'Fit Check

Meet The Artists Behind Penelope’s Season 3 Glow-Up

John Glaser and Erika Okvist explain the costume and makeup choices for Bridgerton’s leading lady.

Bridgeton Season 3 costume designer and MUA reveal fun Easter eggs.

When Bridgerton’s costume designer and hair and makeup artist started working on Season 3, they purposefully didn’t include many Easter eggs. If you can’t quite pinpoint the shade of Penelope’s dress, for example, that was intentional. They deliberately wanted to keep viewers on their toes.

“Easter eggs tell the future of a story, and that's not our job to give hints to the future,” John Glaser, the costume designer, tells Bustle. “We know the audience looks at that, and we didn't want to give them any hint as to what direction she was going [in].”

Glaser and Erika Okvist, the hair and makeup artist, understand the tenacity of the fandom firsthand, having worked on Seasons 1 and 2 — and their expertise shines in Season 3. Spoilers ahead for Bridgerton.

After years on the marriage market, Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) takes matters into her own hands. “She needed a glow-up because she was determined to get herself a husband,” says Okvist, who previously worked on Downton Abbey. “And what do you do then? ‘I've got to make myself desirable.’” As with all great pop-culture makeovers, her new look came with a dramatic big reveal.

Below, Glaser and Okvist discuss glow-ups, Kate and Anthony’s wardrobes, and a “huge” Easter egg.

Penelope, played by Nicola Coughlan, in Bridgerton Season 3. Liam Daniel/Netflix

Can you talk me through Penelope's makeover this season, and her emerald-green dress?

Okvist: For Nicola, it felt very natural to go with Old Hollywood glam, like Rita Hayworth or Marilyn Monroe. Her features suit that very well.

Glaser: The emerald green is a Featherington color. There's copper in there to go along with the hair, but it's darker [shades] that she's never worn, like the black gloves.

Her new dresses feature more revealing necklines than the rest of the ton, and her waist becomes a lot more defined as the season progresses. How does that reflect her arc?

O: That initial look is like her look DNA, and then we deviate from it as she develops further. By the end of [the season], she’ll have figured out her own elegance and look.

G: It’s the same for the shape. The show takes place in 1813. That new shape [with a more defined waistline] is based on 1820, but that’s not its final configuration. That happens a few episodes later, where we get into the real new shape [with a contoured waist].

We vary often and refine it as we go along. We can change the color — and we intentionally took color away from her so that there weren't any Easter eggs. If you look at her dresses, it's hard to tell whether they're blue or green. They're both blue and green. Or they're pink and they're silver. We know the audience looks at that, and we didn't want to give them any hints as to what direction she was going [in].

O: Also, those colors are the most flattering for her skin tone. Whatever you wear reflects back up in your face. The wig she wears in Season 1 is the same wig she wears now, in Season 3. Because in Season 1 she was wearing yellow and oranges, it looked much more red and her skin looked ruddier, whereas now she's wearing a paler blue, and it looks like a more sophisticated red. But it is the same wig.

The buzzy “carriage scene.”Liam Daniel/Netflix

Bridgerton is known for steamy scenes, and Penelope’s first one with Colin is the carriage scene in Episode 4. How did you choose her pale green dress with its gold sequins?

G: The dress was designed and made out of fabric that was reflective for night, to be magical and spectacular in that moment. It's made of really delicate sheer fabric so that there's easy movement between the two of them. There’s no hindrance of a big petticoat. We wanted it to kind of be part of her skin. The sheen.

She had a glow-up moment before. This is the [second] glow-up, the physical glow-up. It's the simplest dress. It just becomes part of her body.

Can you talk about how Kate's look has evolved since marrying a Bridgerton?

G: In Season 2, they wanted her to be part of the Bridgerton world. Now that she’s secure in that world, they’ve gone back to India in this season. We wanted to show that she’s gone home, she's confident in herself, and to show her heritage. Her dresses are based on a sari shape — not so much the 1813 shape — and their colors are more indigenous to her heritage. She’s now the viscountess, so she can wear what she wants.

Actually Anthony has a small influence from India, too. Very subtle. We put Indian embroidery on him.

Kate and Anthony in Season 3.Liam Daniel/Netflix

In the fourth episode, Queen Charlotte wears a carousel hairpiece with glass sculptures. What was the inspiration for that?

O: It was an idea I had from Season 2, but there wasn’t an event suitable for her to wear it. Because clockworks were invented in the 1290s, I 3D-printed a clockwork. [I thought], What would be suitable to have in a royal’s wig? It has to be swans. So I put glass swans, had a backdrop painted by one of my makeup artists, and made the wig almost into a Fabergé egg.

G: It's also the queen presenting this ball, so it gives a great focal point. This is her moment. Add some swans.

O: Probably the most difficult thing this season was trying to make that clockwork quiet enough, so that she can have it on while having a dialogue.

Can you share some hidden costume details from Part 1?

G: For Colin, there's a vest he wears that has animals on it. We used it because he's been traveling, so it shows we know he's been traveling. Francesca wears a Spencer [dress], made out of leftover fabric from Princess Diana, from a dress you've seen a million times. That’s a huge Easter egg.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.