How Elle Fanning Got Dressed in Catherine the Great's Coronation Gown, Pregnancy Corset and All
It took Elle Fanning 25 minutes to get dressed in her coronation gown as Catherine in Hulu's The Great. Don't forget, she's dressing for two this season. But Fanning is a pro when it comes to embracing her characters through wardrobe, and costume designer Sharon Long knew she would rise to the occasion. When she talked to POPSUGAR about dressing a baby bump in the 18th century, we discovered the plan was quite involved.
"There's not a massive amount of reference. You lose the 18th-century shape, which is a tiny waist with structure, and you get a raising belly that you have to accommodate while still making her look regal and light with a sense of purity and optimism," Long said, explaining that if there was any shift in the aesthetic from season one to two, it was in increasing patterns and jewellery as Catherine takes the throne and adopts her stature.
But Fanning also wore a pregnancy corset throughout filming. "It has openings on the sides that lace, so you can expand the corset as the tummy gets bigger and bigger. But since the corset is rigid and the bump is silicone, it was moving from side to side, so we ended up putting the corset under the bump, which helped retain the proper lines of the dress and kept her frame more closed, which felt more on par with the period."
For the coronation dress specifically, Long referenced 1990s and 2000s glamour from the likes of Christian Lacroix and Dolce & Gabbana. She looked to modern, voluminous shapes from Simone Rocha, Cecilie Bahnsen, and Balenciaga, which offer updated takes on opera and evening coats and robes. Believe it or not, as heavy, ornate, and downright complicated as the design looks to be — and Long breaks down its design process for us, ahead — Fanning wore it proudly with tall, gold Manolo Blahnik heels for the scene. You know what we say to that, don't you? Huzzah!