How Bridgerton’s Hair & Makeup Designer Created Queen Charlotte’s Moving Wig

By Charlie Colville

2 weeks ago

The royal has no time to swan about this season – but her wig does


It’s only been a few hours since Bridgerton season 3 hit streaming platforms, but it’s already (quite rightly) the talk of the Ton. And while we’re already heavily invested in the Polin glow up, Francesca’s foray into society and Benedict’s new whirlwind romance, there’s one thing we can’t stop thinking about: Queen Charlotte’s carousel swan wig. We checked in with the show’s hair and makeup lead, Erika Ökvist, to find out what went into the fantastical design.

Inside Queen Charlotte’s Carousel Swan Wig In Bridgerton Season 3

Having watched Queen Charlotte onscreen for four years now, we’ve become rather well-acquainted with the monarch’s royally-approved wardrobe. Alongside her beautiful gowns, delicate slippers and lavish crowns, the Queen is known for her impressive collection of sky-high wigs – but in the latest instalment of Bridgerton, things take a turn towards even grander design.

‘I lose the most sleep over Queen Charlotte’s looks – but in a good way!’ says Bridgerton hair and makeup designer, Erika Ökvist. The designer has been working on the show since season 2, but this season she takes the lead. ‘I had an idea of where I wanted all the characters to end up for season 3,’ she explained. ‘I had to really hold the reins, and really hold myself back to make sure we tell the story of people developing in different ways.’

But that’s not to say Ökvist didn’t get to introduce a more playful flair to the show, especially when it came to Queen Charlotte. The royal’s wigs are bigger and better than ever this season, as she leans into regency opulence and modern sculpting techniques. But, as we mentioned, the wig that stole the show has to be the huge, powdered hairpiece draped in cream curls, bejewelled vines and, most importantly, a carousel of moving swans.

Eagle-eyed fans will have caught a glimpse of the wig in Bridgerton season 3 teasers on Instagram (like the one below), but, now that the series is finally out, we can see it in a lot more detail.

 

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‘Queen Charlotte has got this carousel wig that’s almost like a Fabergé egg,’ Ökvist tells us. ‘I’ve had the idea since season two, but there was never really scope to use it. To be honest, I don’t really know where it came from. I have no idea. But I was very thrilled to be able to use it in season 3.’

The wig makes its debut in the fourth episode of season 3, during the ballet-performance-turned-ball. Ökvist designed the wig with an open front that looks into a pond scene, complete with crystalline swans swimming along on white flower petals. The moving elements of this wig sets apart from all previous renditions of the Queen Charlotte’s hair – which we typically see arranged in intricate braids and knots, or tied up with gems and ribbons – and were crucial to the look and feel of the design. But it took quite a bit of planning to execute correctly. ‘I wanted to test a 3D print using clockwork, so I printed a design and then attached a motor to it,’ explains Ökvist. ‘I had to buy maybe two or three different motors until I got it right, because the first few kept spinning far too quickly.’

The swans are another clever element of the design. They’re a direct reference both to Queen Charlotte (since the British Crown technically owns all swans in the UK) and the plot of season 3 itself; with ‘Pen’ being the name given to female swans, it’s likely a play on Penelope Featherinton’s ugly duckling to sophisticated swan storyline. ‘I thought about what to put on top of the water – and, of course, it ended up being swans; they’re not only elegant, they’re also the Queen’s bird,’ said Ökvist. ‘To bring it all together, one of my makeup artists – a really talented artist – painted the backdrop with oil paint.’

The team had a lot of fun putting all the pieces together for the moving swan wig, although Ökvist admits there were a lot of technical elements – like wires and the weight of the wig itself. ‘And so, yeah, Golda [Rosheuvel, who plays Queen Charlotte] had a switch under her armpit, and we just put it on when we needed to,’ she says. ‘It was one of those fun things that left me thinking, “what else can I put in a wig?”‘

WATCH

You can see Queen’s Charlotte’s swan wig in action in part one of Bridgerton season 3, now streaming on Netflix. netflix.com

Featured image: Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024