–from book to screen with our fabulous hair, makeup, and wardrobe teams for A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES Series 2 on this #Book2ScreenMagicMonday.
As any of my readers know, I like a bit (!) of description. As a historian, I love researching hair and costume and imagining how things like the heel on a shoe or the number of undergarments someone was expected to wear might shape a character’s actions and reactions. And as a reader, I love being able to fix things in my imagination be they people, places, or things. So the hair, makeup, and wardrobe teams on #ADiscoveryofWitchesS2 had a real challenge when it came to translating my words from page to screen.
This was all the more difficult because we weren’t doing a historical re-enactment of late 16th-century clothing for a single day or even a few days. That would have been difficult enough, given the poor rate of survival for actual clothing items and the impossibility of reconstructing clothing based solely on portraits which don’t always reveal enough about undergarments and structure. But if we add those issues to the problems of consistently delivering a look over hours, days, weeks, and months–sometimes with gaps between days of shooting, sometimes with very short windows between entire costume/hair/makeup changes, and with the logistics of getting women into their costumes in a timely fashion, I think it’s fair to say that our teams worked miracles to deliver a look for each of our characters that was wearable, changeable, consistent across shooting days, and period correct, as well. And that was true for not only our main cast but also every supporting artist on the streets of the Blackfriars, at the court of Elizabeth or Rudolf II, and back at Sept-Tours. They also had to perform this miracle not only for 1590, but for the modern storylines, as well.
I have to admit, I was an additional challenge. I was an absolute stickler when it came to color palette. In most television and film projects, the wardrobe and hair/makeup teams work together to come up with a subtle yet distinctive color and pattern palette for each character. Think of Diana’s brilliant blues in Series 1, or the marvelous patterns that Sarah and Em wore, or Matthew’s deep blue cashmere. But in the late sixteenth-century, nothing said status like BLACK–and that was the color that the School of Night, Elizabeth, and her courtiers preferred. Black was an incredibly difficult dye to make in 1590, and it was expensive, too. While some colors–purple, crimson, gold–were limited to people of a specific rank, and others (like blue…) were associated with the religious life or charities, black was the go-to color for anyone who wanted to show that they were wealthy. This meant that I kept vetoing beautiful fabrics and colors because they weren’t period-proper in terms of color–and thereby limiting the ways in which the creative teams could bring this world to life.
But they overcame all those challenges, and magnificently, too. The result is, I feel, one of the most period correct representations of late Elizabethan England I’ve ever seen on screen–but it took the dedication and talents of a superb team to get us there. Here are some pictures to help prepare you for the glories to come when Series 2 airs in January. Additional information in the captions for each photo.
Being not only period correct, but consistent across multiple takes was a real challenge. It’s exacting work!
Teresa’s hair, makeup, and wardrobe was particularly complicated and challenging.
Mood boards like these were used to share ideas, draw upon period reference images, and figure out how to best use modern materials and bespoke fabrics to get the perfect look.
Teresa’s hair was a marvel from every angle–Loz and her team were amazing and produced designs that were elegant and intricate at the same time.
Here is a shot of the wardrobe truck, where the costumes were prepared to go to the cast. Believe it or not, there is an ironing board back there!
Another moodboard, this one focused on accessories and how they would fit into the entire look of a character like Henry Percy or Walter Raleigh.
Lindsay Duncan’s look is timeless and elegant–I could never wait to see what she was wearing!
Posh men’s doublets being prepped in the costume workshop for the supporting artists.
We had corsets. And corsets. And corsets. These are for our supporting artists.
Here is one of Teresa’s costumes under construction. Sarah sourced beautiful fabrics for our period designs.
No tiny detail was overlooked in making our cast camera-ready. Here is Veronica making sure that Francoise (Holly Aird) is perfect right down to her fingernails.
Every supporting artist was dressed, made up, and their hair was done to perfection. No small task when you are trying to show the bustling court of Elizabeth I.