FashionFeed: Alexa Chung for BFC, Nicole Richie for QVC

● In an obvious good move, British Fashion Council has tapped Alexa Chung to be their Young Style Ambassador. [Telegraph]

● Here’s a first look at Nicole Richie’s line for QVC. [Grazia]

● Ellen Barkin loves a body-hugging dress by L’Wren Scott so much that she has it in 12 colors. [The Cut]

● In case you missed it, watch the Ralph Lauren FW12 show in full here. [Fashionologie]

● Peep the NYFW edition of Sh*t Fashion Girls say, starring Derek Blasberg. [Fashionista]

● Downton Abbey paper dolls actually exist.  [Jezebel]

Oh, Good: ‘Downton Abbey’ is Launching a Fashion & Home Line

Taking full advantage of the world’s obsessions with all things retro, the folks at Downton Abbey thought it was prime time to launch a lifestyle line. Executive producer Gareth Neame reveals that the team behind the PBS period drama is "working across an entire range of products coming out this year. From fashion, apparel, and homeware and furniture to wallpaper, beauty products, and stationary." In other words, some Crawley-crazed fan out there must be stoked that their life is about to get completely turnt up with Downton-inspired everything.

According to Stylecaster, Vanity Fair, NBC Universal has tapped Knockout Licensing to produce the branded merch. Hey, isn’t that the same company creating 50 Shades of Grey‘s lingerie line? No word yet on a release date or design details, but we’re guessing that this Pinterest board pretty much covers what to expect.

O’Brien The Maid Is Leaving ‘Downton Abbey,’ Shirley MacLaine Coming Back

Sarah O’Brien is leaving Downton Abbey, the actress Siobhan Finneran, who plays Lady Cora’s scheming maid, has confirmed.

"I’m not doing that anymore," Finneran said. "O’Brien is a thoroughly despicable human being — that was great to play." Instead she’s working on a BBC1 drama called The Syndicate about nurses who win the lottery. 

Downton fans may not be sad to see Finneran go — I mean, she caused Lady Cora to miscarry the male heir! — but she’s yet another key loss for the ensemble cat. Season Three saw the departures of Jessica Brown Findlay, who played the sweet, feminist Sybil, and Dan Stevens, who played Cousin Matthew. Both actors saw their bloody demise presumably so they could take advantage of new acting opportunities that came with Downton Abbey‘s success. 

The good news, though? Shirley MacLaine, who plays Cora’s American mother Martha Levinson, is returning for the Season Four finale, PBS has confirmed.  Please just don’t kill her off, Julian Fellowes, okay?

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What Wasn’t on TV Last Night

It’s been a strange few Sunday evenings for me these past weeks, because everyone else is watching appointment weekend-wind-down television and livetweeting and generally spasming about it? But I never got hooked on Downton Abbey, Enlightened, or Girls. I did, however, just justify the use of a hashtag for each of those shows. (See how that works? God, this is almost too easy.)

Maybe it’s because, like Mad Men and some other stuff that’s gone off the rails or never really found them, these programs ask viewers to argue their meaning, intent and philosophy, whereas I prefer my TV to transmit either lowbrow animated comedy or edge-of-your-seat suspenseful potboilers. If either one turns out to be academically engaging, great! But I’m sure as hell not going to turn on something that promises to “really make you think.” Ingmar Bergman excluded, I guess.

So what was going on while the rest of you loaded up on stuff to .gif and deconstruct and Tumblr about this week? Well for one thing it was suddenly very cold and windy, and there was no reason to go outside. Plus most people still had to work today, so no one was up to meet anywhere. Really, it was a good night to stay inside with spiked hot cider and your pets and be passively entertained. Oh shit, that reminds me: I forgot to watch Bob’s Burgers.

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Maggie Smith Doesn’t Watch ‘Downton Abbey’

In an upcoming interview with 60 Minutes, Dame Maggie Smith, badass septuagenarian, admits that she doesn’t watch Downton Abbey. Ha, you fools! Maggie comes over to my apartment every Sunday night for the Girls / Englightened block on HBO. She would not shut up about this week’s episode of the former, and how she just couldn’t believe that someone who looked like Patrick Wilson would have sex with someone who looked like Lena Dunham. I kept trying to explain to Maggie why that kind of thinking is pretty offensive, but she fell asleep in her chair so I just let it go. Anyway, take a look at my BFF Maggie Smith being a lovable old British coot.

[via EW]

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Jimmy Fallon Returns With More ‘Downton Sixbey’ This Week

Late Night With Jimmy Fallon’s star-studded Downton Abbey sendup, Downton Sixbey (named for the studio in which he films) has been surprisingly entertaining as of late, with special guest stars Whoopi Goldberg, Brooke Shields, Fred Armisen and Carson Daly, who keeps getting killed off by hot-air balloons, asserting ?uestlove as the heir to Downton Sixbey. Jimmy Fallon dons a rather unconvincing British accent and, as Lord Grantham, makes some unfortunate business decisions, including investing in something called the “Shake Weight” and a restaurant franchise called Thank Heaven’s It’s Friday.

This week, we were treated to two new episodes, chock full of dowager-spoofing bon mots (“heir today, gone tomorrow”) and scenes from the “downstairs” writers’ room, where crude puns about knob-polishing and recycling jokes (“Downton has fallen on hard times”) abound. Oh, and the Thomas and O’Brien avatars are nearly perfect. On Wednesday night, following Cousin ?uestlove announcing which of the lord’s daughters he has chosen to marry. The answer will be unsurprising here, and the wedding episode that ensues is equally amusing, especially for fans of the Edwardian melodrama. Here are both, for your mid-morning viewing. 

‘Sesame Street’ Adorably Parodies ‘Downton Abbey’

We’re not sure when Sesame Street began putting so much care into expertly parodying very adult television shows to teach kids the importance of directions, counting to 30 and more, but it’s pretty entertaining and usually pretty on-point. Today, the team from the ‘Street returned to their PBS roots, in the tradition of Monsterpiece Theater with Alistair Cookie, with a spoof of everyone’s favorite Edwardian melodrama, Downton Abbey.

From the opening title music to the interior shots of the stately manor, as with each of these spoofs, "Upside Downton Abbey" goes for accuracy. The Muppets introducing the concepts of upside-down and right-side-up strongly resemble the butler, Mr. Carson, and the Dowager Countess, and whoever was in charge of that Muppet definitely studied Maggie Smith’s inflection.  All I know is, if they keep this up, we can’t wait for the Sesame Street take on Breaking Bad. It would be a great way to teach kids about measuring and following recipes!

Thomas The Gay Footman Comes Out In ‘Downton Abbey’ Season Three

Thomas Barrow, the footman-turned-valet-turned-underbutler of Downton Abbey, has been the sole gay character for the first two seasons of the series. Thomas pursued makeout seshs with several closeted visiting dignitaries in season one, but has otherwise been relegated to scheming with O’Brien and, oh, World War One. In season three, actor Robert James-Collier tells OUT magazine, he finally lets his gay flag fly. 

Author Aaron Hicklin writes:

I have it on great authority that this is the season in which that villainous gay footman-turned-valet, Thomas Barrow, experiences the tender love that his poor, neglected heart so craves and needs. It’s about time. … In season 3, we get to see Thomas outed in a powerful sequence of episodes that James-Collier considers the best acting of his career.

Thomas is outed, according to Hicklin’s piece, during a confrontation with the head butler Mr. Carson, with whom Thomas has always sought to undermine. But Downton creator Julian Fellowes infuses the moment with "dignity," supposedly, which I think means that Thomas doesn’t get the shit beaten out of him, nor is he tossed out into the Yorkshire countryside on his ass. James-Collier himself explained to the magazine:

It’s the series where we really comes to grips with Thomas’s sexuality and the impact being gay must have had on him, in Edwardian times. If you’re including a gay character, there’s an onus and responsibility to at least show what the impact of the time will be on him, and of him on that time. Thankfully we’ve done that, and I’m so proud that I’ve been used to tell that tale … If you were gay in those times, the fact that you’re even functioning, how you’re not completely fucked up by that, is beyond me.

Does this mean some hot, gay onscreen sex scenes will be in store? (FYI, James-Collier is even more easy on the eyes in real life photo shoots than he is on Downton.) One can only hope … 

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Linkage: Don Johnson’s Moderately Sized Johnson, ‘Fifty Shades’ of Krysten Ritter

It’s news to most of us who were born in the early ’80s and don’t remember much about Don Johnson, but apparently he’s always been rumored to have a large penis. “Johnson,” you see. But now that people are talking about him again (he’s another nearly forgotten actor who owes Quentin Tarantino an Edible Arrangement or, perhaps, an Ace of Cakes creation in the shape of a foot), Johnson has taken the time to debunk the rumor. “Look, I’ve seen guys with a lot bigger [penises] than me.” And now we know! [VH1 Celebrity]

A new season of Cougar Town premieres on TBS next Tuesday, and the cast and crew couldn’t be more thrilled that the network, unlike others (*cough*ABC*cough*) are actually promoting it. But they all still think the name is stupid. Says co-creator Bill Lawrence, “Being filled with self-loathing is a characteristic of 90 percent of comedy writers anyway… It’s an amazing title. I’d do it again.” [Hollywood Reporter]

TV’s baddest B might find the tables turned on the big screen. Apt. 23’s Krysten Ritter tweeted that she’d be “down” to play the role of Anastasia Steele in a movie adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey. Winky-face! [EW]

A&E proves that there’s some sort of liberal media bias. The network has picked up The Governor’s Wife, a 12-episode reality series about former Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards and his wife, Trina, who is 50 years his junior. I’m ashamed to report this dude is a Democrat. [Deadline]

Meanwhile, Joe Biden could easily star in his own television program. [Hypervocal]

BREAKING NEWS: 68-year-old Star Wars enthusiast engaged to really hot lady. [People]

As it turns out, the newspaper featured in Back to the Future and its sequel—the Hill Valley Telegraph—was a pretty shitty publication. [Vulture]

If you’re planning to get bombed on your next transatlantic flight, do your best not to fly Icelandair. Duct tape residue is hard to remove. [Gawker]

I didn’t bother to figure out what the hell “Downton braves its own fiscal cliff” is supposed to mean, but knock yourselves out. [WaPo]

“Let’s never forget: we’re the story, not them,” says Albert Brooks’s character in Broadcast News. With that in mind, here’s what the apartment shared by a couple of New York-based reporters looks like. (What’s that? You’re not a member of the New York media? Well, that’s your problem.) [HuffPo]

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