MP: The sideburns were the fashion of the period. We did that thing in prep of just getting the guys to grow beards, then we would shave them down to a length, and then we would look at them and show the producers to see if they agreed with it. For some of the boys, like for Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton), we had sideburn extensions and it gives some natural shading.
With the boys, we wanted to keep the silhouette of the period but also bring a modern element to them to make them look really hot. We would have the quiffs, so each boy would be blow-dried during make-up. In that period, men wore rouge, so we would also put a little bit of rouge on them to make them look handsome and like a model for a magazine.
Teen Vogue: You must be incredibly proud of Queen Charlotte’s larger-than-life wigs, which took about three or four weeks to create. Did you specifically refer to the Queen’s portraits from that era or did you make any specific changes to honor her potentially multiracial heritage?
MP: To start off with, we literally had two wigs made for her. One was a natural afro wig and the other was a white yak wig. As we started filming, I got chatting with Chris [Van Dusen] and he basically said, ‘This woman’s bored out of her skull. Her husband’s a lunatic, so she can’t even spend time with him and she’s waiting for him to die. All she does is dress up and go to balls and functions.’ And I basically just said, ‘Well, why don’t we make sure that she has a new wig every time she has a new dress?’ And then we would also match her ladies in waiting with matching wigs to her wigs, so they would all look the same.
Once we started doing that, I thought, ‘Well, I want to introduce the looks of her heritage, not just copy portraits of white people.’ I wanted to show her multiracial persona, so that’s when I introduced the dreadlocks and the braids. There’s a famous look from that period, which was a sort of powdered wig. If you watch The Duchess with Keira Knightley, Keira has this big, wide look. I was looking at a picture one day and I thought, “Oh my God, we need to do a Beyoncé Knowles in Austin Powers [in Goldmember] version of this.” So, that big ’fro was based on Beyoncé. We used two wigs for the bottom section and then five wigs were used on top. Each one was set on kebab sticks to make sure we got the most full and amazing ’fro for the queen.
Quite often, we would give a little hint to Golda of what we were gonna do but we would never actually tell her until we presented it to her, and she would always go, ‘Oh my God!’ (Laughs.) She always absolutely loved them. We would always involve her in the ideas. My favorite one of all is the one she wore in the last episode at the Hastings ball. It was all these beautiful white locks with cuffs, bows and bird cages. It was a joy to create for her, really.
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