Much like Daphne Bridgerton’s launch into the cut-throat marriage market of Regency London, the steamy new Netflix series Bridgerton – adapted from the Julia Quinn novels which catalogue the romantic escapades of the children in the prominent Bridgerton family – launched onto the streaming platform on December 25th and has stolen first place as the most viewed series in the region.
From the mash-up of A Knight’s Tale proportions of period and modern in the music, the set, the romance – not to mention the most delicious actor (Regé-Jean Page) to grace the screen since we can’t remember when – Bridgerton ticks all the boxes.
The period drama by Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal masterminds, Shonda Rhimes and Chris Van Dusen, gives a modern twist on a beloved genre and answers the question of what would happen if Gossip Girl had been set in Jane Austen‘s England. Okay, we made that question up. But even so, Bridgerton would happen, that’s what. And just as Serena and Blair could expect no less than a new pair of shoes in every episode for six seasons straight, the showrunners called upon the only person they could to make sure the women of high society London needn’t want for lack of dresses. 7,500 dresses to be exact. Each one bespoke and created within five months.
Ellen Mirojnick, the costume designer behind the memorable wardrobes of The Greatest Showman as well as Maleficent, was brought on with an almost overwhelming and insurmountable task of clothing the enormous cast of Bridgerton. “The interpretation of 1813 needed to be an overview of how can we add modern elements to it,” says Mirojnick. “We’ve made it more luxurious and more sumptuous, and we have introduced a modern color palette, but really tried to stick to the basic foundation of the 1813 silhouette.”
What resulted was an incredible, flawless, and rich period wardrobe that spanned the eight-episode season as it flirted with a very modern aesthetic. Phoebe Dynevor, who plays Daphne Bridgerton, commented on the fashion production, “Our costume department is incredible. It is regency with a twist. Everything is just so bold and it’s beautiful.”
And we would add brave. Mirojnick had a lookbook with images for her designs with research of paintings from the era, high fashion, and then the drawings that married the two which she named “Shonda.”
With such attention to every single detail, from the fabric, colors, silhouettes, to the hand-stitched embellishments and handmade jewelry, it’s no wonder that the costumes were there as a guide for the actors as they stepped quite literally into their character’s shoes.
“We want it to be a period drama like you’ve never seen before,” says Golda Rosheuvel, who portrays Queen Charlotte with a breath of fresh air. “The kind of remit for the queen was she didn’t have any continuity. So every single shot that you see her in, she’s in something different. So that drove a kind of character choice as well about the gaudiness of the society.”
“I’m in a different outfit in every scene basically!” adds Dynevor. “We counted and I have 104 dresses. Which is madness.”
“I don’t know if there is some kind of corsetry acting award, but I would like one for doing a full jig in this. It wasn’t easy,” joked Nicola Coughlan, the perfect Penelope Featherington if there ever was one, commenting on the authentic corsets designed by the famous Mr. Pearl, who has been Hollywood’s go-to guy for everything corsets for the last 30 years.
“It has definitely offered a great challenge. And it has definitely offered a great delight at the same time,” concludes Mirojnick. “The size of the show is mammoth. It was daunting when I first looked at it. But I’m very proud to say that this team is like no other, and it has risen so far above any expectation.”
Indeed it has. We can hardly wait to see what they will wear in Season 2.