All hail the fashion! Netflix’s critically-acclaimed limited series, The Queen’s Gambit, and the upcoming Season 4 of The Crown, have both been heralded for their authentic costume designs. Now, Netflix viewers will be able to learn more of the respective shows’ iconic ensembles with a virtual museum showcase.
From Margaret Thatcher’s royal blue boucle power suit to Beth’s end game dress, the costume collection displays a variety of materials, colors, and styles, spanning decades. The showcase also positions garments alongside related items from Brooklyn Museum’s permanent collection, curated by Matthew Yokobosky.
Virtual attendees can interact with costume-clad mannequins throughout the exhibit, engaging with both series clips and 360-degree perspectives providing detailed insight to the garment selection. Guests are invited to also watch a recorded discussion moderated by Academy Award-winning costume designer Ruth Carter with costume designers Gabriele Binder (The Queen’s Gambit) and Amy Roberts (The Crown), and Brooklyn Museum curator Matthew Yokobosky.
Carter encouraged both Binder and Roberts to dissect their curation of selected costumes from both shows. Costume designer Binder explained that for The Queen’s Gambit, she wanted to develop a color palette that mirrored Beth’s journey to empowerment, while also taking into account the different location changes from Kentucky to Paris.
“We tried to define every place by the colors,” Binder said, crediting production designer Uli Hanisch as the “architect” of the series. “The color palette had a strong emotional connection with the viewer.”
Beth’s final end game dress, created by Binder, coupled late 1960s style with Beth’s signature cool green color that she wore as a child. This color decision was an important full circle for Binder to visually compare Beth’s final moment onscreen with when audiences first saw her.
Similarly, The Crown costume designer Roberts wanted to emphasize the changes of the royal family from Season 3 to Season 4. Roberts described the “sugared almond colors” like pinks and lilacs that the Queen wore going into the 1970s. Now approaching the 1980s in Season 4, Roberts wanted to show a different side of Queen Elizabeth II. “She’s steadier, settled into her role as mother to her four children…and being the queen, the monarch,” Roberts explained. “I felt we needed to make her more earthed. She was a bit more rooted.”
In contrast, Queen Elizabeth’s sister Margaret has been enduring personal struggle. “Her life is just toxic and tragic. You take somebody with color very much into a darker, more muted, bruised palette,” Roberts stated.
Season 4 also introduces Princess Diana to audiences, and Roberts infused the iconic Princess Di’s costumes with her signature hopeful pastels and effortless statement pieces. The Australian tour ensembles from 1983 are part of the Princess’ outfits on display.
“It was challenging for the costume team to source the correct type of fabrics for Diana’s 17 Australian tour outfits,” the caption for a pink dress states. “The dresses she wore were specific to the 80s in terms of color, shade and particular weight of the fabrics, which were mainly silks, and therefore how they draped on the body. As with everything in fashion, fabric trends move on too, meaning the specificity of those particular fabrics was harder to source in contemporary fabric shops. However, through a combination of sourcing vintage fabric, dying existing ones and having it made as well as continuing to hunt for it, the team made a collection authentically fitting to the rest of Diana’s season 4 wardrobe.”
The Crown‘s costume collection encompassed the Queen’s sturdy approach to fashion, alongside Princess Diana’s iconic eye, and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s suitable styles. Thatcher’s own fashion evolution is contained to Season 4, beginning with soft feminine 70s-inspired bowed blouses and ending with sharper suits, reflecting the changes within her career.
Fans of The Crown, The Queen’s Gambit, and fashion history will adore the interactive virtual exhibit, now streaming.
“The Queen and The Crown: A Virtual Costume Exhibition” is available on the Brooklyn Museum site.