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'Downton Abbey' Stars, IRL


The costume-drama cast—sans costumes.

Egads! The entire cast of Downton Abbey found a time machine, traveled 100 years forward to 2012, and discovered a closet full of modern clothing and book of today's hairstyles! The results are amusing and unsettling, much like watching a cat walk on its hind legs and smoke a cigarette at the same time.

Paper (via New York) compiled a photo essay of immaculately dressed Dowager Countesses and Chamber Maids paired with pictures of them in real life, looking like us (but better, because they're professional actors).

Be forewarned--the effect of seeing Mrs. Hughes with a layered haircut and fuschia kimono top and matching clutch is extremely difficult to handle, especially since we like our early-20th-century royal fantasies to be untouched by the wretchedness of modernity and the absence of concretely defined social hierarchies.

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Mike Berlin