If there is one thing the new Shondaland Netflix show Bridgerton is absolutely not, it’s “minimal.” Adapted from Julia Quinn‘s bestselling romance book series of the same name, Bridgerton is the first show to spring from Shonda Rhimes‘ Shondaland deal with Netflix, transporting viewers to a splashier, sexier, more maximalist vision of Regency Era London where the social season — a time filled with balls, dinner parties, and outdoor events — is just kicking off. At the center of the story is Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor), the eldest daughter of the Bridgerton brood who is entering society in hopes of finding a husband. Along the way, there will be sultry encounters with a duke (Regé-Jean Page), a few scandals, some vain matchmaking efforts from the Queen of England (Golda Rosheuvel), and rumors shared by an unknown gossip hound known only as “Lady Whistledown” (voiced by Julie Andrews).
Bringing the Shondaland version of the early 1800s to life was no mean feat, especially when it comes to the intricate and ornate clothing of the era. Making all of the costumes which, for their part, establish the look and mood of Bridgerton, was a massive task required that required the expertise of costume designer Ellen Mirojnick (The Greatest Showman).
Collider had the opportunity to participate in a Bridgerton behind-the-scenes press conference in the months leading up to the show’s December 24 premiere. The press conference included Mirojnick, set designer Will Hughes-Jones, and episode director Tom Verica. While the entirety of the conference was interesting to listen to, it was Mirojnick’s comments on how the process of creating the costumes for Bridgerton that both stood out and demand to be shared here.
During Mirojnick’s portion of the conference, she remarked that Bridgerton is “the largest show I’ve ever done in my entire career and the most fabulous show I’ve ever done in my entire career.” She went on to explain the thought process behind the creation of all the costumes seen in Bridgerton, sharing with conference participants,
“Where we begin is we begin in a palette and what can be a fresh palette? When I do my research, I turn every single page, every single image I can find, every single periodical, any image on the internet, I go deep-diving for inspiration and colors. From the palette, we get to the actual research and with this research, what was important was to look at what was real, what was high fashion, and then what would Shonda [Rhimes] do. I’ve had the great fortune of being part of the Shondaland family previously and there is an aesthetic that is a very clear aesthetic that we look for and that is fresh and young and aspirational. The aspirational aspect of it is, ‘Would a modern girl wear it today?’ when it comes to clothing.”
As Mirojnick explained her approach to the costuming, slides featuring palette mood boards were shown which helped give visual context to the vision of Bridgerton‘s costumes. An assortment of photos showed Mirojnick and her team drawing from a variety of time periods, including Regency but also a more modern era — both of which ended up being well represented in Bridgerton. Sketches shown during the conference also helped participants visualize how Mirojnick used color and even the cut of certain clothing to help distinguish the more genteel Bridgertons from the bombastic, superficial Featheringtons, the two families at the heart of the show.
Mirojnick also explained how embellishments were the preferred tool in livening up costumes and helping to create different looks that could have a foundational layer with new elements worn over them: “We had a whole embellishment team. And with that whole embellishment team, they created — whether it was flowers, whether it was jet or stoned motifs, whether it was bows, whether it was combinations of things — so that we can layer it upon each and every garment that came through the workroom.”
But the most astonishing reveal from Mirojnick’s portion of the Bridgerton conference was, without a doubt, her comments on the sheer amount of costumes made for the Netflix show. According to Mirojnick,
“We made… I will tell you, the amount is going to sound staggering, but there are close to 7,500 costumes in the first season of ‘Bridgerton.’ Myself and my team are very proud of everything we’ve done. We never thought we could make it but we did and had great, great enthusiasm for creating something new. The first way in which you create something new is to shift the palette. We’re not talking about 1813 and Jane Austen and beige, cream bonnets. We said, ‘No bonnets. We’ll make a different kind of shape [for the] bonnet.’ We used the empire silhouette and added layers and layers. The more layers that we added, we were able to shift the palette.”
You wanna know the real kicker to all of this? At the end of Mirojnick’s portion of the Bridgerton behind-the-scenes junket, she was asked how long it took for her and her team to create this staggering amount of bespoke costumes for the first Shondaland Netflix show. Mirojnick revealed that “from beginning to end, it took five months.” Simply incredible.
Bridgerton Season 1 is now available to stream on Netflix. For more, check out which new Netflix shows we love (and recommend you watch ASAP) right now.
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