Every single piece of costuming in Netflix’s Bridgerton is a showstopper. The colors, the shapes, and the fabrics throughout the first season of the streaming sensation are all top-notch thanks to costume designers Ellen Mirojnick and John Glaser. The pair didn’t want to be restrained by the time period or traditional silhouettes and they have created a set of costumes exquisite enough to hang in a museum
The size of Bridgerton didn’t intimidated Mirojnick and Glaser–far from it. They knew that it was going to be a large show but they meticulously planned for all the major parties and gatherings and then went from there.
“It was always going to be a large show,” Mirojnick began. “It was never going to be a typical pilot and then a series. In the beginning, we did plan on how many balls we were planning for. From the onset, we knew it would be the largest project we’ve taken on, but it was fun. It was never intimidating. It was not a question of what was available in rental houses around the world. The idea of Bridgerton and the story had its own definition and that was not ruled by 1813 London. It was more of how were we going to create our own costume house”
“We basically built a department store–The House of Bridgerton,” Glaser added. “Everything was new and current and fashionable.”
The pair likes that the details weren’t one hundred percent faithful to the Regency era. “”It was an impression of the period. You aren’t sure of what the period is and that is what we did,” Glaser said.
Mirojnick explained that they weren’t trying to create something from a dusty, old lesson plan. Instead the duo were excited to pull references from a specific painter to emulate a specific, layered look of the fabrics. With every character, the result is a sumptuous feast.
“We learned what was real. What is the infinite actuality of 1813 and the Regency period. It’s only understanding that that we know where to leap from. It’s also understanding that working for Shondaland is that we want to achieve a look that is aspirational, sexy, and glamorous. We are not creating a history lesson. That’s the umbrella. We understand what the aesthetic principles are for the most part and what they stand for. There is a painter that took our attention named Genieve Figgis and she painted in a way where she blurred the figurative lines and it created an illusion. “We looked at many different periods and found correlations of shapes, colors, textures, integration of colors and saw how we could combine them. What we did do was decide to layer fabrics. We didn’t only use period fabrics and we use an array of colors that we could layer translucencies to create another blur of color that had that feeling of a beautiful or sexy illusion.”
My personal favorite character was Polly Walker’s Lady Featherington because of how much she depended on her own appearance. She wears a lot of green and she shows off her body with a plunging, angular neckline and tight bodice.
“When we first met her, her body didn’t fit the Regency period and we could travel away from that” Glaser explained. “Ellen said we needed something different. We thought of the glamorous women of the 1950s. We modeled her after Elizabeth Taylor. Once Mr. Pearl gave her a body, we knew what to do. The Featherington House we considered them acid fruits and the Bridgerton were French macarons. The Bridgertons are old money and restrained and the Featheringtons showed off their money. Shonda didn’t want any bonnets because it could look old and very period. We ignored that completely and made head decorations in a shape instead of hats.”
Mirojnick added that they liked some wild, non-traditional fabrics that would easily go with Lady Featherington’s style. “We found this fabric and we only thought of Liz Taylor. Polly Walker was the perfect match–it was like when you hit something and everyone responds. We were all going in the same direction. We had looked at colors on Polly to create her and then we found some different fabrics that had this gildedness to it. The patterns were wild and the fabric itself was so thin. It just formed that shape so perfectly that we wouldn’t help but use the gilded edges throughout her wardrobe to make her signature shape.”
Nobody else on Bridgerton looks like Lady Danbury. In one scene she will top her dress with a shapely hat or her dress will have a dramatic collar. You can almost never count on knowing what she will wear to a party scene, and that confidence made her one of the most exciting characters for Mirojnick and Glaser to costume for.
“Adjoa [Andoh] understands how to interpret a character with clothes,” Mirojnick stated. “She was the one woman who would be totally independent and there was a very finite mix of masculinity and femininity. Femininity always, but masculinity as the overlay. Her hat would be strong and her color treatment would be strong when necessary. No one would have the same. If you think of the dresses she wore, there are strong shapes, a passionate color range, and masculine accessories. Whether it be the hat or the shape of the sleeves.”
On the other side of the coin, Eloise Bridgerton is a young woman who uses her clothes to conceal herself. She isn’t infatuated with marriage season like her sisters or her mother, and her clothes reflect that other things are on her mind. Glaser pointed out a detail that I never saw when I watched the series. “If you notice when she went to her first ball, she had a shawl that she always wore incorrectly. She didn’t want to be a part of that look.”
The garments in Bridgerton are as inviting and thrilling as the balls and parties the characters attend. The color choices almost bloom in front of you or they make you hungry for a decadent snack. Mirojnick and Glaser should be commended for how jaw-dropping every color choice, cut and shape is. Forget the marriage proposals–I’m there for the clothes.