E! Network’s first scripted series, “The Royals” is pushing the boundaries on royal drama and royal fashion as well. The contrast between members of the fictional British royal family’s fashion statements could not be more stark. There are differing opinions on which members of the real British royal family inspired the fictional ones, but everyone agrees the fashion is over the top. Rachel Walsh, the show’s leading costume designer says,”The looks for this show are limitless. “It’s a mixture of cutting-edge contemporary for the younger characters, classic elegance for the older.”
Queen Helena played by Elizabeth Hurley, is the family’s matriarch and style powerhouse. Joan Collins, aka Dynasty’s Alexis Carrington, was the inspiration for the fashion silhouette shaping Queen Helena. While 80’s wide shoulder and cinched waist silhouette defined Dynasty’s fashion, Queen Helena wears figure hugging dresses in luxurious textures and fabrics that symbolize her role as a major power player in the family. Vera Wang, Victoria Beckham, and Dolce & Gabbana are some of the labels worn by Elizabeth Hurley.
Vying for power in the family and fashion, is Princess Eleanor played by Alexandra Park. This was made most evident in Episode 3 where Queen Helena and Princess Eleanor engage in a power struggle for fashion dibs during London Fashion Week, a face off on who will hold their show where and who will were purple, the color of royalty. Queen Helena, while trying to decide which of two purple dresses to wear, is blindsided by Eleanor who calls “bagsy” (the British version of dibs) and shows up wearing a mini dress with purple sequined bodice and purple feather skirt. Eleanor’s fashion statement is a mix of high and low fashion, “We’ll put [Park] in Topshop, but it might be mixed with an Alexander McQueen piece. It’s that real eclectic quality. She’s the kind of girl you see and think, ‘I can achieve that look.’ We call her our Gothic fairy princess,” says Walsh, “She’s grungy, urban and edgy.” The inspiration for Princess Eleanor was inspired by young women in London’s hip Shore Ditch neighborhood.
Rounding out the female fashion lineup are Princesses Penelope and Maribel daughters of King Simon’s brother, Cyrus. There is no debate about the inspiration for “Tweedledum and Tweedledumber” as Queen Helena refers to the two characters who provide some comic relief. The consensus is that Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice were the fashion inspiration for Penelope and Maribel’s comic like peacock wardrobe consisting of statement piece on top of statement piece.
And finally, there is Cyrus, played by Jake Maskall, the dandy wanna be king and brother of King Simon. As a fashionista he can hold his own against the Queen and Princess. His outfits consist of a mixture of colors and patterns in anything but neutral colors. It’s not unusual to see him in pink jacket with a striped purple and white shirt and polka dot or paisley ascot worn with blue trousers. Casual for Cyrus is a floor length silk paisley bathrobe.
WornOnTV.net which features fashion from TV shows and where to find it has a page dedicated to fashion looks from The Royals. A click on an outfit will take you to where you can purchase the outfit and how much it costs. A click on the purple sequined and feather dress worn by Princess Eleanor shows that it can be had from eBay for $150. Several of Queen Helena’s dresses came from Saks Fifth Ave. and Nordstrom. Many outfits have sold out as they are noted “no longer available.” For instance, Queen Helena’s royal blue silk satin dress by Dolce & Gabbana which was from Saks is no longer available, but you can still get Princess Eleanor’s purple metallic skater dress from TopShop for $150.
As they say, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” You can say that about The Royals fashion vibe. They are every bit the 21st century British version of the 80’s Dynasty. Beautiful, powerful women outfitted in over the top fashion pitted against each other. Oh, and Joan Collins, Alexis Carrington from Dynasty, is back as The Grand Duchess, mother to Queen Helena. Stay tuned to see who wins the fashion sweepstakes.