Costume designer supreme Caroline McCall has done it again. She has – for the second year in succession – won an American Costume Designers Guild Award for her magnificent work on the TV series Downton Abbey.
The young Portadown woman adds the trophies to the Emmy Award she lifted three years ago, as assistant designer on the global smash-hit show. She worked on Series One with the chief designer Susanna Buxton, who also won an Emmy, the ‘Oscar’ of the TV world.
Both women stepped down from Downton’s Series Two, after which Caroline was appointed chief designer for Series Three and Four. And in her acceptance speech at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, she heaped praise on her team.
“It is such an honour to be nominated among your peers,” she said, as she received the award from US actor and comedian Ike Barinholtz. I wouldn’t be here without my team. We’re only as good as the people we’re lucky enough to work with. Of course, I have to thank our wonderful cast, who are an absolute pleasure to dress.”
But with Downton Five already confirmed, Caroline is moving on.
The emphasis on the show is, of course, on period costumes. She is currently working on a BBC series, yet to be announced, but which concentrates on the contemporary scene, and will present a new challenge to the brilliant ex-Portadown College student.
Caroline’s pre-Downton CV included TV’s Doctor Who and the delightful Little Dorrit, and in between Series One and Three of Downton she plumped for designing the costumes for the crowd scenes in the Liam Neeson blockbuster film Clash of the Titans 2 and on Hyde Park on Hudson, based on the occasion when the King and Queen met President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The American Guild does things with real panache, and Caroline was in excellent company, as designers on epic Hollywood films were awarded for their work on the likes of 12 Years a Slave (which harvested several Oscars).
As ever, Caroline is remaining modest and quietly professional about her awards. But with her mammoth achievements, the world remains her oyster
She invariably pays tribute to her art teachers at Portadown College, Mrs Stella McCann and Mrs Rita McKeivor, after which she progressed to Art College in Belfast, and from there to Wimbledon School of Art followed by training at the BBC.