Extraordinary Hair. Extraordinary Interview.
It would seem Regency London and indeed the whole of Netflix is aglow with this season’s debutantes. Yet, unlike Lady Whistledown, I am less concerned with who might turn these young ladies' heads and more interested in what is upon them.
Thank goodness for the absence of bonnets so we can see all the details and intricacies of their hairstyles.
To think these Ladies and Gentlemen awaken with such pristine coiffures would be amiss.
Luckily I have corresponded with Academy Award nominee Marc Pilcher who designed the hair and makeup for the whole season and he generously gave me an insight into all the scandalous secrets behind the fairest in the Ton and how he made them look so exquisite.
Below I recall our conversation for your perusal.
- ‘Bridgerton’ feels like it has a style all of its own. Was this a conscious decision and if so, what were your inspirations?
When I research a piece I read over the script a few times to formulate ideas in my head for each character. I like to convey their personalities through the hair and makeup. As well as paintings and books, I'm also a real film buff and draw a lot of inspiration from old films.
For example, in Polly Walker’s (Portia Featherington) first fittings I noted that her costumes were very 1950s in their shape, so I incorporated this into her hairstyles, making her a red headed Elizabeth Taylor. So the front of her hair was 1950s but the overall silhouette kept in with the Regency shape.
- How did you use the hair and makeup to reflect the status and ages of the ladies?
A lot of our characters are much younger than the actors that portray them. The Bridgerton’s and Featherington’s daughters are supposed to be teenagers. Penelope is only fifteen, so I gave her curls and ringlets, to make her young and girly. Her base was pale and youthful, and we added freckles to aid this.
- Did you have a favourite brush to help add volume to the gentlemen’s hairstyles?
For the ladies hair, my favourite brush was my Denman D90 Tangle Tamer Ultra Mini (generously given to me by Denman when I was filming Beauty and the Beast). And for the men, two sizes of the Denman DHH2 Head Hugger brush were used to blow dry, before using tongs and product to finish off.
- When you created the looks for Queen Charlotte, you included lots of textures including dreadlocks etc. Could you explain the intricacies of these wig designs and what brushes you used to create them?
When I researched Queen Charlotte, I discovered that she was of African descent. So when I found out the wonderful Golda Rosheuvel was to play her, I was very excited. It gave me great scope to design her looks. I used the shapes of the late 18th century but using locks, braids, afros and textured hair, to celebrate her heritage. Her giant Fro in episode three was built up with five wigs sewn on top of each other, to create the volume.
I designed each look and Adam James Phillips (Emmy winner) would create them. He would use his Denman D91 Backcomber. We used this brush for most looks.
- Characters such as Eloise Bridgerton and Marina Thompson had much more natural styles. Was this Ruby Barker's own hair and if so, did your team find a particular technique or brush that was useful for creating and defining these natural curls?
I designed the long mullet style for Eloise, to reflect her feminist, forward thinking personality. Mullets were in fashion in Regency times.
For Marina Thompson, we wanted to keep Ruby’s hair loose and free, as her character was a country girl. We sent her for regular hair treatments and only used the Denman D17 Curl Volumiser, it worked wonders.
- How long did it take to create some of the styles on the day?
Daily hair and makeup calls would vary from one to two hours, depending on the intricacies.
- As an Academy Award nominee (Mary Queen of Scots), not to mention your numerous MUAHS nominations and awards, do you have any must-haves or go-to brushes that you always have in your kit and on set?
So, it would seem there is one thing all the Ladies and Gentlemen of this season would not be without in order to grab the attention on the dance floor and that is their trusty Denman!