A new season of Bridgerton is upon us. Season two of the sumptuous drama, premiering on Netflix on Friday, March 25, brings with it characters new and returning, more ornate costumes and themed balls, and new settings, all of which add to the intrigue and romance of this season’s story.
Last season, we watched love bloom between Daphne and the Duke; season two will shift focus to Anthony Bridgerton and his quest for lust and love. Anthony will meet his match in the form of Kate Sharma, a headstrong, independent woman whose family has newly arrived in London. Of course, plenty of familiar faces will be back for season two as well: Penelope Featherington, still running her guise as Lady Whistledown; Eloise Bridgerton, who makes her debut on the scene, much to her chagrin; Bridgerton brothers Colin and Benedict, who will surely find themselves in some sort of drama; and our trio of women whose machinations really run the ton: Lady Danbury, Lady Bridgerton, and Queen Charlotte.
“We have new characters, new worlds to create, and more glamorous situations for which to invent backdrops,” production designer Will Hughes-Jones says. “From new houses to new ballrooms with new themes, racetracks, grand parties, weddings, and markets, as well as the other side of London, the working-class areas and the expansive parks, we’ve kept with our themes we took on while also expanding them further.”
While the Regency style stays strong in season two, there are, of course, some expected evolutions from season one to season two in terms of the overall aesthetic. “The way to look at a new season in Bridgerton is the way that the ton itself would look at a new season,” says hair and makeup designer Erika Ökvist, who wanted to ensure that the looks are current to the high fashion of the Regency period. “Last season will always be last season, and a new season is just another opportunity to shine as bright as they can, to impress as many as they can. So, of course they would change and develop between seasons. I’m not sure if it is an evolution so much as it is the hunger for the latest fashion and hairstyles that are out there in 1814. Just like when we get to see the new season’s couture in the Paris Fashion Week in 2022 and try to adapt our personal style with what is new and hot and out there. That’s how Bridgerton has been designed. What would the characters do with a new season in sight?”
As we set our sights on a new season of Bridgerton, we gathered the creatives responsible for taking season two to new heights. Here, Hughes-Jones, Ökvist, and costume designer Sophie Canale break down everything from the looks to the locales to the Queen herself in order to give viewers a taste of what they can anticipate in season two.
As those who have glimpsed the trailer know, season two introduces viewers to several new characters. These include sisters Kate and Edwina Sharma, who come to stay with Lady Danbury as they join the London season. Kate, played by Simone Ashley, becomes a potential love interest for Anthony Bridgerton in a will-they-or-won’t-they drama that Canale reflected in Ashley’s costumes.
“You will see throughout the season Kate’s costumes have a journey,” Canale explains. “We start with her arrival in darker, heavier-weight fabrics, which give her more of a rigid and uptight look matching her spinster, controlled manner. As the season unfolds and Kate develops emotions, we see her costumes become brighter in color and the fabrics become lighter. I also brought in an element of Indian inspiration with the choice of fabrics, embroidery, embellishment, jewelry, and hair decorations.”
She adds, “Edwina, the younger Sharma sister, is softer and sweeter in nature as a character. I represented this in her costumes through the use of a softer color palette: pinks, lilacs, and peaches, which contrast Kate’s stronger, bolder colors. With Edwina’s costumes, I used lots of soft satins and tulle/lace overlay fabrics.”
First, some numbers: Each episode of Bridgerton averages about 90 costumes, although that number can be higher — the first episode of season two features an impressive 146 costumes. In total, the costume team created about 700 costumes for the principal actors. That volume and level of detail kept Canale, who also served as co-costume designer on season one of Bridgerton, very busy. “In my role as costume designer for Bridgerton season two, I wanted to enhance and develop each character’s costume and build on the amazing Bridgerton world created in season one,” Canale explains. “For me, the beauty of design is always in the attention to detail. I feel the audience will see this in the cut of the costumes, embroidery, embellishment, hats, reticules [Regency bags], matching jewelry sets for costumes, men’s watch fobs, tiepins — the list goes on.”
One notable evolution is Eloise, who makes her debut at the Diamond Ball early in the season. “As Eloise is now a debutante, this season I did want to create a slightly softer look for her,” Canale says. “For her tucker/chemisettes this season, I used softer fabrics such as silk chiffons, which my incredible team have manipulated to create various beautiful techniques of smocking and pin tucks. We also added details of ribbons, small jewelry, hairpins, and brooches, all of which give the character personal touches. In addition, keep an eye out for her matching boots and costumes. Her true transformation is her ball and evening wear, which can be seen in her blue ball gown, worn for her first ball of the season. As her sister Daphne is now Duchess of Hastings and can be seen in lilacs, you’ll see Eloise on occasion wearing Bridgerton blue, representing the family color.”
Even though Eloise is making her debut, she’s still Eloise after all. Given that she favors her independence and turns her nose up at many of high society’s rules for women, her rejection of high fashion and court can be seen in her everyday looks, which have a purposeful “slightly masculine look,” with spencer jackets and waistcoats that match her dresses. “Fabric choices are incredibly important to me for defining a character,” Canale notes. “With Eloise’s day wear, I intentionally used stripes, checks, and small self-patterned fabrics, which provide a more masculine look than the floral fabrics of the ton.”
Anthony, the romantic leading man of season two, also got a slight visual update.
“As you’ll see in the scenes with Anthony and his father, Anthony had his father’s look in season one, as his father is his biggest hero,” Ökvist says. “We wanted him to have grown up a bit more for this season, so we decided to make his look less complicated as he now has to really take on all the responsibility and make sure he fulfills his duty toward the family."
The Featheringtons, meanwhile, retain their flamboyant vibe even as their circumstances change in season two.
“The color palettes of the Featherington girls are distinctive: Penelope in her yellows and pinks; Prudence in her bold oranges and pinks; Philippa in her purples and greens; and Lady Featherington in her rainbow of bold, colorful prints and matching gloves,” Canale says. “This season, however they may be sticking to the rules, the Featheringtons’ fabric choices and embellishments are not like anyone in town.”
For Queen Charlotte, expect big, detail-heavy looks with massive wigs and lots of jewelry. Her costumes in season two go above and beyond those in season one, with some very memorable pops of color.
“When it comes to Queen Charlotte’s costumes, it’s all about the fabrics and the details,” Canale notes. “The costumes are beautifully cut, and the hours of decoration are something to behold. Each costume is decorated with different techniques, so no two costumes are the same. The collaboration with costume makers, embroiderers, embellishers, and jewelers makes each
look an individual masterpiece. Erika and I had great fun collaborating for the Queen’s costumes, wig, and hair decoration to match the details on the costumes. This season, we also have the ladies-in-waiting costumes with details matching those of the Queen.”
Ökvist adds, “The things you can always expect from the Queen are: It’s big, it’s outrageous, and it’s fabulous.”
THE LOCATIONSWrotham Park
The production filmed in 54 different studio sets over the season, often repurposing them halfway through to make new environments. The team also traveled to 86 location sets, again using several locations for multiple sets. Hughes-Jones says the team can successfully transform one location into something completely different when needed for the story.
“For me, the fun ones are the most challenging ones — the ones that must fit in a certain amount of space in a certain time frame or have to be converted from something else,” he explains about the sets. “I would say the best for me was a series of sets we made where we reused the courtyard from the Duke’s house in season one, where it rained. This was an interior set that took up a large amount of real estate in our studio. We changed it first into the Queen’s ballroom, then the Aubrey Hall ballroom, then the closet in the Queen’s house, then the artist studio at the [Royal] Academy, and then finally into the Featherington ballroom, which was the craziest set of the season.”
Viewers will get to see a few new locations in season two, including Lady Danbury’s house and the Bridgerton country manor of Aubrey Hall. For the latter, several locations were used to stand in for the home, including Wrotham Park, a private house in North London. As for what to expect in Lady Danbury’s regal estate, in accordance with a specific color palette for specific families, Hughes-Jones gave Lady Danbury her own set of colors. The interiors of her beautiful home feature pinks and peaches, along with gold accents. And although Kate and Edwina are guests of Lady Danbury, Hughes-Jones put little nods to the characters in their surroundings. Set decorator Gina Cromwell even added images of horses and lions stalking one another into Kate’s bedroom as a nod to Kate and Anthony’s dynamic.
“They are guests of Lady Danbury, so what we see of their characters is only what they brought with them and what they wear,” Hughes-Jones explains. “In terms of environmental clues, it’s the small details: the incense burners, the fabrics, the small objects that are important to them that adorn the sideboards, writing desks, and dressing tables.”
There are also some changes to the Featheringtons’ home, thanks to a new member of the household. “They have a new member arrive in the household, which upsets the apple cart somewhat,” Hughes-Jones teases. “Lady Featherington is infuriated by some of the design choices that come with this person. The Featheringtons are all about show, so the last thing that they would do is show that they are struggling financially.”
While the Bridgerton home primarily stayed the same, there was one notable evolution: Eloise has set up shop in Daphne’s former bedroom. The details have changed to reflect Eloise’s interests, with tons of books on the shelves and a desk. “We got a glimpse in season one to how Eloise had made it her own, and in season two she spends a lot of time in there trying to figure out who Lady Whistledown is,” Hughes-Jones notes.
THE RACESSteve Parsons - PA ImagesGetty Images
Bridgerton heads to the races this season, with a memorable scene taking place at the Royal Ascot. This new setting gave the team an opportunity to imagine new looks for the characters, as well as to create a society gathering that wasn’t a ball. The scenes, inspired by My Fair Lady, were filmed at the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club in Windsor, a location that also stood in for the Danbury House Stables. Expect to see the characters like you haven’t seen them before.
“The races scene was a great set piece to create costumes for, mainly because it has a variety of characters in one scene: high society, working class, market holders, jockeys, and the groomsmen,” Canale explains. “It gave us a wide scope to work with. We made the races more elaborate with hats and hair decorations and using bolder colors. We made the jockey costumes with handmade hats to match the colorful silks. Each design for the jockey silks and the color was carefully chosen to be individual for Bridgerton.”
AND, OF COURSE, THE BALLS
One of the most memorable aspects of Bridgerton is the opulent, ornately themed balls, which punctuate the drama of the story as the lords and ladies of London try to find their matches. For season two, the team conceived of four different balls, including the glamorous ball featured in the show’s trailer.
“Balls in [series creator] Chris [Van Dusen’s] world always have themes, and we were able to have new themes and new locations to do them in, whether it be a conservatory for the flower ball or big stage sets for the Diamond Ball, the golden ball, or the pink ball,” Hughes-Jones notes. “All have their own individuality.”
To design each ball, Van Dusen, Hughes-Jones, Ökvist, and Canale collaborated around the specific themes. This meant that all the dresses worn by both the lead actress and the background ensemble were on theme and coordinated. For example, the Diamond Ball, where the season’s young women debut at court, features silver and gold dresses, while the Hearts and Flowers Ball showcases a variety of pink gowns.
The Diamond Ball — as the name would suggest — was particularly elaborate. Penelope Featherington’s dress was inspired by a famous blue and sparklingsilver-star dress Kylie Minogue wore on tour, which was designed by John Galliano. Philippa Featherington’s gown, meanwhile, was created with more than 14,000 crystals in four shades of gold. The scene was filmed on a studio set, as was the case with several other balls, but Lady Danbury’s flower-themed ball brought the production to a real-world location,Syon Park’s Great Conservatory, which was decorated in the theme. “These themes created a magical set piece visually,” Canale notes.
Indeed, as if the lavish world season one of Bridgerton brought to life wasn’t enough, season two will see the opulence, beauty, and glamour brought to new heights. Get your dance card ready, dear readers!
Emily Zemler is a freelance writer and journalist based in London. She regularly contributes to the Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone, PureWow, and TripSavvy, and is the author of two books. Follow her on Twitter @emilyzemler.
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