Downton Abbey actresses don finery

Hampshire Chronicle: Three of the stars of Downton Abbey grace the cover of Harper's Bazaar Three of the stars of Downton Abbey grace the cover of Harper's Bazaar

Downton Abbey stars Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael and Lily James' characters already enjoy some of the finer things in life - and now the actresses have donned yet more finery for a fashion shoot.

Michelle, Laura and Lily posed in Valentino evening gowns during the shoot for Harper's Bazaar, which took place at Viscount Gage's ancestral home, Firle Place in Sussex.

Michelle, who plays Lady Mary Crawley in the ITV drama, wore a silk, feather-embellished dress, while Laura - who stars as her sister Lady Edith - and Lily (Lady Rose MacClare), donned lace gowns by the designer.

Meanwhile, the period drama's creator Julian Fellowes said that he would be "amazed" if there was not another series after the fifth instalment airs this autumn.

He said that he could not understand why there are not enough meaty female roles in TV and that being a woman was a "performance art".

On his theory on the difference between the sexes, he told the magazine: "Women grow up and men never do. There is always, in men, this kind of boy in the middle of him who must be nurtured and protected by women in his life, and they must always make him feel that he is very talented or misunderstood or whatever...

"And in that sense, even today, in 2014, being a woman is a performance art."

He added: "So many of the legends of the industry are female. You have that period in the Thirties and Forties when, really, we remember Joan Crawford and Bette Davis and Rita Hayworth more than their male counterparts."

:: The full interview is in the August issue of Harper's Bazaar - on sale from July 4.

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