• Fashion

“Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story” – Jewels, Silks and Wigs

India Amarteifio, Corey Mylchreest

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story – a prequel to the wildfire success of Netflix’s Bridgerton S1 & 2, allows new energy to enter the Bridgerton Universe, tweaking romance and obstacles in an unpredictable manner, and pumping fresh blood into the royal saga. What remains the same: excellent attention to costume design.


Lyn Elizabeth Paolo and Laura Frecon are responsible for the fantastic fashion of Queen Charlotte, which honors tradition but also incorporates modern designs like bespoke slippers by Roger Vivier and jewels by Larkspur & Hawk. There is also a homage to Shonda Rhimes’ popular series, Scandal. A cloak now worn by Queen Charlotte echoes that worn by Kerry Washington‘s Olivia Pope. Paolo was the costume designer on the latter show.


In the lower right cover photo: the crown, worn by actress India Amarteifio, was created by hand by jewelry maker Stephen Rogers and milliner Jennifer Lewis, and informed by a tiara en tremblant – from the final look in Elie Saab’s 2019 Fall Couture Collection.


There is no end to the extravagance and detail in creating the mouth-watering splendor of King George’s England. For instance, (below) 40 real sapphires were sewn into this costume – a quip noted in episode one of Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.

India Amarteifio

As the series flips between established characters as we’ve come to know them in the original Bridgerton chapters, and their earlier selves in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, we sense the shifting styles of the eras, the maturation of character traits, and hidden secrets that inform the story.


We also see a through-line of character in clothing. Those who understand the history of fashion will remark on the choice for Charlotte and all in her entourage to maintain the shape of the Regency style, across all of the three Bridgerton chapters – this prequel and the subsequent two Bridgeton chapters. The sleeker Regency shape is a deliberate continuation in the latter chapters. This was the silhouette established when King George first connects with Queen Charlotte, a memory she hopes to prompt in her husband as time goes on.

Sam Clemmett, India Amarteifio

The story arc combines fact and fiction. Queen Charlotte is committed to marrying the future King of England, never having met him and resistant to the idea of being chattel. They meet and spark. Obstacles galore ensue.


The sets are lush. The characters, perfectly cast. The costumes make one marvel that anyone could don the rich fabrics, jewels, and wigs for more than five minutes without wanting to rip them off due to sheer weight and discomfort.


There’s a reason for the incredible posture of that time. It has to do with undergarments (Below Left) and balancing humungous wigs while going through one’s day.

IndiaIndia Amarteifio

Hair: we love this look (above) and would like to see it incorporated into street fashion. Current fashionistas will recognize the effect of papillote. ‘Papers’ folded into triangles and used as a wrap, the entire held in place by a scarf. This technique is used today, obviously with material wraps. The effect is adorable and totally worthy of walking into public with the wraps in place.

Giorgio Galliero, Golda Rosheuvel, Nic Collins

Anyone who has worn any kind of headdress, and we are not talking hats, will know the strain to move without succumbing to the weight of the headdress overcoming the neck muscles and tipping the structure.


A way to circumvent the weight is to build wire cages inside the wigs, as was done during the 18th century. It could take up to 8 hours to create a wig of multiple curls in that era.


Notice that, when Charlotte arrives in England, her hair is simply arranged. As her power grows, so does the size of her wigs.


The keen observer will notice the ‘carry-through’ of style between the young queen and the Queen Charlotte we have come to know and love. This is particularly clear in the wig color both characters don – in varying shades of gray, interestingly enough, considering how women are ostracized for having gray hair in our current century. More to the point, both younger and older Charlotte decorate their hair with bows and jewels.


Fans of fashion will see that today’s red carpet looks are moving towards this trend in bejeweled and sparkling hair. Pay special attention to our current royalty, that is, actresses. Although both Princess Catherine and Princess Charlotte wore head jewels at the Coronation of King Charles III this past weekend. 

Golda Rosheuvelwigs

Most wigs take about 45 minutes to apply.


Below: Please notice the orchids in the wig. The wig itself is in the shape of a Christmas tree. The flowers are the emblem of fertility. Those who have binge-watched the show will understand their significance.

Golda Rosheuvel

Corey MylchreestCorey Mylchreest

The Georgian period is known for its minimalism – as compared to other eras. This is born out by museum pieces and portraits of the king.


King George was sometimes referred to as ‘Farmer George’, for his love of working in the fields. There are plenty of rousing shots of Corey Mylchreest to keep the romantic fans happy.


However, costume designers Lyn Elizabeth Paolo and Laura Frecon also used current heartthrob Timothée Chalamet, and musicians Prince and Mick Jagger, as sources of inspiration.


Viewers will note that, on occasion, both King George’s and Queen Charlotte’s costumes are adorned with stars – a nod to the King’s interest in astronomy.

Arsema Thomas

Arsema Thomas, as the young Lady Danbury, reflects the grace and great wealth of her royal bloodline as a member of the Gbo Mende tribe in Sierra Leone. Early on we see her dressed in a golden palette. Once alone, she reverts to the colors we have come to associate with her in the latter Bridgerton chapters, namely her penchant for lilacs and purple hues.

Ruth Gemmell, Adjoa AndohMichelle Fairley/Princess Augusta

Princess Augusta’s costumes are the most historically accurate. Note the wider skirts. Interestingly, the details in Michelle Fairley’s costumes are also informed by those worn by Glenn Close’s Marquise de Merteuil, from Dangerous Liaisons (1988).

India Amarteifio