Sunday Riley’s New Skincare Set Is Inspired By ‘Downton Abbey’


This month, the suitcases are ready and the parasols ready to unfold, as Downton Abbey: A New Era heads to theaters on May 18. In this latest installment in the Crawley family saga – the second film to continue the course of the six-season series – there’s a surprise in store from the imperious matriarch, played by Maggie Smith. “I came into possession of a villa in the south of France,” she explains in the trailer, coyly dropping a mention of a lover from long ago. Mysteries abound, but one thing is certain: the usual vistas of the English countryside will be joined by palm trees and the shimmering Mediterranean – a feast for the eyes for parties on both sides of the screen.

In the spirit of that high-end journey, a new collaboration with skincare brand Sunday Riley arrives today: a travel set of the line’s famous formulas. “There is something in the Downtown story that marries British and American cultures,” says Riley, a Texas native who has “hungrily watched” the series. Indulging in a little beauty fanfic, she points the finger at Cora Crawley (Elizabeth McGovern), the American heiress who brings a softened sense of propriety to the family, as someone who is likely to be conscientious with skin maintenance. Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery), on the other hand, has different goals in mind. “Her character is someone who’s going to try to be up front for as long as possible until she turns into her grandmother,” Riley says. “The mother, Cora, would be on self-care. I think Lady Mary would be more like ‘I have to keep looking good’. I’m the face of this family.'”

Lady Edith and her party mates – Bertie Pelham (Harry Hadden-Paton), Lucy Smith (Tuppence Middleton) and Tom Branson (Allen Leech) – slip into summer whites for the South of France.

By Ben Blackall/Focus Features.

The six-piece set is designed to hold just about everything a discerning traveler might need. (Notable exceptions are SPF and a wide-brimmed hat: “I love the South of France,” says Riley, but “it’s so sunny!”) The daily routine begins with Ceramic Slip, a creamy cleanser and foaming that only sounds like a misstep with a blue and white porcelain vase. A mist of Pink Drink follows, delivering firming peptides and fermented extracts to maintain the balance of the skin’s microbiome. The brand’s 15% vitamin C serum, dubbed CEO, lives up to its trade name: It’s “now America’s number one brightening specialist,” says Riley, noting the antioxidant’s power in bleaching hair. sunspots and daily glow. There’s a face oil for hydration and the Auto Correct Eye Cream that Riley calls a “sleeping shot” for its light-reflecting particles.

The end product of the kit is, of course, Sunday Riley’s worldwide bestseller, Good Genes. The lactic acid exfoliation treatment has long been a favorite among makeup artists for the way it creates a freshly smooth canvas for foundation application. In the new Downton Abbey plot, this trick would be useful for the film crew preparing to shoot inside the storied mansion. (The Earl of Grantham, played by Hugh Bonneville, has nothing good to say about the intrusion: “I think it’s a horrible idea. Actresses wearing make-up and actors wearing just make-up. “)

Laura Haddock plays Myrna Dalgleish, a British actress shooting a movie at Downton Abbey.

By Ben Blackall/Focus Features.

But a Hollywood collaboration is a lot of fun for Riley, even if the Downtown association could still perpetuate confusion about the origins of its brand, given its success across the Atlantic. “For a really long time it was funny because I was like, ‘Oh, there’s this Sunday Riley brand. It was started by a British beautician. I’m like, ‘That was it?’ Riley says from his home in Houston. “I’d like to meet her. Somehow I’m doing her job!

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