What’s five centuries among friends? Especially when we’re talking terrific fashion.
In The CW’s “Reign,” the young Mary Stuart (Adelaide Kane) arrives in France for an arranged marriage to Prince Francis (Toby Regbo). Their wardrobes befit young royalty, but rather than the strictures of 16th-century court wear, with stiff frills and angular silhouettes, the costumes are an artistic blend of modern and period.
When costume designer Meredith Markworth-Pollack began working on the show, the idea was to create, “something slightly different to the costume dramas we had seen so far, especially because of the demographic of The CW, and bring in the element of contemporary fashion.”
There are a few edicts, though. No petticoats, no tights for men and no hip rolls for women. Fashionable in the Elizabethan era, hip rolls were essentially cushions worn at the hips to make the waist look smaller.
Lady-in-waiting Greer (Celina Sinden) wears what Markworth-Pollack describes as “by no means exactly period. It is a great example of more reminiscent of the era.”
She designed and built the dress made from metallic, soft brocade.
Markworth-Pollack and her staff hand-sewed beaded fabric across the chest line, wrists and hem of the skirt.
At a costume ball, Mary goes as Diana the huntress. “The arrow in her hand is the stem of her mask,” Markworth-Pollack says. “She has a quiver, and the quiver has green gemstones to match the dress.” The gown is from Basil Soda, a contemporary designer based in Lebanon. He also designed the exquisite black gown Mary wore in the pilot, which fanned out while she danced.
Catherine de’ Medici (Megan Follows) carries off the queen mother attitude with the required imperious flair. In this gown, which the costume designer calls “a metallic dirty sand” color, she, too, attends the costume ball. Markworth-Pollack found the fabulous cape of amber shades of velvet and the gown in the Warner Brothers Studio wardrobe department.
Tomas (Manolo Cardona), a prince of Portugal, wears a red leather doublet. “We called it the ‘Thriller’ coat, and he even gave us a Michael Jackson dance in it,” Markworth-Pollack says. “That came from one of the oldest and most established costume houses in Rome called Tirelli. And his cape is also from Tirelli.”
Mary wears an Alexander McQueen jacket over a custom-made black tulle skirt.
The crown is from contemporary designer Eugenia Kim. After Dolce & Gabbana’s runway show featured crowns, the headgear once worn only by royalty has become a trend.
“It is a very much a do-it-yourself kind of show,” Markworth-Pollack says. “I would hope that a young woman watching this thinking, ‘I can’t afford the Basil Soda gown’ — maybe so, but she could afford to go to the thrift store and find a gem of a 1950s floor-length prom dress and dye it, bead it and add a sleeve to it, and make it your own.”