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From bonnet-free costumes to a modern score: Why Bridgerton isn’t like period dramas you’ve seen before

Bridgerton is the highly-anticipated period drama making its way to Netflix and viewers are in for a visual treat.

Based on American author Julia Quinn’s bestselling novels and developed by the production company of Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes, the series imagines the Regency era like never before.

Set in 1813, the show transports us to London’s social season as young aristocratic women make their best attempts to find a suitable marriage match.

Events are made all the more fun when the juicy gossip of the day is reported on by the mysterious Lady Whistledown in her scandalous society papers.

The show immediately stands out from other famous films and shows based in the 1800s thanks to diverse casting, vibrant costumes and a very modern approach to the sets and music.

Series creator Chris Van Dusen explained why viewers will enjoy the fresh take on the Regency era as he stated: ‘I think viewers are going to get everything they love about a period show and more.

The Shondaland series puts a new spin on the Regency era (Picture: LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX)

‘It’s this beautiful, lavish, lush, escapist world that you’re transported to. The viewers really get to forget about problems and just immerse themselves into this beautiful world.’

Production designer Will Hughes-Jones added: ‘At the end of the day, we’re not a historical show. We do make a nod to history but first and foremost, we’re storytellers.

‘We would always try and be as historically accurate as we can but if it doesn’t work for the storyline, then we reassess. As much as possible, we keep true to true to history… but quite often, history is a bit boring.’

Costume designer Ellen Mirojnik fashion went to town with the fashion (Picture: NICK BRIGGS/NETFLIX)

He added: ‘We are creating something vibrant which is accessible to our audience. So that’s the primary goal that we’re always pushing for with the sets and decor. Sometimes history does get in the way.’

Another way the show switches things up is by having the score feature classical string arrangements of contemporary hits such as In My Blood by Shawn Mendes and Thank U, Next by Ariana Grande.

Chris opened up about the choice to include recent hits as he explained: ‘The music for us that was definitely an evolution while making the show. It makes it feel fresh and different from period shows.

Bonnets have been replaced with extravagant feathers and lots of embellishments (Picture: LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX)

‘Whether it’s music or the world of the show, the scripts, the sets, costumes, everything, it’s all comes back to infusing things through our own unique, modern lens and making things feel relatable to whoever’s watching. I think the show really thrives in that space of being relatable to who’s watching it today.’

The show continues the tradition colour-blind casting Shondaland productions are known for, and sees actors such as Regé-Jean Page (Simon Basset), Golda Rosheuval (Queen Charlotte) and Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh) in roles typically only available for white actors.

Indeed, the choice to cast Guyana-born Golda Rosheuval as Queen Charlotte is quite fitting seeing as there’s she was the first biracial queen.

Showrunner Chris Van Dusen wanted to provide ‘pure escapism’ for viewers (Picture: LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX)

Elsewhere, the character Will (Simon Basset’s best friend) is a boxer inspired by the real-life 19th century Black boxing entrepreneur Bill Richmond.

Meanwhile, costume designer Ellen Mirojnik fashion went to town with the fashion in the programme opting for a deliberate dismissal of bonnets.

The award-winning designer explained: ‘There was great enthusiasm for creating something new, not the usual Jane Austen and pale cream bonnets. We said no bonnets, we’ll make a different kind of shape on it.

The period drama makes a commentary on modern-day issues surrounding class, race, and gender (Picture: LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX)

‘We used the styles and silhouette of the time but then added to it so we were able to shift the shape and brighten the palette.’

She continued: ‘This was the largest and most fabulous show I’ve ever done in my entire career. I did my research for colours and designs inspired by high fashion at the time.

‘But this is a Shondaland production so we wanted things fresh and young and aspirational. As we were set in 1813, we needed to recreate it in a fresh way without just making modern clothes. One thing we did was using a lot of embellishments, we had a whole embellishment team.’

Ellen – who previously worked on Maleficent: Mistress of Evil and The Greatest Showman- revealed: ‘There were close to 7500 costumes made for the first season, we created our own costume house with 238 people working for us. Every single piece of menswear was made tailored for us, every single costume is bespoke on to the character.

‘I think that I think all together we had five months to make 7500 costumes. So that in itself is a mammoth undertaking but it was the most thrilling undertaking that I could have ever been given the opportunity to accomplish.’

Bridgerton is available to stream on Netflix from Christmas Day, December 25.


Credit: Original article published here.

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