Since “Maria Antonieta” was filmed in 2006, under the baton of Sophia Coppola, probably no major effort or budget had been invested in costumes in a television or film production until the filming of “The Bridgertons”, a Netflix series that premiered yesterday. If on that occasion, “Marie Antoinette” won an Oscar for Best Costume by the fabulous Milena Canonero, the series released yesterday lacks a certain finesse for the characters -and their wigs- to be credible.
Shonda Rhimes is the producer of the series. At 50 years old and born in Los Angeles, she has become the most successful screenwriters of the moment. The first work from his own production company, Shondaland, is the “The Bridgertons” series. For Netflix, it is a success that Shonda Rhimes has joined its ranks and has stopped working with Disney +, its competition with the most potential.
Some of us who have seen the first episode have found it plagued with unbelievable characters, who act in an undefined tone, between humor, romantic movies, cartoons and easy series for teenagers. If they wanted to approach the works of Jane Austen taken to the cinema, they have stayed halfway and the gigantic effort in costumes remains lackluster.
“The Bridgertons” is an adaptation of the novels by Julia Quinn, which takes place around 1810 in England, where a family and their children make a brutal social and wardrobe display. The main character, Daphne Bridgerton, played by Phoebe Dynevor, begins a complicated relationship with the duke played by the actor Regé-Jean Page. Daphne, eldest daughter of the powerful Bridgerton family, is to be presented in society at an event organized by the Queen of England (Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, consort of George III and represented in an excessively theatrical way by Golda Rosheuvel). The queen, who was supposed to be the first mulatto queen in the United Kingdom, has been the reason why Shonda Rhimes, of African American origin, chose this project. In the series, colored characters proliferate among the court, the guests or the protagonists.
Perhaps the best thing about “The Bridgertons” is their impressive wardrobe, full of feather headdresses, cancan dresses, jeweled shoes, velvet capes and uniforms. The dresses devised for “Queen Charlotte” are first-rate, impeccably crafted and with a great sense of aesthetics. The five months of work for a wardrobe team of 240 people are noticeable, and almost 8,000 pieces were made between dresses and accessories, based on the initial ideas of the writer Julia Quinn, but influenced – excessively – by current fashion.
As much as the magnificent costume director Ellen Mirojnick has been the one who has led the way, she has not managed to capture the Regency style of the time with realism. It has been betrayed with much more current details and fabrics, inspired by the fashion of the mid-20th century. Saving Queen Charlotte and Daphne Bridgerton, the other actresses seem to wear clothes fresh from a workshop or shop, with which the purpose of transporting us to England 200 years ago has not been achieved. Wigs are also not very credible. To obtain a good patina, clothes often have to be “moth-eaten”, the fabrics washed before each piece is built, and lightly worn.
And it is that no matter how much Ellen Mirojnick Be an excellent professional, you are used to creating costumes for movies that require less work and budget. She, who made the costumes for “Wall Street”, “Fatal Attraction” or “Basic Instinct”, has failed, in my point of view, to give authenticity to the costumes of “The Bridgertons”, so the characters sometimes they are noticed in disguise. Shonda Rhimes should have known that the worst thing about a period series is the tremendous investment in costumes that must be made, as vintage sets can be found in movie studios or in the many palaces for rent.
Mirojnick has had to deal with organzas, tulles and velvets and has not come up with anything else than to bring them freshness and modernity, achieving a result that is at least confusing. Another rooster would have crowed if they had hired Milena Canonero, with four Oscars and nine nominations for Best Costume in Hollywood. Perhaps the production company thought that Canonero, Italian and number one in the industry, was going to send a lot and preferred an American more than “hanging around the house.”