Fit for a Countess: New Downton Abbey Wines Inspired by Lady Cora

01/07/2015 at 05:52 PM ET

Downton Wines
Nick Briggs/Carnival Films; Robert M. Bruno Sr.

The return of Downton Abbey means more Crawley family drama, more costumes to drool over and more character-themed wine, of course.

The show’s modern, American-born Cora Crawley (Elizabeth McGovern)— wife of British aristocrat Robert Crawley — is the latest source of inspiration for Downton Abbey Wines new line of vino.

The Countess of Grantham Collection features a Chardonnay and a Cabernet Sauvignon both crafted with California grapes. The pair joins the existing collection of Downtown Abbey Wines — a Bordeaux “Blanc” white wine and a “Claret” red wine.

You can find the wines for $15 a bottle at select grocery stores and wine retailers throughout the U.S.

What’s in store for future vintages? Something that highlights the Dowager Countess’s dry wit, we hope.

—Nancy Mattia

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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