At Large  March 20, 2022  Anna Claire Mauney

Bridgerton Lead Designer Talks Season 2 Costumes

Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2022

Bridgerton. (L to R) Adjoa Andoh as Lady Danbury, Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma in episode 201 of Bridgerton.

Although cast and crew remain tight-lipped about most details concerning the nearly-here second season of breakout Netflix-Shonda series Bridgerton, new lead costume designer Sophie Canale was still able to tell Art & Object a bit about what to expect and look for in this new round of garments. Mainly—embellishments, signature character colors, and some Indian-influenced designs for new characters.

As many likely know, season one of Bridgerton received a lot of praise and a lot of criticism for its lack of historical accuracy in all aspects of the show including its costuming. While this is not rare for a period show, the sheer popularity of the series (and its racy content) seemed to propel this debate over the merits of such inaccuracy to new heights.

And yet, such criticism feels hard to levy once one becomes aware of the sheer number of costumes made for this show (about 7,500 pieces in season one) and has been primed for the degree of minute detail we’ll see this season. From in-house fabric creation to personalized button colors for each character, there are already so many details to dig into.

Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2022

Bridgerton. (L to R) Shelley Conn as Mary Sharma, Ruth Gemmell as Lady Violet Bridgerton, Adjoa Andoh as Lady Danbury in episode 207.

"We used a lot of embroidery and embellishments in a different way this season—I think you'll be able to pick that up. [For example] matching reticules, little handbags, with the women's costumes."

Canale sums up her thoughts on the issue of historical accuracy rather brilliantly, “The thing with Bridgerton is that it isn't period correct and it’s never trying to be.” That doesn’t mean her designs are ill-informed. Quite the opposite. In her view, “you start with your historical knowledge and then, if you know the basics, you're allowed to kind of break the boundaries.”

Another ahistorical aspect of the show is diversity and that ties in nicely with the promised addition of Indian-influenced designs—brought in alongside sisters Kate and Edwina Sharma—played by Simone Ashley and Charithra Chandran respectively.

Canale tells us a big piece of designing for these sisters with Indian dress in mind was “deciding how much we were going to push,” and “how much they were going to fit into the Regency English Ton look.”

Cr. Liam Daniel:Netflix © 2022

Bridgerton. (L to R) Adjoa Andoh as Lady Danbury, Charithra Chandran as Edwina Sharma, Shelley Conn as Mary Sharma, Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma in episode 207.

The result is a series of garments that occupy a rather captivating middle ground. Canale describes it well: “You'll see elements of certain cuts from Indian dress that I've taken with sleeves.” And, she adds, there will also be “embellishment and embroidery as well. And trims and fabric choices. There are many Indian silks with patterns that I've chosen and pashminas and, you know—elements that they would have worn but with a contemporary twist.”

The designer adds that it was also deeply important to involve Simone and Charithra in this process. “That was a massive discussion for all of us, to make sure that everyone was happy.”

Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2022

Bridgerton. (L to R) Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton in episode 207.

The Sharma sisters will be interesting to watch—Kate especially. One of the primary romantic leads of this season, it is already clear from trailers that her character favors particular colors and shades. When asked if blue will be a signature for Kate, Canale says, “Definitely. There's a journey between Kate and Anthony [Bridgerton] in their color palettes. That was intentional, that was discussed. We wanted them to go on a journey.”

The journey extends past their romantic entanglement. “A world was set for them in season one and I really wanted to kind of push their characters so you can see a distinction,” both in terms of how each old character has changed between seasons and how they will all change through the course of this new one.

Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2022

Bridgerton. (L to R) Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton in episode 204.

“With the Sharmas, Kate has Indian jewel colors that do develop through the season.” Canale divulges that Kate’s transformation through the season will be additionally marked by changes in fabric weight. “She arrives and I've used kind of heavier silks and taffetas—you know, she's got a bit of a wall up.” She explains that, as Kate grows through the season, we will start to see her in softer fabrics.

Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2022

Bridgerton. (L to R) Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Charithra Chandran as Edwina Sharma in episode 208.

When asked if we will see anything new in Penelope’s wardrobe given her big moment from the end of season one, Canale hints, “There’s a few surprises there.” Although Penelope will continue to wear pinks, yellows, and florals—her garments will still be “quite playful.” 

The designer adds that this will be most evident in the embellishments of her clothing, many of which were made in-house this time.  “We created quite a lot of our own fabrics and embellishments this season. For many reasons, really. It’s something I like to do but also we had challenges with working in a pandemic.”

Cr. Liam Daniel: Netflix © 2022 

Bridgerton. Detail of Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in episode 204.

There seem to be a lot of surprises in store for audiences in season two—perhaps even too many to keep track of. When asked if she had any favorite costumes from the season, Canale divulges that it's hard to pick one and not only because it’s like choosing a child. “There are so many for you to see [and] I can't let any secrets out,” she admits. The issue of secrets emerged several times throughout our chat. 

It came up during our conversation about the Indian cultural influences that will appear in this season. Canale left me with this very intriguing hint, “There are some scenes, that I can't speak about, but which are very heavily Indian influenced and they were really fun to do.” And, she adds, “ they've still got a contemporary Regency twist on them as well.”

That’s the detail this author is looking most forward to seeing unfold.

Bridgerton Season 2 premiers on March 25th at 3 am EDT

About the Author

Anna Claire Mauney

Anna Claire Mauney is the former managing editor for Art & Object. A writer and artist living in North Carolina, she is interested in illustration, the 18th-century, and viceregal South America. She is also the co-host of An Obsessive Nature, a podcast about writing and pop culture.

Subscribe to our free e-letter!

Webform

Latest News

Football Art: Depicting America's Favorite Sport
From honorary sculptures that celebrate athletic valor, to Realist portraits…
Salon Art + Design Announces Exhibitors for 2022 Edition

NEW YORK (August 2022) – Salon Art + Design, the leading collectible design…

Alia Al Farsi: The Woman Behind Oman's Largest Private Art Gallery
Oman, a country neighboring Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen,…