21.3 C
Sunday, May 28, 2023
HomeEntertainment'Bridgerton' prequel takes Queen Charlotte on an 18th century natural hair journey

‘Bridgerton’ prequel takes Queen Charlotte on an 18th century natural hair journey


(This story contains mild spoilers from the first two episodes of Queen Charlotte.)

Five minutes after Shonda Rhimes’ Bridgerton precursor Queen Charlotte, a young Charlotte, played by India Ria Amarteifio, is called “Ridiculous to the Eye” by her brother Adolphus as she barely moves in the back of a carriage. Charlotte, dissatisfied both with her circumstances – being married off to the King of England – and with her attire, gives a terse response that sets the tone for what will come to define her character throughout the series: her feisty spirit and her fashion sense .

“I wear lyonnaise silk inlaid with Indian sapphires that work with an overlay of 200-year-old lace,” replies Charlotte. “Apparently too much movement can cause the sapphires to shred the lace. As if that weren’t enough, the dress sits atop a custom-made whalebone underlay.

“Yes, Baleen, brother,” she adds a little later, as he looks back in surprise, “The bones of whales. Whales died so I could look like this.”

No whales or their bones were used in the actual creation of the gemstone bodice of the plush light blue dress the future Queen wears in the scene, but co-costume designers Laura Frecon and Lyn Paolo went to great lengths to pull off the graceful looks which are worn throughout the Netflix series. That included a purchase order for 175 corsets that, along with all the historical underpinnings, were made especially for the show.

India Amarteifio as young Queen Charlotte.

Liam Daniel/Netflix

“We wanted it to be history and high fashion,” says Frecon van Queen Charlottestyle direction.

Via Zoom, Frecon and Paolo, who both worked on the origin series, demonstrated to Rhimes how they would take the concept, taking inspiration from the 2014 Met Gala theme Charles James: Beyond Fashion, based on the 20th century couturier known for his structured ball gowns.

“We had been working all day Bridgerton and then held mood boards in front of the computer explaining what our plan would be should we be lucky enough to be invited to do the show. Halfway through, Shonda said, “Yeah, I love it. Thank you. Awesome. Let’s do it”, Paolo recalls with a laugh. “That was a great gift from Shonda.”

In the sketches that Paolo and Frecon showed Rhimes, Charlotte’s hair was presented as natural from the start. The contrast to the grandiose wigs that later define the queen pushes the main character’s story forward to come into her own power as ruler.

“We all agreed it was going to be a journey,” says hair and makeup designer Nic Collins. “She doesn’t come in as this big personality with these big wigs. She starts with natural hair. She’s in a foreign country, she’s in an arranged marriage that she doesn’t want to be with. It must have been terrifying for her. Those were the things we thought about.”

For two-thirds of the first episode, Charlotte’s hair is mainly styled in curly updos, including the scene where she tries to jump over the palace wall to avoid marrying the king. She is caught by the young King George who declares “The choice is all hers”, after Adolphus witnesses their exchange and tries to assure George that Charlotte will marry him. The idea of ​​agency warms Charlotte to the king and the idea of ​​being his wife, leading her to continue with the arranged marriage.

(L to R) India Amarteifio as young Queen Charlotte, Corey Mylchreest as young King George in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.

Amarteifio starring Corey Mylchreest as young King George.

Liam Daniel/Netflix

At the wedding ceremony, Charlotte presents a perfectly coiffed head of hair accented by a row of curls framing her face, a detail true to the time period, Collins notes. The jeweled tiara she wears was handcrafted by milliner Jen Lewis and head jeweler Steven Rogers.

“We wanted to showcase the afro and its beauty,” says Collins. “That has been important. It’s her decision, it’s her choice. It’s like she just let her hair down and it’s sitting in its glory.

The ivory duchess satin dress that Charlotte wears is inspired by Queen Elizabeth II. “Laura and I went to Kensington Palace and saw Queen Elizabeth’s wedding dress, which had this amazing iconography of each colony. We thought, wouldn’t it be great if we did this, so we incorporated the Tudor and the Yorkshire Rose into the hem, along with some other very British iconographic pieces,” recalls Paolo. “That embroidery matches the embroidery on George’s wedding suit. So they are attached to each other.”

That bond is immediately threatened when Charlotte is told after the wedding that she must return to a separate residence instead of living with the king. Devastated by this news, she is shown alone, with her knees pressed to her chest in a bed meant for two. Her hair hung loosely over her face.

India Amarteifio as young Queen Charlotte in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.

Amarteifio as young Queen Charlotte.

Liam Daniel/Netflix

“She goes to this strange house that she doesn’t realize she’s going to and there’s a whole bunch of people who don’t look like her, who don’t know her, and she’s just kind of left-handed,” Collins explains. “They probably would have taken care of her, but who knows if they knew how to handle her hair the first night? That’s something they probably learned with her.

That’s exactly what happens when Charlotte once again embraces the power she has, even in circumstances that are somewhat out of her control. “In episode two, there’s a sequence of maids handling her hair, putting it up, packing it for bed, putting the pill papers in, and it just plays out so nicely in the bigger story,” adds Collins.

Natural hair can be challenging on set, especially when it comes to lighting, which causes hairstyles to lose their shape and texture on camera, notes Collins, who added golden brown tones to the natural wigs made for Amarteifio to ensure that the curls would pluck at light. The actress had a base of three natural wigs made to protect her own hair from the damage of daily styling while shooting. “We said we will do whatever it takes to do it,” Collins recalls, emphasizing the need to portray natural hair textures in the series.

“It’s something you don’t see. I’ve never seen it in a period drama before. And that’s what it was all about, making images that you get to see now,” she says. “These people exist and they inspire other people. That’s the beauty of the whole Bridgerverse.”

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

Latest stories