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‘The Spanish Princess’ Costume Designer Breaks Down Dressing Queen Catherine in Season 2

The Spanish Princess Season 2 2020
Nick Briggs

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Camelot,” the Season 2 premiere of “The Spanish Princess.”

When “The Spanish Princess” returns for its second season, Queen Catherine (Charlotte Hope) and Henry VIII (Ruairi O’Connor) are ruling together over the country as the house of Tudor.

When the audience rejoins the royal couple, they are closer than ever; she has given birth to a royal heir; her father, King Ferdinand of Spain (Antonio de la Torre), is coming to visit the royal court, and the costumes are just as lavish and sumptuous as ever.

Bold prints, colors and embroidery are all behind designer’s Pam Downe’s looks for Queen Catherine. Her silhouette is sleeker now that she has ascended to power. But it’s a rocky road ahead for Catherine, as the Spanish monarch has to tackle different viewpoints while the royal heir is needed to anchor her relationship and her future.

Here, Downe breaks down three keys looks from the first episode and hints at what lies ahead for the titular Spanish princess and her royal court.

Catherine Dressed to Impress

“Catherine and Henry are young and sexy and they’re in a good place. Ferdinand, Catherine’s father, is coming to visit and before the presentation of the baby Henry IX, she’s having this conversation with Lina, played by Stephanie Levi-John, about what crown to wear,” Downe says.

“[Catherine] wants to impress her father and then the court because she has only just become a Queen. It’s a dress to impress. The red she wears echoes the colors that Henry wears because they’re close and together. It represents in that scene is her showing off to the court and her father. It also represents the virility and her joy of being a mother.

“The fabric was made from Indian sari fabric. In that era, your dresses were hand-embroidered, but that was impossible for time and money. I looked at Indian fabrics because a sari has masses of meter to it when you’re getting them made, but what was great about that particular fabric was that it had gold to it and it was already embroidered. We then sewed in pearl trim to the rest of it. We had twelve fittings on it, and it took a week from start to finish, but that’s one of my favorite dresses.”

The Royal Court Goes Jousting and Catherine Watches

 

“This was made from Indian fabric again, and I flipped it because the correct side was really shiny. I bought the braid from a haberdashery shop in London. I bought silks from a local merchant for the sleeves,” Downe explains of Catherine’s look.

“The copper fabric in the skirt was a bit of experimentation and I wasn’t sure if it would work, but there was a lot of yellow, but it provided a lift to the outfit.

“What’s interesting was that I recycled it later in the series. The shape changes and I removed the sleeves, but recycling was something I did a lot throughout.

“She’s more entrenched in the English court and her shapes are slightly different this season. They have a simple silhouette and a lot of trim on them.”

Catherine in the Chapel

“The dress fabric is velvet [although it looks like silk], but it’s a furnishing velvet because it has more sheen to it and it doesn’t have the density that regular velvet has. It gives this illusion of density and I used that fabric a lot later on in the season, but with elaborate prints,” Downe explains.

“She wears that green dress earlier when the army is going to war. Henry is also in green and they’re very much together, still dressing very much alike. Later on, after her father has betrayed them, she’s wearing that dress and he’s in something very different [and] you start to see their unity split because her father had betrayed them so he’s wearing something different.

“This dress has no print and it’s very simple because of the emotion of the scene when she’s wearing it in the chapel and she’s with the baby.  I thought a red or gold dress would be too glaring for that, and green silk had a much softer feel to it.

“It’s a tragic scene. I have to say, it was difficult to marry this idea that we see in the episode because there’s a lot of brightness and joy throughout, and then we get to this penultimate scene with the baby and everything that’s happening. I thought green had a much cooler temperature to it for color and that felt ideal for everything that was going on.”

“The Spanish Princess Part 2” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Starz.