Empire waists and vibrant floral and silk dresses that emphasize a woman’s breasts dominate the new Netflix period drama series Bridgerton.
The show is set in the early 1800s during the Regency era in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, when George III fell ill and was unable to rule, thus allowing his son, George IV, to take over.
The period is known for elegance in British fine arts, including fashion.
Bridgerton follows the lives of aristocratic British families during a “social season” when eligible men and women are matched for marriage.
The lavish parties, balls and dinners oblige the women to engage the services of a modiste or dressmaker.
For Bridgerton, American costume designer Ellen Mirojnick was hired to do the wardrobe in eight episodes.
Fashion in the 1800s consisted of empire cuts or “a lean dress or coat silhouette, usually in velvet, silk or lingerie fabrics, with the skirt gathered underneath the breasts, a low neckline and occasionally tiny, puffed sleeves,” according to The Fashion Book by Phaidon.
Mirojnick enhanced the look with Swarovski crystals, bright color schemes, huge wigs and other pieces from the 1950s and ’60s, according to Vogue.
“I looked at the Regency period in London through drawings and paintings,” she said in an interview with Vogue. “We got a flavor of it and then it was about looking at the different silhouettes and shapes while knowing that this had to be aspirational, as opposed to historically accurate.”
In a separate article in The Cut, Mirojnick said that adding accessories made sense as these blended with other elements in the production.
She also pointed out that the period highlighted “the beauty of the bosom.”
“It’s just the prettiness of that shape. Everything moves up and focuses on the beauty of the bosom. It mimics the cheek, and it brings the roundness of the female form into focus,” she explained.
For Bridgerton, Mirojnick and her team created over 7,500 costume pieces.
Bridgerton is currently streaming on Netflix.