Erika Okvist interview: ‘Bridgerton’ hair and makeup designer

“The most important thing about this job is to find the character,” declares hair and makeup designer Erika Ökvist, the artist responsible for the myriad of period looks on the Netflix drama “Bridgerton.” The second season of the hit Regency-era romance centers around Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) as he searches for a suitable wife. Anthony’s practicality leads him to court Miss Edwina Sharma (Charithra Chandran), whose elder sister Kate (Simone Ashley) serves as an object of frustration and fascination for young Anthony. In our exclusive video interview (watch above), Ökvist describes the logistics in creating the dazzling and varied period looks and why she believes in the collaborative process.

Ökvist’s work begins with a series of fittings during which the character’s look is established. Collaborating with the costume designer, production designer and the actor, Ökvist works to create what she calls the “DNA” of the character. “If you see this character as a silhouette, you recognize who they are,” she explains. “I feel that you really need to — even though they have a new look all the time — feel it’s true to the character.”

That commitment to characterization is exemplified in the designs for the Sharma family, characters that were not a part of the show’s first season. For Kate, the older and more cynical of the Sharma sisters, Ökvist wanted the character’s look to evolve as Kate struggled with her feeling for Anthony. “Always when you’ve got a love interest in your heart, you want to appear as lovely to them as possible,” she says. For Edwina, the designer chose to emphasize the character’s evolution from young debutante to a stronger, more independent woman. “She’s brought up to be this perfect wife and hostess, really brought up to be a diamond,” argues Ökvist. “Then all of a sudden the road that was thought to be poker straight just totally changed. That makes her grow up a little bit in the end and she’s got a less girly appearance.”

She sees her role as being part of a machine where every part is important. If one part isn’t working, she argues, then the storytelling will fail. She likens the making of “Bridgerton” to a clock telling the correct time. “If you take away the smallest little spring, the clock will not move and the time will not be right,” she says. “[Television] is a fluid art form where we touch every single person. We’re not separate from sound. We’re not separate from lighting. We’re not separate from anyone and I find it fantastic that the design being created is a collaboration with so many levels of people.”

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UPLOADED Jul 12, 2022 11:05 am