When we were little, it was Cinderella’s fairytale ball gown that caught our attention. Growing older, we learnt about the cultures and clothing of different countries and then we read ‘Jane Austen.’ Though faded memories, one can never overlook how the English novelist chronicled the tales of clothing during that time. Magnificent, Sophisticated, Decorous …were some of the words used to describe women’s fashion during the Regency era.
The Regency is defined by strong clothing narratives. The French embraced Anglomania (excessive admiration of English customs), high waistlines, elaborate hats, dresses turned subtle in their shades and dainty with ornamentation inspired from varied era and cultures and bonnets became the hair trend. Disrupted from the continent by war and barricade, British fashion embraced French style, after Napoleon’s final defeat in 1815. The period after 1811 is known as the Regency period, as the Prince of Wales (later King George IV) ruled as regent until the death of his father George III in 1820.
Older as time, why has this period British fashion trend gained popularity in 2021?
Remember #cottagecore? A trend all about fantasy and solitude that gained momentum in 2020 on Instagram amidst the pandemic? Continuing the escapist whimsy of 2020, in 2021, with the advent of British period dramas on OTT platforms like Netflix, Prime Video and Hotstar ‘Regencycore’ is the new trend in fashion, make up and décor. OTT users were instantly taken with the addictive, of the more than perfect casting, the illicit love affairs, royal politics but more so, what had their attention was the poise and eloquence each garment carried. Suddenly, regency core was everywhere. Luxury couture designer brands like Ellie Saab, Jean Paul Gaultier, Dior and others reported an instant search spike for corsets and couture gowns, along with an increased interest in things like pearl-encrusted headbands, formal gloves, and empire-waist dresses.
If you are someone unfamiliar with the trend, we say you think of high-drama headpieces, empire-waist dresses, romantic makeup, and lots of opulent touches like pearls, shimmer, and bejeweled accessories.
For the social media natives, who are struggling to get over the sense of ‘awe’ looking at couture and corsetry on The Reign’s Queen Mary of Scotland, Queen Elizabeth in The Crown, Keira Knightley in Colette or Daphne Bridgerton from Bridgerton, this article is a must read. From the why and how of the costumes of your favourite British period dramas to featuring its relevance, this edit delves in it all.
Streaming on Prime Video, the historical romantic drama set in the late-sixteenth century revolves around the life of Mary, Queen of Scots, and her rise to power in the French court. The series stars Adelaide Kane as Mary, alongside an ensemble cast. Meredith Markworth-Pollack, costume designer for the series found her inspiration from history and period films like La Reine Margot. Since Mary was a real queen there’s an abundance of material for research. Not to mention the documentations on 16th century dress. The Byzantine and Baroque trends found in the collections of Dolce and Gabbana, Naeem Khan, Alexander McQueen and Oscar de la Renta came in handy for the show.
Ciceroni’s Style Tip: Reign’s brightly coloured brocades and vintage statement pieces make it an ultimate holiday party inspiration.
The Crown is a historical drama television series about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. The Netflix fan favourite has its costumes inspired from the vintage custom-made ensembles in the late 40’s and early 50’s. One would be awe-struck when we say that most of the costumes seen in the series are original designs. From Queen Elizabeth’s jodhpurs and the avant-garde wedding dress to the Swarovski crystal studded coronation gown, costume designer Michele Clapton seamlessly balanced the presentation of historical clothing and style with modern storytelling.
Ciceroni’s Style Tip: The ensembles in a mix of vintage and contemporary designs are a perfect date night choice.
Bridgerton is an American television period drama series created by Chris Van Dusen, that is based on Julia Quinn’s novels. From silk gowns rendered in candy pastels, neon bright florals, lumps of ruffles, rhinestone-embellished puff sleeves, this period-drama is a mystical fantasy full of embellished ball gowns, extravagant jewellery and feathered headdresses. Inspired by the regency period in London and the historic paintings, Ellen Mirojnick, the Emmy awardee designer is seen transforming the familiar Regency-era silhouettes into something new and fanciful.
Ciceroni’s Style Tip: The floral maxi dresses and the hats do make up as an apt excuse for a vintage tea party with your girl gang.
Colette is a 2018 biographical drama film directed by Wash Westmoreland, based upon the life of the French novelist Colette. Costume designer Andrea Flesch’s journey while creating the costumes for the show started by studying portraits of Colette, period photographs and the paintings of Jean-Georges Béraud, Fernand Toussaint and Édouard Vuillard. From a birds of paradise brooch artfully added to Keira Knightley’s white dress symbolizing love to the tastefully made corsets, the movie holds instances that bridges the path tracing the regency era while keeping up with the modern designs.
Ciceroni’s Style Tip: The signature black and white culottes and the corsets, tomboyish yet dainty, are worth a shot if you believe in the concept of gender neutral fashion.
Planning to recreate your favourite regencycore looks? Be sure to keep this guide handy as it brings with it the references, the cultural aspects and the modern design elements.