Behind the Scenes of The Unofficial Downton Abbey Knits Magazine

This year, I was honored to be a part of the team putting together the first The Unofficial Downton Abbey Knits magazine. We combed through books and websites, along with watching the television show itself, to get inspiration for what would be one of our favorite issues of the entire year. As a graphic designer, I loved learning all I could about the fictional Downton Abbey and the time period. During our early planning meetings, it was exciting to see a conference table full of all the projects for the issue laid out together as we discussed ideas and plans.

Behind the scenes: Photographer Joe Hancock behind the camera and architectural details of the mansion where the photo shoot took place. Photo by Samantha Wranosky.

But the best part in creating this issue was the photo shoot. Walking into the  photo shoot in-process was like walking onto the set of the show. It was located in a beautiful historical mansion in the heart of Denver, Colorado. With an amazing team including editorial, design, photography, stylists, and of course, models, the place came alive. Located in the kitchen was our dressing room—racks of clothing, jewelry, and accessories filled the room. Makeup and hair were done there as well, and some bagels and coffee were around the corner for all to munch on.

Behind the scenes: Photostylist Pamela Chavez adjusting one of the garments on a very patient model and architectural details of the mansion where the photo shoot took place. Photo by Samantha Wranosky.

The details within the mansion were stunning. It was invigorating being around all of that history and also imagining the story we were creating. It felt like we were visiting a far away land when in fact we were less than 2 hours from home. Every model we had played a different role in our story. Once we chose where we would photograph each shot, our photographer and his team would prepare the lighting, check the backgrounds, and analyze every detail. As they photographed each project, the vision of the magazine came together. We would gather around the photographer’s laptop and watch as the images came on the screen. It was surreal to see the historical looking images on screen and then take a step back and see the entire view—light stands, cameras, laptops, and lots of iPhones.

It’s been fun to dive into the magical world of Downton Abbey as we created the magazine and, for a brief moment, I could dream that I was able to visit the real set as they filmed Season 4.