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After a plague, the appearance of a new ghost, a new baby, new loyalties, and some serious strife in court, the promise of a party is exactly what's needed to cheer royals up on the Oct. 16 episode of Reign. But it won't be just any celebration—episode 4 marks a royal coronation, during which Francis (Toby Regbo) and Queen Mary of Scotland (Adelaide Kane) will be crowned king and queen of France. The momentous occasion calls for a sumptuous wardrobe of rich fabrics, over-the-top crowns, exquisite jewelry, and fashion-forward clothing in keeping with the series' contemporary take on historical design. And of course, says costume designer Meredith Markworth-Pollack, special care was taken to create an incredibly detailed gown for France's new queen.
''I really love the straight line of an off-the-shoulder-look on Adelaide,'' says Markworth-Pollack of Kane. The Los Angeles-based designer sourced the gold-embroidered burgundy brocade from a furniture upholstery store because, she explains, ''more often than not, they have bigger quantities in stock than the fashion fabric stores.'' With approximately 12 yards of fabric in hand—and with a team of six seamstresses and designers—she created the dress in just two weeks. For the look worn by Francis (Toby Regbo), Markworth-Pollack designed a vest made from the same fabric as Mary's gown. His vintage fur-trimmed cape is an homage to his father, deceased King Henry (Alan Van Sprang). ''The design is a replica of one we used quite a bit on Henry,'' says Markworth-Pollack. ''[Francis is] usually in all black or with heavy metals, leathers and dark textures, so to wear something his father might have worn is an appropriate tribute.''
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Mary's gown includes an exaggerated train. ''I wanted something that really went above and beyond anything we've seen Mary wear before,'' says Markworth-Pollack, who cites photos of British Queen Victoria at her 1838 coronation as royal inspiration. But before diving into the design process, the costumer needed assurance that the train would be given the royal treatment. ''The director promised that if we built it, she would shoot it, which I find is not always the case,'' she says. ''You end up putting a lot of labor into something that because of the nature of TV, you don't always get to see the full effect of.''
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''Poor Toby—this is a heavy crown, which he had to endure for quite an amount of time,'' says Markworth-Pollack, former costumer on Gossip Girl. She's since sourced lighter crowns for the cast, explaining, ''These poor actors have to stand for 13 hours a day, and it's too much. The crowns are too heavy so the actors get headaches, and they fall off a lot and make a lot of noise.''
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The ornate gown worn by Kane called for equally extravagant jewelry, and these oxidized, gold-plated Swarovski crystal chandelier earrings from designer Vicki Sarge were ideal. ''I actually bought them from the [online retailer] The Outnet previously and they were so gorgeous I was holding off for a special moment to use them,'' says Markworth-Pollack of the $214.00 earrings. And no coronation scene would be complete with the all-important crown, which she purchased from vendor Courtly Charm on e-commerce website Etsy.
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Though Catherine de' Medici (Megan Follows) may have had to give up her title of queen, she's still very much a stylish member of the royal family. ''Her clothing is made from the same color palette,'' notes Markworth-Pollack of her rich burgundy attire. A necklace by designer Oscar de la Renta and a crown with ruby details from Deborah Moreland's collection complete her look. For those lusting for a crown of their own, Markworth-Pollack will launch a capsule collection of vintage-inspired headpieces in collaboration with bridal designer Amanda Judge later this year.
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Fans of Reign know the drama doesn't always consider historical accuracy when it comes to the romantic clothing styles worn by its cast. So it's fitting that nearly all the clothes worn by Mary's ladies-in-waiting are from contemporary designers: Kenna (Caitlin Stasey, left) dons Notte by Marchesa, and Greer (Celina Sinden, center) wears First Lady Michelle Obama's Tadashi Shoji. Lola (Anna Popplewell, right) is costumed in a vintage 1950s gown accessorized with a beaded shrug from mall retailer Anthropologie's bridal line, Beholden. Not to be outdone by the girls, Bash (Torrance Coombs, far left) and Count Condé (Sean Teale, far right) wear custom-made doublets. Gold accents are woven throughout each of the outfits worn by the supporting cast, explains Markworth-Pollack, ''because they fade out compared to the burgundies worn by the royals.''