but it’s also a relief. There’s nothing I miss from that period – not the etiquette nor the dressing for dinner nor the interminable meals. I do think it rather a shame that we’ve let hats go; other than that the past is a wonderful place to visit and I feel incredibly lucky to be part of Downton Abbey, even though I still can’t imagine why they thought to cast me.’ I think it fair to say that on this single point, she and her public must agree to differ.

Laura's Loves

Reading By Grand Central Station Sat Down and Wept, a prose poem written by Elizabeth Smart in 1945. It’s amazing.
Listening to Fun’s album Some Nights, which I’ve just bought, and I’m a big BBC Radio 6 Music fan.
Wearing Anything vintage — it’s a luxury to have the time to browse round the vintage shops.
Style Icon Meryl Streep in her Burberry trenchcoat in Kramer vs Kramer — the epitome of New York cool.
Make-up Good, old-fashioned red lipstick.
Saving up for An enormous house, but I’d settle for a small flat.
Must do Visit Mexico, play Broadway.
*Dailymail.co.uk

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18-09-2012
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I like the look Laura wore to the Topshop show- it's very nice. The pattern on her blouse is lovely. And thanks for sharing that interview with Laura, it was a good read, very interesting.

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19-09-2012
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I love her look, she looks so unconventional.

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19-09-2012
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She's so beautiful.

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22-10-2012
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*Style.com


*Zimbio.com

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22-10-2012
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I love the last two looks! So elegant yet modern. And I love Laura's makeup, it's so gorgeous, I think I might be taking style/makeup cue's from her from now on. It's really great.

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