Since its 2020 premiere, Bridgerton has won viewers’ hearts through its social politics, steamy romances, and highly stylised (and slightly modernised) Regency-era aesthetic. Pastels and ruffles team with embroidery, lace, and elegant, piled-high hair. With the most recent extension of the Bridgerton world—Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, premiering today on Netflix—comes even more elaborate coifs and higher-reaching lengths. The prequel spin-off features an enormous collection of breathtaking wigs (think traditional rolls encrusted in diamonds) to visually communicate the rise of young Queen Charlotte, played by India Ria Amarteifio.
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story’s hair department head Nic Collins says that the creation of the wig collection was all down to characters, story progression, and thoughtful, innovative texture.
“It was really important to us to have all textures of hair represented,” says Collins, whose team relied on everything from 1,000 tiny cocktail sticks to rickrack trimming in order to achieve desired results. First the department worked in the parameters of the Regency period’s existing hair shapes (within creative reason), then incorporated centuries of Black hairstyles, from braid work to coils, to create something that, thus far, has not been represented.
“It was important to us that we keep the natural hair colour as well,” says Collins. “Every person keeps kind of true to the natural hair tone, rather than going into different bolder colours. It was more of an intimate storytelling with the hair. Like a collection.” Said collection included about 1,500 wigs (15 for Queen Charlotte alone), some comprised of up to eight separate parts, with toppers moulded to actors’ heads to better distribute the weight. The hair department worked closely with costume designers Lyn Paolo and Laura Frecon to ensure key accessories—like Catherine’s wedding tiara—were showcased within each given wig, crafting panels to carry them seemingly effortlessly.
Mostly, though, Queen Charlotte’s hair is about imagination and inclusion. “The whole team and I hope we created something that doesn’t really exist, or it probably did exist but is not represented,” says Collins. “So we just hope that it inspires a whole generation of people watching it.”