TALENTED costume designer Caroline McCall has won another prestigious global award for her work on the smash hit series, Downton Abbey.
Having landed an Emmy Award for series one in 2011, the Co Armagh woman has been honoured by her own profession, with the Costume Designers Guild of America presenting her with the Outstanding Period/Fantasy Television Series prize at a gala event in the Beverley Hills Hotel in Hollywood.
This time, the award was for series three of the life and times of the Crawley family, and 35-year-old Caroline was the special guest at the table of Shirley MacLean, who played American relative Martha Levinson in Downton.
In accepting the award, Caroline – with typical modesty – said: “One of the great things about costume design is working with hugely-talented, creative makers and milliners, so thank you to them as well.”
This was a reference to her Emmy Award which she won as assistant designer to Susanna Buxton in the first Downton series, after which she turned down the chance of the second series.
But Caroline was appointed chief designer in series three, and her wonderful designs have taken America by storm – thus they singled her out for their top award.
The Downton producers have persuaded the former Portadown College student to remain for series four, which is currently in pre-production in London and will be screened this autumn.
Caroline was hard at work on the new series yesterday in London, and underlined what she owed to her colleague Susanna Buxton.
“She taught me so much and it was wonderful when we were both called out for Emmys in Los Angeles,” she said. “It was a magical day for both of us, and the producers of Downton were delighted for us.”
A freelance designer, who trained with the Wimbledon School of Art and the BBC, Caroline has a welter of TV and film experience under her belt, including Little Dorrit and Dr Who with the Beeb, as well as blockbuster films like Liam Neeson’s Clash of the Titans 2.
And she worked on the recently-released film Hyde Park on Hudson, which recalled the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to President Franklin D Roosevelt, which resulted in the USA entering the Second World War.
During the making of the various Downton Abbey series, Caroline built a close rapport with the brilliant Dame Maggie Smith, and with Shirley MacLean, who is as famous for her eccentricities as for her formidable acting.
Caroline’s mother Rosemary McCall, who still lives in Portadown, said: “Shirley really took to Caroline and included her on her ‘table guest’ list in Hollywood. They really gel together and I suppose Caroline was a little overawed by the occasions in California.
“She’s modest almost to a fault and we’re all very proud of her. She keeps getting these awards and it’ll do her CV no harm whatsoever.
“I go across regularly to London to see her, and I’m proud that she hasn’t lost her accent or her modesty.
“She loved art and design at school – it was by far her favourite subject. I can’t believe where it has led her.”