King George. Farmer George. Just George. Have you ever been so moved by a show that you find it difficult to write about it? That is what writing about Netflix’s Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story feels like.
Starring India Amarteifio as a young Queen Charlotte and Corey Mylchreest as a young King George III, the series has become the centre of conversations across various media platforms, thanks to its bittersweet storyline, phenomenal performances, and devastatingly beautiful dialogues. There hasn’t been a romantic drama such as this one for many, many years.
The series itself weaves together multiple captivating storylines, delving into the complex marriage of King George and Queen Charlotte, the pressure to produce an heir, the convergence of different social strata, the King’s battle with mental illness, and the Queen’s unwavering love for her beloved. Amidst the Shonda Rhimes magic that once again delivers a resounding success for Netflix, it is the exceptional work of costume designers Lyn Elizabeth Paolo, Laura Frecon, and their team that deserves special recognition. Even after nearly a month since its release, netizens continue to discover hidden gems in the series, particularly in the remarkable costumes adorned by Golda Rosheuvel and India Amarteifio. Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story is a very special show and we honestly couldn’t recommend it enough.
In an exclusive interview with Lifestyle Asia, Laura Frecon shares her journey on Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story and delves into the captivating impact the show has had on our collective consciousness.
The colours of the outfits worn by each character seem to reflect their personalities and journeys. Can you please explain the thought process behind this and how it helps to progress the story?
We wanted our Young Charlotte to have a fresh, modern feel so we used lightweight taffetas and organzas in pastel colour tones to start, but as the season evolves, you will see that her colours get much bolder and stronger through to the end. When Young Charlotte confronts Augusta, we put her in a deep purple to show her anger, but also to show her power. Agatha starts out in gold tones because that was Lord Danbury’s favourite colour. After his passing, you see Agatha start to embrace her favourite colours by wearing magenta and purples which evolve into the elder Lady Danbury’s colours as well. For the older Queen Charlotte, the season starts off very dark as she is in mourning, then we get into the reds and gold but by the end of the story, as she is laying under the bed with her husband, we consciously put her in a very soft teal and pink to evoke the colours of the younger queen in the earlier episodes.
Golda’s outfits are noticeably different from those of the other ladies in her scenes. What was the inspiration and meaning behind her unique style, and how did it contribute to her character development?
Golda’s silhouette in both our story as well as the Bridgerton series is that of the Georgian style vs. the Regency style that the other ladies wear. This was a conscious choice. We all wanted to show that as George’s illness unfolds and Charlotte realizes that she has to carry the weight of the crown, this style became the Queen’s armour and her power.
How did you collaborate with the rest of the production team to ensure that the costumes aligned with the overall vision for the show? Can you walk us through the process of bringing a character’s wardrobe to life, from conception to execution?
I could talk for days about the amazing collaboration for this show! We were so lucky to work with Nic Collins and Giorgio Galliero for the hair and makeup. For every single costume that we built for the show, they created the most incredible wigs and makeup to complement it. Lyn and I would show them fitting photos daily and the four of us would get together to do the hair pieces, jewellery etc. so that it was a complete look. David Ingram, our production designer would show us his designs and we would meet for every episode to make sure that all of the colours were aligned. Our director, Tom Verica and DP, Jeff Jur were incredible partners. Jeff would light the costumes perfectly every time. Tom was the best leader and we could not have done it without him. And of course, Shonda Rhimes wrote the most beautiful love story imaginable. It was all on the page and we simply followed her words. Shonda is a genius and to work with her is like nothing else.
It all starts with the words. For example, Young Charlotte’s travelling costume in episode one was 100 per cent taken from what Shonda wrote. We did loads of research, read books, went to museums and archives and then we put a fashion-forward twist on the designs. We swatched countless fabrics from New York, Spain, France, Italy, and Los Angeles and had makers making clothes, shoes and jewellery from around the world. We even had our silks woven in the UK from silk mills that were hundreds of years old. To give you an idea of what it takes to make a show like this, the UK Costume Team alone was over 200 people strong. That does not count for all of the outworkers in the UK and around the world and their teams who also worked tirelessly to bring our designs to life.
There is such detail in Queen Charlotte which ties into the whole Bridgerton story. For instance, there’s a part in Bridgerton Season 2 where Golda talks about how she prefers emeralds and then we see her wear emeralds during the scene where she and King George are hiding from the Heavens under the bed. Firstly, thank you for such detail because it made it so much more emotional for all of us. But also, do tell me your favourite scene to design for in the whole Queen Charlotte series.
Ahhh, thank you so much! It is an honour when viewers spot the little “Easter eggs”. Lyn and I wanted to honour Ellen Mirojnick’s vision from Bridgerton 1, but also to showcase that Queen Charlotte is its own stand-alone series. It is an origin story, so we needed to be able to show the arc of where the characters start to where they begin in the Bridgerton series.
I think that my favourite scene is in episode 6, where George and Charlotte throw the Stars and Moons ball. If you watch very closely, almost every single cast member as well as the background, statues and musicians pay homage to George’s love of astronomy. There are astrological symbols everywhere, stars, moons, etc. Take a closer look next time you watch it and you will see.
Finally, Queen Charlotte is an extremely special show. You can make that out by the immense love it has received. What has been your favourite feedback so far?
Honestly, I am just so overwhelmed and happy that the viewers are enjoying it. This was a very special show to make and I am thrilled that people love it as much as I do.