Bustling With 'Bridgerton': Eloise is Going with the Flow in Season 3

Claudia Jessie, Luke Newton, Ruth Gemmell, and Hannah Dodd in "Bridgerton" Season 3

Claudia Jessie, Luke Newton, Ruth Gemmell, and Hannah Dodd in "Bridgerton" Season 3

Liam Daniel/Netflix

Welcome to the second issue of Bustling With Bridgerton, where we celebrate and delve into the costumes designed for Bridgerton’s most interesting characters. Between the releases of the season’s two halves, costume designer John Glaser, along with associate costume designer Dougie Hawkes and assistant costume designer Henry Wilkinson, sat down with Telly Visions to chat about the visual inspirations, character and story arcs that they drew on for each character’s looks as her position in the ton and their experiences with the mysterious Lady Whistledown ebb and flow. The previous issue in this series covered developments in Queen Charlotte’s costumes across Bridgerton’s three seasons so far. This week, we dive into Violet Bridgerton’s fifth child overall, Eloise Bridgerton, former ride-or-die of Penelope Featherington and current BFF of Cressida Cowper. 

Previously, On Bridgerton 

Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie) — a middle child and the second of her family’s four daughters — has spent her first two seasons on the marriage mart (ew) feeling out of place. After her sister Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) made a splash in her first and only season, becoming a duchess by marrying Simon Bassett, Duke of Hastings (Régé-Jean Page), her sisters might all be expected to make similarly impressive matches. However, the rules, expectations, and niceties of the ton are not remotely Eloise’s cup of tea. She wears the Neoclassical, empire-waisted dresses that we associate so strongly with the Regency period, but that’s probably only because well-cut trousers won’t be available for women at the modiste for nearly another century.

Claudia Jessie as Eloise Bridgerton reading the latest Lady Whistledown in 'Bridgerton' Season 1

Claudia Jessie as Eloise Bridgerton in 'Bridgerton' Season 1

Liam Daniel/Netflix

Eloise is deeply invested in reading, fulminating on the inequities of marriage writ large, and ferreting out the true identity of Lady Whistledown (voiced by Dame Julie Andrews, a fact which never ceases to delight me). To the degree that she does think about fashion, it’s a distant, very low-ranking concern. Eloise isn’t entirely the rebel she aspires to be, however. When we first meet her, the entire Bridgerton family is heading to the palace for Daphne’s presentation to Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) and the royal court, and for this event, Eloise has fallen in line by wearing a dress that almost entirely matches those worn by her younger sisters. The three look like a trio of minutely detailed petit-fours, all marble-white voile, lace, organdy, and pale, peachy pink embroidery and ribbons, with necklines so high that they nearly meet the girls’ earlobes. Oh, and impractically dainty white gloves – can’t forget those! 

Personalizing Within the Parameters

Claudia Jessie as Eloise in her own take on Regency Fashion in 'Bridgerton' Season 3

Claudia Jessie as Eloise in her own take on Regency Fashion in 'Bridgerton' Season 3

Liam Daniel/Netflix

When left to her own devices, however, Eloise has favored the less-fussy, but still societally appropriate empire-waisted column gowns of the era, often paired with adorable, dress-matching cropped military-inspired jackets, as well. We’ve also seen her in dresses in the Regency style, where she’s in the ultra-tasteful Bridgerton family pastel shades, and she’s added a personalizing twist of having lapels or standing collars so she’s not totally smothered by the requisite femininity of the era. 

Eloise & Cressida: A Study in Contrasts

Jessica Madsen as Cressida Cowper and Claudia Jessie as Eloise promenading on the promenade in 'Bridgerton' Season 3

Jessica Madsen as Cressida Cowper and Claudia Jessie as Eloise in 'Bridgerton' Season 3

Liam Daniel/Netflix

When Bridgerton’s third season opens, Eloise has had it with fighting against the tide. Following her awful breakup with BFF Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) at the end of Season 2 and choosing to befriend Cressida (Jessica Madsen) in Penelope’s absence, we now see Eloise in costumes that hearken back a bit to the hyperfeminine fussiness of her first appearance. Glaser highlights that “this is her third year on the marriage mart, and we wanted to be able to have her appear with Cressida and Penelope and be on the same playing field” in that arena. To that end, Eloise’s ballgowns incorporate more shimmer and luxe beading, and even the aesthetic of her daytime looks is more adventurous than in prior seasons.

Her friendship with Cressida would have played a role, as well, in terms of colors and decorative elements. Eloise isn’t the type to go all-out with unexpected fabrics – no baby pink marabou bodices for her, thank you – but everything she wears is softer and more layered. One of the standout moments, which practically screams, “Cressida made her buy this,” features the two friends out on the Promenade in this season’s first episode. Cressida is gliding elegantly down the path with a perfect, height-emphasizing posture, while Eloise looks a bit more tentative. They wear floor-length dusters in shades of pale mauve (Cressida) and celadon green (Eloise). Cressida’s is a froth of chiffon ruffles, while Eloise’s is far more restrained, with a flat surface featuring brocade and embroidered floral elements. Glaser’s blunt assessment is that “It was time for her to stop being a boy and a bookworm” and notes that having “lost that romantic connection with Theo the printer, she’s let that go, too. She’s a different person.” Happily, Claudia Jessie “loved it” and was fully on board for all of the changes in Eloise’s wardrobe.

Eloise's Continuing Style Choices

Jessica Madsen as Cressida Cowper, Claudia Jessie as Eloise Bridgerton dsit in the opera box in 'Bridgerton' Season 3

Jessica Madsen as Cressida Cowper, Claudia Jessie as Eloise Bridgerton in 'Bridgerton' Season 3

Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024

As our conversation took place prior to the release of this season’s second half, Glaser could not furnish details about Eloise’s costuming journey, but he teased that for those of us pining for her no-nonsense looks from seasons past, “We can’t say anything [specific], but don’t worry.” 

Let’s resolve to relish the speculative feeling of anticipation while we can!

Bridgerton Seasons 1, 2, and 3, Part 1 are currently streaming on Netflix, along with the prequel Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story. Season 3, Part 2, will debut on Thursday, June 13, 2024. Season 4 is already in pre-production.

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Sophie has been happily steeping in the potent brew of British TV since her parents let her stay up late on a Thursday watching the Jeremy Brett adaptation of Sherlock Holmes. She loves mysteries, espionage thrillers, documentaries, and costume dramas, and if you're not careful, she might talk your ear off about the Plantagenets. Sorry about that in advance! 

You can find Sophie on all the platforms as @sophiebiblio and keep an eye on her bylines from all over the internet via her handy portfolio.

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