Fearful of footwear. Nicola Coughlan’s bright dresses and floral headpieces may have taken center stage in Bridgerton season one, but fans might have noticed that the show leaned into the 35-year-old actress’ shorter stature.
And there’s a good reason why. It turns out, the star, who plays Penelope Featherington, simply couldn’t get the hang of her high heels — and she was “terrified” of getting fired for it.
“Ellen Mirojnick, who is the costume designer on season one, said, ‘You’re tiny, you’re too small so we’re gonna put you in heels,’” Coughlan recalled in an interview with The One Show. “I was just terrified to get fired because I couldn’t believe my luck at getting the job. I said, ‘Yes, absolutely.’ If they were like, ‘You have to wear a giant clown suit,’ I would have been like, ‘I would love that, yes please.’”
Long story short, the Harlots star agreed to wear some seriously high heels — and it wasn’t smooth sailing. “On my first day on set, we were walking around and I toppled over not once, not twice, but three times,” the actress joked. “Three times! I thought, ‘They’re going to think I’m drunk. they’re going to think I’m crazy,’” she admitted.
Thankfully, such was not the case. The costume designers and producers “very quickly realized” that walking in heels was not in the cards for Coughlan’s character and simply cut sky-high shoes from Penelope’s wardrobe.
But even without pumps and wedges, the star, who was later revealed to be Lady Whistledown, had quite the memorable wardrobe. With empire-waist gowns, corsets and necklaces galore, Coughlan had quite a seriously colorful look on the Netflix series.
And get this: Coughlan’s personal style even ended up taking a bit of inspo from her fictional character. Her stylist, Aimée Croysdill, told Popsugar that the actress’ awards show outfits were most likely “subconsciously inspired” by the fashion on the show.
“We never set out for it to be that way, but Penelope’s wardrobe is so incredible, it’s likely we were inspired by her,” Crosydill said.
For the 2021 awards show circuit, Coughlan leaned toward bright colors, tulle materials and puff sleeves — styles that are synonymous with regenecycore style. Perhaps the most jaw-dropping look of them all was the pale yellow Molly Goddard gown she wore to the Golden Globes. The tulle number was teamed with a little black cardigan.
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