The Starting Point When costume designer Meredith Markworth-Pollack first spoke to Reign co-creator Laurie McCarthy about how to dress a teen Mary, Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane), McCarthy told her to think free…as in Free People. ”It became clear to me that we were not necessarily stuck to an exact historical replica,” says Markworth-Pollack, who drew inspiration from Tilda Swinton’s Chanel campaign, Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, and the 1994 film La Reine Margot. ”The creators wanted to avoid the stiffness that we associate with Elizabethan fashion.” For the pilot, she took McCarthy at her word and tweaked a Free People dress for Mary by adding sleeves and hand-beading: ”That was the first piece where I really felt, ‘This is what we’re doing now.”’
Head Case Markworth-Pollack worried that crowns would be too severe for the bohemian etherealness she hoped to evoke. The fix was simple: a jeweled headband — from sources like Debra Moreland, BHLDN, Etsy, Deepa Gurnani, and Jenny Packham — which offers ”a pop of royalty.” Adds the costumer, ”On really formal occasions, she’ll wear something a little more elaborate and intricate.”
Designer Goods Alexander McQueen is one of Markworth-Pollack’s biggest inspirations, but buying just one McQueen gown would eat up the budget of an entire episode. Instead, she relies on designers such as Basil Soda and boutiques like Les Habitudes in Los Angeles, which is where this corseted look came from. ”The corset was very angelic and had a fairy-tale element to it,” she says.
The Rules of the Game Reign isn’t a slave to historical accuracy, but Markworth-Pollack quickly realized the show needed to abide by a few rules, starting with skirt length. ”Anything above the knee,” she says, is ”way too contemporary.” Does she think Reign‘s more demure style could catch on? ”I think headpieces and the romantic feel of these long chiffon dresses — I imagine that could become a trend.”
New Drama, 9 p.m., The CW
”It’s like Gossip Girl, Game of Thrones, and Felicity in a blender,” exec producer Laurie McCarthy says of the series, which follows a young Mary (Adelaide Kane) as she arrives at French court to be with her betrothed, Prince Francis (Toby Regbo)…only to find he doesn’t want to wed yet for political reasons. And Mary’s life will be threatened by others who oppose the alliance. At least there’s plenty of eye candy: As Kane says, ”We’re just swarming around in haute couture and stilettos.” Oct. 17