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  • Writer's picturePARLIAMENT NEWS

The Regency Era Making a Comeback in Fashion - The Bridgerton Series By Ciara Kramer

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The Regency Period 1811 to 1820 was the period where Prince George IV ruled in place of his sick father and acted as ‘Regent’ during his father’s time of madness. The Regency period in London holds a memorable place in British History. This period was a time of political, economic and societal change, with regards to the Napoleonic Wars happening since 1803. Societal structures were undergoing an immense change, due to George IV and Charlotte’s interests; whereby different demographics would mix and meet in various social spaces. Social routines of attending two balls per week during November to July, often referred to as ‘the season’, where aristocrats would go to London and secure a status, whilst making contacts and forming allegiances. Whilst ‘young debutantes’ ladies, would look for the attention of eligible bachelors. The naivety and purity of these young ladies, is truly admirable. The Regency is highly associated with a period of social and cultural development, with the Prince Regents encouragement towards painting, literature, music, science, sculpture and technology. With a strong attraction to fashion and manners. With the release of the Romantic period drama ‘Bridgerton’ in December 2020, the reimagining of Julia Quinn’s best-selling novels has fluctuated the new emerging trend of the body sculpturing corsets, extravagant ruffles and the elegant, draping silhouettes of dresses. Season one of the series is based on Julia Quinn’s first novel, ‘The Duke and I’. Within this period, Britain began to adopt the French style of dressing, making clothes less gaudy and more functional for women.

The series exploded onto our screens with a bang. With a record of 82 million households around the world choosing to watch it, within the first 28 days from its release. It hit NO.1 in 83 countries. But Why? Because the romance, the passion, the fashion, all engaging a more contemporary audience to the period drama. It’s a world we all fantasise of being in. The characters in Bridgerton, are depicted as being ultra-modern, youthful, and fashionable.

The previous image of the Bridgerton family, exemplifies the Regency style. With the men in tailored jackets, waistcoats, linen shirts with collars, and a cravat around their necks. Whilst the ladies are wearing narrow, slender gowns, with a neutral colour palette, representing upper class women, with purity and wealth. Ellen Mirojnick made 7,500 costume pieces from scratch. The costumes chosen for each character speaks both of the social class and the personality within the garments. Bridgerton modernizes the Regency style, for example, the series has added more brightly coloured garments and more contemporary fabrics with rhinestone-encrusted puff sleeves. Shown in the image below, of the Featherington girls, at the Queen Charlotte’s party. Depicted in this image, shows the more colourful, embellished dresses. With this vibrant colour palette, of acid bright florals, with intricate details on each dress worn, are eye-catching, due to the contrasts in colour.

With corsets previously depicting the construction of the waist on women’s bodies and was the cultural construct in western society during the Victorian period. This was considered to be the ideal body shape, enabling women to construct their own bodies for social advantage. The Regency period, however, becomes much more comfortable, with elegance in fashion and the high waisted, undergarment inspired Chemise dresses, which was the fashion for women in that era. This is depicted through the dresses that Daphne and the women wear in the series. However, there is also the theme of ice-cream colour pastels, shown in the image above of Daphne Brigerton, from the inspiration of the outfit on the right.

After the mass surge of popularity from the Brigerton Series, this has been noticed by some of the top fashion houses and has popped up on the Couture Runways. Brands such as Dior, Chanel, Valentino, which are all creating romantic, feminine, elegant gowns. Highlighting how the Regency era is making a comeback in fashion, with a modernity touch to it. The Dior collection has a relaxed silhouette, in the image below, of the yellow gold dress, with these floral embellishments, is similar to the gowns worn by the ladies from Bridgerton. Enhancing the mass influence this period drama has had on the present fashion trends.

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