“When I read the scripts, I like to formulate and help convey [the characters’] personalities,” explains “Bridgerton” hair and makeup designer Marc Pilcher about his work on the Netflix period romance. “It’s really important that you don’t just tell the story through the script, through the acting. You can also tell the story through costume, through hair and makeup.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Pilcher above.
“Bridgerton” follows the title family as they navigate high society in Regency London during the early 19th century. To prepare for the series, Pilcher “read books about the period. I looked at paintings and historical information … as well as illustrations.” But the series isn’t strictly beholden to historical realism. Its heightened style freed Pilcher to explore a wider range of influences.
“What I like to do is draw from my mind, from my past, from old movies,” including elements of 1950s fashion and design that were also reflected in the costumes. For instance, “Lady Featherington was based around Deborah Kerr, Elizabeth Taylor, those sort of 1950s films … You could bring that ’50s feel to the bangs, but still stay true to period.”
Some of the show’s most extravagant looks are reserved for Queen Charlotte, whose hairstyles often approach stratospheric heights, so it was important that the hairpieces be comfortable for actress Golda Rosheuvel, especially when she would be wearing them for long periods. “There was a really tall black braided one that she wears to the wedding banquet. And that was the heaviest one. But we always made sure that as soon as the cameras were off … we would always take the wig off just to make it really comfortable.”
For his work on the show, Pilcher has already won a Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild Award for hairstyling, with an additional nomination for makeup. He was “gutted” that the team couldn’t attend the ceremony this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But what’s “so wonderful with particularly those kinds of awards is the fact that you’re nominated by your peers … It’s actually people that do the same thing as you.” Before that his peers honored him with an Oscar nomination for “Mary Queen of Scots” (2018). Now the television academy may follow suit by giving him his first career Emmy noms.
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