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From Corsets to Jewels: A Closer Look at the Costume Design for Queen Charlotte

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Irvine chapter.

Bridgerton spin-off Queen Charlotte hit Netflix on May 4th, and the costume design is the talk of the ton.

Since the show is a fictionalized account of the actual Queen Charlotte and King George III, Bridgerton experiments with the clothing and hair, while still maintaining the regency influence. 

In the first episode, Charlotte is unwillingly brought to England to marry the next in line to be king, George III. In Charlotte’s first encounter with George’s mother, Princess Augusta, she  insists that Charlotte wear a “traditional English gown” and not the one she brought from home because it does not have “all of the fuss and frills.” Wearing the traditional gown is an attempt to assimilate Charlotte into another family and country, and after some reluctance, she agrees to wear the simple off-white dress. The gown is gorgeous, but it is painfully plain for the wedding of a soon-to-be queen. 

When Charlotte agrees to marry George, after some initial hesitation, she has a wardrobe change and enters the cathedral in a wedding dress more befitting of a queen. Her new gown, which is paired with a matching cape, is regal with blue and tan flower detailing. Her hair is stylized as an afro and adorned with jewels to resemble a tiara. 

The two titular female characters this season are both the young and older versions of Queen Charlotte and Lady Danbury, each with different styles and color schemes. While the former opts for pastels and shades of blue and pink, Lady Danbury on the other hand, wears a myriad of different colors that are much brighter. At one point, she wears strictly black to “mourn” the death of her husband, Lord Danbury.

Queen Charlotte’s admiration and devotion to George is mirrored in her gowns. George is heavily tied to astronomy and the stars, and during the last ball of the season, Queen Charlotte wears a gown embroidered with diamonds in the shape of stars and crescent moons. Additionally, during the coronation scene, lovebirds Charlotte and George have their initials embedded into the fabric of their regalia.

To bring these beautiful creations to life, costume designers Lyn Elizabeth Paolo and Laura Frecon were meticulous with their research and inspiration. They traveled throughout Europe to draw inspiration from period pieces housed in museums. They also visited multiple silk mills and fabric stores from some of the UK’s most prolific sources, such as Joel & Son, who work with the current royal family.

The pretty gowns and jewelry aside, the undergarments and corsets took tremendous effort to make. Every background character had to have a Regency silhouette, so numerous corsets were made in Los Angeles before being shipped to London.

“We ended up making most of the corsets for the background and the tutus and the bum rolls in Torrance, of all places, and had everything shipped over because of the amount of volume that we needed to make — there was no way we were going to get it done in England,” Paolo explains in an interview with Netflix.

Love stories aside, the pretty dresses, the elaborate wigs, and the bedazzling jewelry is arguably one of Bridgerton’s biggest appeals, and the stellar costume design in Queen Charlotte is no exception.

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Kamilla Jafarova

UC Irvine '24

Kamilla is a Criminology, Law and Society major with a minor in Global Sustainability at UCI. Her hobbies include watching animated films, trying new coffee shops, and exploring new places. She dearly loves cats, fashion in film, and art museums.