In the rich history of the British royals, few moments stand out like the one involving Princess Kate Middleton’s see-through dress. This particular event from 2002, where Kate walked the runway in a student fashion show, has become a central focus in the latest episodes of Netflix’s The Crown.
The final season of Peter Morgan’s drama is divided into two parts. The first part, released last month, covered the period leading up to Princess Diana’s death in 1997. The second part shifts to Prince William’s time at St Andrews University and the start of his relationship with Kate Middleton, featuring the memorable see-through dress moment.
Meg Bellamy, a 21-year-old actor portraying a teenage Middleton in the series, shared her excitement about recreating this iconic dress. Walking down the runway to Moloko’s 2000 hit, “The Time is Now,” Bellamy expressed nervousness about the sheer dress but found comfort and empowerment on set.
The scene is more than just about the dress; it symbolizes a crucial moment in the royal romance narrative. The St Andrews charity fashion show is believed to be the catalyst for William and Kate’s love story, a depiction echoed in The Crown. Recreating the dress for the screen, however, posed challenges. The legal team had to be involved due to the need to replicate existing clothing, and in this case, the original designer, Charlotte Todd, declined permission. The Crown’s costume designers, Sid Roberts and Amy Roberts, had to make subtle changes while keeping the dress recognizable.
Choosing the right underwear was a crucial aspect, considering the dress’s sheerness. Amy and Sid modified details like the color of the ribbon and used different netting materials. They also worked closely with Bellamy to ensure her comfort with the undergarments. The filming experience was particularly thrilling for Bellamy, who landed her first major role through an audition she found on The Crown’s Twitter account.
Legal considerations & recreating Princess Kate Middleton’s dress
In summary, the recreation of Kate Middleton’s see-through dress in The Crown involved legal considerations, creative modifications, and collaborative efforts to capture the essence of a significant moment in royal history.
Recreating Kate Middleton’s sheer dress for The Crown wasn’t as straightforward as it may seem. Sid Roberts, part of the award-winning costume designer team with her mother Amy Roberts since the third season of the show, explained the process involves checking with the legal department to ensure permission to replicate existing clothing. In this case, the original designer, Charlotte Todd, declined permission, leading to the need for a recreation that remained recognizable to the audience.
When permission is denied, the team must make at least five distinct changes to the design. For Kate’s dress, details like the color of the ribbon were altered. The original stretchy knit material was replaced with two types of netting, and the waistband underwent significant changes, including a thicker stripe of blue at the hemline with a threaded ribbon.
Choosing suitable underwear was crucial for the entirely sheer look. Amy mentioned using a bandeau bra, a popular choice at the time, to create a casual appearance. Sid emphasized the importance of ensuring that it appeared as if Kate had casually put it on. The comfort of the actor, Meg Bellamy, was a priority, involving trying on about 10 pairs of knickers and discussing preferences.
The Challenges for Actors of ‘The Crown’
The scene was particularly exposing for Bellamy, who landed her first major role after auditioning through a casting call on The Crown’s Twitter account while working as a mascot in Legoland. Despite the nerves and uncertainties, the supportive atmosphere on set, with cheers from fellow actors and music by Kylie, made each take exciting.
Bellamy’s nervous energy was intentionally preserved, with movement coach Polly Bennett avoiding overtraining to maintain the authenticity of her performance, especially in the pivotal fashion show scene. Working closely with Bennett added to the overall positive experience for the newcomer in her first major role.
Every member of the cast has the option to work with Bennett, and Bellamy started collaborating with her early on. Bennett’s approach involves creating a psychological foundation, considering what the character is doing, who they are doing it for, and what they reveal about their body. In preparation for the scene, loud music played as Bennett had Meg strut in a room, experiencing the feeling of performing in front of a crowd.
The revealing nature of the outfit added complexity to the scene, given its context. Kate not only needs to walk confidently but also with a touch of sensuality and heightened awareness of her body being prominently displayed. Teaching someone to exude sexiness involves giving them a private thought to convey a personal narrative as they walk. For Meg, Bennett guided her with a thought like, “I love myself, somebody else loves me, and I’ve got a secret.” This technique, reminiscent of old burlesque tricks, adds intention to the walk, altering the character’s relationship to the space and how they are perceived.
Despite the uncertainty about the accuracy of the on-screen love story’s early stages, such as the rumored “Wow!” from William upon seeing Kate on the runway (not depicted in the show), the moment holds significance in the Prince and Princess of Wales’s narrative. It represents a shift in power dynamics, with Kate becoming the focal point while William observes from the sidelines. According to Bennett, this scene marks a pivotal moment where the dynamics of their relationship start to change.
‘The Crown’ season 6 part two is out now on Netflix. Watch now for more!