‘The Great’ Costume Designer Faced Unexpected Challenges With Peters Wardrobe During Tragic Season 3 Scenes

“The Great” costume designer Sharon Long faced one of her biggest challenges in the show’s third season: Creating outfits that would work as well underwater as they would on land.

And among those, one in particular stood out. “The swimsuit,” Long says, referring to the outfit worn by Belinda Bromilow in the eighth episode, titled “Peter and the Wolf.”

The third season of the Hulu series begins with Catherine (Elle Fanning) and Peter(Nicholas Hoult) in love. As adventures of a lavish, grand and decadent royal court continue to play out and themes of feminism and power weave through, Long opted for richer fabrics to show Catherine’s sense of empowerment.

In earlier seasons, Catherine wore blues and subtle colors, but her costumes evolved into a pink palette. Once Peter dies, Long put Fanning in his clothes. “I put her in Peter’s massive coat. Elle could wear that without drowning in it. But it was interesting to put her in costumes designed for someone else, in this case, Nick, and seeing how that worked.” She continues, “By doing that, it showed how vulnerable she was, but yet, she still had presence.”

In episode 6, Peter meets his untimely death after plunging through a frozen lake, and Long had to work on a costume he could “drown” in. Peter is wearing a cloaked uniform. Her biggest concern was once Hoult entered the water, the cloak would float up and obscure him for the cameras. Her solution was to make slight adjustments.

She built variations of Peter’s costume: One was for when he was on horseback. “If you notice, the sleeves are not attached to the cloak,” she says. Once he’s submerged underwater, she adjusted the sleeves and attached the cloak to them so “the costume wouldn’t flipup and go over his face.” And another trick was to add light weights to pull the outfit down.

The other water challenge was air bubbles. “I didn’t realize you had to make sure there was no air inside the costume because otherwise there would be bubbles coming from it and obscuring him,” Long says. Elizabeth’s metallic outfit presented another challenge.

In episode 8, Aunt Elizabeth travels to the frozen lake. Unable to handle her grief, she jumps in, wanting to retrieve his dead body.

The challenge was finding a costume that worked underwater and didn’t fall apart or float up. In this case, she had figured out the latter, but since Bromilow was wearing a metallic outfit — “I wanted her in metallic” — the costume’s appearance changed once it was submerged.

How did she navigate that? Explains Long: “I realized we had to soak the outfit before she went into the water.”

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