Behind the Scenes of Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story
Almost two years ago I received an email inquiry from Lyn Paolo, a brilliant costume designer, about an upcoming Shonda Rhimes / Shondaland production based on the life of young Queen Charlotte, and the possibility of using some Larkspur & Hawk jewelry for the lead character. Before I replied, I am sure I read that email several times, while simultaneously pinching myself in order to be sure that I wasn’t dreaming. Lyn’s email was the start of a project that has been nothing short of thrilling, and one of the best of my career.
I learned from Lyn that she wished for the costumes to have the radiance and color magic of my jewelry, and like my designs, she too wanted her designs to be evocative of the Queen’s clothing, but not be literal reproductions. When I first saw the mood board, I pinched myself again, because I spotted some of my favorite 18th century silhouettes, many of which were similar to my designs.
Portrait of Queen Charlotte Sophia (1744-1818) by Johann Zoffany
I have always thought of myself as a conduit to the past, and now I was being given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be an 18th century British Queen’s jeweler! What ensued over the coming months included seeing and hearing more about the costumes and the show, so that I might make jewelry recommendations, as well as my study of Queen Charlotte and the unique life she shared with King George III.
I loved it when Lyn would reach out with specific requests; “might you have a wedding ring?”; “how about jewelry that could be sewn into a dress?” Sometimes pictures do speak a thousand words, and this project was a case study in support of image sharing. I did a deep dive into period portraits of young Queen Charlotte to study how she dressed and what might have been her personal style. Together with my team in NYC we styled certain looks with our jewelry, giving consideration to day and evening dressing as well as stately and romantic dressing. The best part of all was when we were privy to Lyn’s costume sketches and fabric swatches, bringing the project to life. Her vision was so clear that pairing jewelry to outfits came effortlessly.
I feel honored to have played a small role in the production of Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story and can’t wait to share more with you about Queen Charlotte, her jewelry, and my passion for the Georgian period.