In collaboration with longtime Shondaland costume designer Lyn Elizabeth Paolo, Shondaland and Allure Bridals have announced a first-ever bridal gown collection inspired by the opulence of Netflix’s Bridgerton and Queen Charlotte. The Bridgerton Weddings collection will bring to life Paolo’s exquisite Regency- and Georgian-era designs that have come to define the multifaceted Queen Charlotte in the Bridgerton prequel series. Paolo previously worked as a costume consultant on Bridgerton and is an intimate part of bringing the sumptuous Bridgerverse to life.
The idea behind the collection was initiated by Shonda Rhimes and Sandie Bailey, Shondaland’s chief innovation and design officer, when they approached Paolo with the opportunity to design a bridal gown collection influenced by Queen Charlotte’s era in the Bridgerton series.
“The Allure team have been spectacular in listening and sharing and creating together,” says Paolo, who’s worked with Shondaland for a decade on shows including Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder and Inventing Anna. “They couldn’t have been more collaborative, and I think it’s just this moment where fans of the show, especially the brides who are watching the show, can get a little taste of the show in their personal lives and feel spectacular and feel regal like our Queen Charlotte is regal.”
Paolo worked with Allure Bridal as the creative director and designer of the collection and custom designed three bespoke gowns for the debut. One gown takes direct inspiration from the fancy wedding dress that Queen Charlotte (India Amarteifio) wears for her nuptials to King George III (Corey Mylchreest).
Paolo is now the second costume designer to collaborate with a franchise via Shondaland’s “Seat at the Table” initiative. The program aims to bring Shondaland creatives into licensing deals with large franchises and was launched last November with Bridgerton season one costume designer Ellen Mirojnick and her collaboration with jeweler Monica Rich Kosann for a contemporary, Regency-inspired fine jewelry collection.
“The fact that Shonda Rhimes is doing this with the creative team and allowing us a seat at the table is quite remarkable and it’s highlighting what people in the creative elements of the film industry do that a lot of people didn’t really know that costume designers existed twenty years ago,” says Paolo. “It’s giving people the moment to express their creativity in a different way and grow as a creative person.”
The program is set to pair many creatives with their first franchise deals in an industry which has a history of not including costume designers in product launches.
But this isn’t Paolo’s first time lending her creative spin to a product collaboration. In 2014, she teamed with Kerry Washington, ABC TV, and The Limited to design and launch the Scandal Collection.
For the Allure Bridals and Bridgerton collection, Paolo honed Regency- and Georgian-era silhouettes while staying true to the signature lace, fabrics, and embellishments delicately embedded on Queen Charlotte’s gowns. She says fans can expect a mix of gowns that mirror the romance and glamour of Bridgerton and styles that lean closer to young Queen Charlotte’s extravagant Parisian wedding gown.
“There were two bridal gowns that Queen Charlotte wore, the basic English gown and what she called her Parisian gown, and you’ll see in the collection, one of my sketches correlates to the second gown which is a little bit more detailed in the front and the bodice and completely stone on the front,” she says. “I would say that the gown is the archetype for the three gowns that we are making for Allure that are based on Queen Charlotte.”
The collection is set to debut this December with prices ranging from $1,600 to $3,000 a dress.
Paolo says the collection will ultimately give brides-to-be the opportunity to transform into their own version of a Bridgeton royal with romance-meets-glamour gowns that captures the essence of the Bridgerverse. “The response is always so wonderful. People just love the world and they immerse themselves in the world and want to know every tiny detail within it. I have so many requests from people out in the world: ‘What was that dress made of? I want to wear that for my wedding.’ This gives the fans the opportunity to find those amazing gowns and they are already made for them,” she says.
Adds Bailey, “Shondaland values the relationship we’ve cultivated with Lyn over the past 10 years. To bring her into our Seat at the Table initiative and work alongside her on such a beautiful bridal collection was incredibly inspiring. Her artistry shines in the elegant lines of Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story costumes and we are excited to be able to bring the same romance and sophistication of Lyn’s designs to the marketplace with such highly valued leaders in the bridal space, Allure Bridals.”