The new ‘Bridgerton’ jewelrycollection kicks off Shondaland's “seat at the table” initiative.
"It’s what we’ve dreamt about as designers: to be included and to have a seat at the table," said costume designer Ellen Mirojnick on a call before the launch of the Bridgerton x Monica Rich Kosann fine jewelry collection on November 15.
The first season's costume designer for Bridgerton and the New York City jeweler are working together. This is also the start of Shondaland's new "Seat at the Table" program, which is meant to include creatives in licensing deals.
Mirojnick is largely responsible for the ongoing "Regencycore" trend, which is fueled by the show Bridgerton. He created the show's influential Easter Egg-colored palette of modern and Regency-Era silhouettes.
Before the Netflix hit's second season started last spring, searches for corsets and empire waist dresses went up by 123% and 93%, respectively. The costumes for the first season were designed by season one assistant Sophie Canale.
But Mirojnick wasn't involved in previous fashion collaborations based on Bridgerton, such as shoes with Malone Souliers and floral dresses with Spanish fast-fashion brand Stradivarius, or a partnership to help women with Hill House Home and Meena Harris' Phenomenal.
In fact, studios and production companies have been putting out licensed collections for a long time that don't include the original artists behind the well-known, trendsetting looks. This is especially true now that there are so many streamers.
Bridgerton is owned by Netflix, which often releases collaborations, like a Stranger Things line with Balmain that was inspired by 1980s mall rats but didn't mention Amy Parris, who designed the last two seasons.
But in 2014, Scandal costume designer Lyn Paolo and star Kerry Washington worked with The Limited to make Olivia Pope's power clothes more accessible to fans. Mirojnick says, "Some of us have experienced [being included in a collaboration], a lot of us haven’t,"
The Costume Designers Guild has been talking about this issue more and more over the years, especially during its recent campaign for equal pay.
So, the "Seat at the Table" initiative by Shondaland is important. In its announcement, the company says that "it will be partnering with the incredibly talented artists from their various productions to create products that are both representatives of the creators’ work on their respective shows as well as the creators themselves."
The production company has decided to officially include costume designers and, in the future, other creatives who work behind the scenes in deals for merchandise and collaborations. These are the people who help fans imagine the worlds they see on TV and want to bring into their own lives. Why now, though?
Sandie Bailey, Shondaland's chief design and digital media officer, says, "We started asking ourselves why more media companies aren’t recognizing their production creatives in this way and examining how our choices and consumer products could be rooted in bringing others up the ladder with us,".
The initiative is also in line with Shondaland and Netflix's efforts toward diversity, equity, and inclusion, such as the Producers Initiative Programs and The Ladder Program, which were announced in May.
Bailey, who used to work in Scandal's set decoration department, says, "We’ve challenged ourselves to bring the people who’ve made our storytelling possible into the spotlight along with us now" "We truly believe in that phrase, ‘It takes a village,’ and why can’t we recognize that village? We don’t need to take up all the space, and we aren’t the only ones deserving of the financial success that comes along with these projects."
A spokesperson for Shondaland said that the company wouldn't say anything about how the "A Seat at the Table" deals were made.
Mirojnick and Bridgerton started "Seat at the Table," which is now filming its third season. This happened naturally while they were making the April 2021 episode of Bridgerton: The Official Podcast that was about costumes. Bailey explains:
I really saw [Mirojnick’s] passion for what she does, her passion for the fans, and thought, ‘Why wouldn’t we bring her along on this journey?'. Who better to deliver accessible and modern-day versions of some of the things we see on the show when she’s the person who started it all?- Bailey
Shondaland had already worked with Monica Rich Kosann and agreed with the jewelry company's commitments to social responsibility and its goal of empowering women. Mirojnick was also very happy.
Says Mirojnick, who explains that the two did well throughout the design process, from coming up with ideas and sketches to getting final approvals, even though they were on different coasts.
Meeting Monica Rich Kosann was just the most joyous, joyous, joyous collaboration I could ever have.- Mirojnick
The end result captures the essence of Bridgerton in three main Regency-inspired modern styles: a crown-shaped poesy ringwith the word "queen" written on it, a bumblebee charm with precious gems, and a romantic locket with heart-shaped vine-detailing and a "B" to honor the series.
The styles can be worn in different ways. For example, the ring can be worn as a pendant on a chain, and the locket and bee can be worn as charms on a bracelet. Prices for 18-karat goldpieces range from $815 to $3,250, and prices for sterling silverrange from $160 to $685.
Mirojnick is so happy about the collection that she says, "It is definitely Bridgerton." She also says that it is "truthful." She continues:
It is not somebody else’s interpretation of Bridgerton. It comes from the root source and the fans will know that it really feels like a modern interpretation. It isn’t part of Bridgerton's history, but it creates a new history: an extension of Bridgerton.- Mirojnick
With the fourth season of the show in the works, Bailey and her team are already thinking about how they can work together again. Also, as "Seat at the Table" grows and adds more content, there are more ways than just costume design for creative people to get paid and have their work shown off in marketing.
“[The collaborations] could be in varying ways, maybe they’re consulting, maybe they’re like Ellen actually being able to design in the process,” says Bailey, who also emphasizes showcasing and empowering designers, brands, and creatives from underrepresented communities. “There can be lots of ways that we can include them and give them the shout-outs that they really deserve.”
You can only find the Bridgerton x Monica Rich Kosann Fine Jewelry Collection on monicarichkosann.com and in Monica Rich Kosann's New York City stores in Columbus Circle and Hudson Yards.