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    18 Behind-The-Scenes Secrets About "The Crown" Costumes

    Who knew fake jewelry could look so good?

    If there's anything that can beat the stand-out acting on The Crown, it's the show's exquisite costumes.


    I mean, it did take home a 2017 Emmy for Outstanding Costumes for a Series, Limited Series or Movie.

    Well, the amazing costumes from Season 2 are currently open to the public thanks to The Paley Center for Media's new exhibition, The Crown: Imagining a Royal World.

    Brian To for The Paley Center for Media

    In honor of the exhibition, BuzzFeed chatted with Jane Petrie, the costume designer for Season 2 of The Crown. Here's everything we learned:

    1. All of the butterflies on Princess Margaret’s birthday dress were hand-sewn on.

    Brian To for The Paley Center for Media

    “There’s no quick way, there’s not shortcut with sequins and that kind of embroidery. If you’re doing something a bit heavier, you can do a bit of printing and then do a bit of embroidery on top and cheat it for camera...but there’s no chance on that kind of fine silk.” —Jane Petrie

    2. Since the costume team wasn't able to physically see the original butterfly dress, they had to base it off of photographs.

    Netflix, AP

    “I haven’t seen the real one in the flesh; it was taken from photographs. That’s the whole thing with The Crown: When you replicate and when you don’t, and when you make it up and design something fresh. And that [dress] was in the script. That dress was described by Peter Morgan and it was sort of specifically what was in his mind.” —JP

    3. As far as jewelry goes, they tend to use replicas of actual pieces of jewelry.

    Kin Cheung / AP, Netflix

    "We haven’t used anything real. We rent the pieces from a specific company. And then the rest, the other pieces [are] vintage pieces." —JP

    4. Another reason they use replicas is because fake jewelry usually looks better on screen.

    Netflix, Brian To for The Paley Center for Media

    “I’ve seen real diamonds on film before and they’re so sparkly, you almost want to tone it down because they start to look fake. And it feels like these ones kind of [look] just right for what the camera does. It’s only when you’re standing in a museum, you think, ‘Oh yeah, they’re not real.’ But on camera you can get so much sparkle that it just looks fake. We’re always about cheating.” —JP

    5. The dress that Elizabeth wears to the Ambassador’s Ball had to be done in a matter of days because it was a late addition to the script. In fact, the team didn’t even have time for a fitting.

    Brian To for The Paley Center for Media

    “We found out about that scene about a week before it was shot. All hands on deck, everyone has to stop for a second. So we had very little time to make that … By this time, [our cutter] knew Claire’s figure very well … Even with short notice, [the dress] just dropped on and fit really well.” —JP

    6. They also never had a fitting for Margaret’s wedding dress.

    Netflix, AP

    “That was really up against the schedule as well … It’s so easy to get a throwaway line in the script … It was literally a page at the back of the episode. It just said, 'Elizabeth’s looking at herself in the mirror, Anne’s getting ready, Charles is looking, and Philip’s getting ready' … Every single one of them had a new outfit made from head to toe.”

    7. The costumers had to make two versions of Elizabeth’s blue dress.

    Brian To for The Paley Center for Media, Netflix

    “We had to do it a few times because [the dress on exhibit] is the one that Claire wore as the Queen, so [it's] the … dumpy version. And then we have the version the model wore [in the episode's Hartnell fashion show]." —JP

    8. They had to add padding to Foy’s body since she’s smaller than the Queen was at the time.

    Netflix, Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

    “[For the blue dress], we padded Claire out.” —JP

    9. Jane took liberties with Jackie Kennedy's dress both because of the actor's figure, but also because she wanted to create contrast between Jackie and Elizabeth's looks.

    Netflix, AP

    “It just seemed to work really well for her. I wanted to push the contrast of the simplicity and the very, very fussy busy [dress] that the Queen had worn.” —JP

    10. She also ended up having to make a cape for Jackie’s dress during her lunch break once they realized they didn’t have any type of shawl for her.

    Brian To for The Paley Center for Media, Netflix

    “When [Jackie] went onto set in this dress in the morning, I thought, 'Oh god, she’s arriving, she needs another layer,' and we hadn't made it. I just missed it. I don’t think there’s even any excuse. And it was Sunday so there was no cutter working, and it was just us. I had to get a driver to drive me up to the studio and cut that … I made it in my lunch break, went back to set, dropped it on her, and then it’s been the bloody [piece] that’s ended up in exhibitions. I keep saying, ‘You can’t use that cape, it’s terrible.’” —JP

    11. As for Jackie’s famous pink suit, the fake blood the team used during filming still won't come out — not even with the help of a dry cleaner.

    Casey Rackham / BuzzFeed, Netflix

    12. Jane didn’t have enough fabric to replicate one of Margaret’s coats for Vanessa Kirby’s body double, so the team had to get creative and dye/paint a similar fabric.

    Brian To for The Paley Center for Media, Netflix, Casey Rackham / BuzzFeed

    “We bought [the cloth] right at the beginning [of the season] because I liked it so much, and then we heard, ‘Oh no, she’s going to go on the motorbike in that costume’ … But they sold [out of] that cloth and [we had to buy] an orange color. So we bought that and painted it in our dye room. So it looked fantastic, you couldn’t tell.” —JP

    13. During one of Margaret and Tony's motorcycle scenes, the team had to sneakily replace the bag Margaret was using because Vanessa accidentally lost it.

    Casey Rackham / BuzzFeed

    “Vanessa insisted on taking her handbag on the motorbike with her, which had her costume earrings and her phone in it because she wanted to have her phone in case somebody might [call] her while she was doing the scene … They stopped somewhere and they rode back, and she lost her handbag on the way around. So by the time they got back, there was no bag and no earrings and she had no phone, so we obviously had to cheat.” —JP

    14. Speaking of Margaret's coat, the costume department was able to have fun with Margaret’s looks because of Vanessa Kirby’s height.

    Netflix, AP

    “Vanessa Kirby is so much taller than Margaret. I think the real Margaret was 5’2”, and Vanessa is lovely and tall. If Vanessa had been 5’2”, I don’t think I would use that coat because it would be so dominant on a small frame, but she can really carry it.” —JP

    15. Though most outfits on the show can’t be reused…

    Brian To for The Paley Center for Media

    “It’s not the kind of world where you can repeat things. So you’re using it up, you’re throwing costumes over your shoulder all the time.” —JP

    16. ...they can get away with repeating some of the men’s looks…

    Brian To for The Paley Center for Media

    “You can use the evening suits for the men more than once.” —JP

    17. well as Elizabeth’s day looks…


    “The daywear she can wear again … [But] you’d only get that opportunity if it was logical for us.”

    18. Finding shoes that fit the time period and fit the actors’ shoe sizes is actually one of the most difficult parts of costuming!

    Casey Rackham / BuzzFeed

    “The shoes are a nightmare. Because we’ve all got big feet now, all the girls have size 6 or size 7 UK, so the vintage shoes that exist tend to be smaller sizes. It was a constant search … The shoes, I think, are an absolute giveaway when you’re faking...and hats. I was quite particular about using real shoes and real hats.” —JP

    The free exhibit, which is located in Los Angeles, is open to the public until July 29. For more information, check out their website.

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