‘Bridgerton’: Penelope’s Style & Makeup Transformations in Season 3, Explained

Nicola Coughlan in 'Bridgerton' Season 3

Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) steps away from the world of wallflowers and into the spotlight in Bridgerton Season 3. As Penelope embarks on a mission to marry, she has a style metamorphosis. In the first episode of Part 1, Penelope steps out in a stunning, one-of-a-kind emerald green gown, unlike anything she (or anyone else) has worn before. TV Insider spoke with Bridgerton costume designer John Glaser and hair and makeup artist Erika Okvist about Penelope’s Season 3 makeover.

“It was chosen for a lot of reasons,” Glaser said about Penelope’s emerald green dress. “One, is that we followed Erika’s hair color. If you look at that dress, the inner layers are copper and teal, and we didn’t want to give up her connection to the Featherington colors right away. It’s also something that the modiste helped her pick, so the modiste would have held on to the old Featherington colors. It’s not as bright as they ever were. It’s something darker than she’s ever worn. She’s wearing it with black sheer gloves, so it’s colors that she’s never worn, and it’s colors that she’ll never wear again because that was something that the modiste and she picked, and we know that situation didn’t go quite right.”

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington, Jessica Madsen as Cressida Cowper in 'Bridgerton' Season 3

Laurence Cendrowicz / Netflix

Glaser explained that after her emerald green moment, Penelope “steps back a little bit, and we mute her colors for several reasons. One is because she’s in every scene now, so we don’t want the clothes to overpower her and her character. We also want to give her and the storyline no Easter eggs as to where she’s going. She becomes a little more neutral, and she becomes on the same playing field as Eloise and Cressida in that world. She can maneuver around that world a little easier.”

In Episode 3, Penelope attends the Innovations Ball and continues to play around with her style. She wears a gorgeous blue gown with silver floral embellishments. She adds some sparkle to her look with gemstones in the corners of her eye.

Nicola Coughlan in Episode 3 of 'Bridgerton' Season 3


Okvist revealed that adding this “twinkle in her eyes” was to show off Penelope’s creativity. “I think creative people, which she is, she’s clearly creative because she’s a pen woman, it doesn’t mean that she’s not creative in other ways,” she said. “This is the look that she designs for herself. She’s clever, she’s creative, and she could have figured that one out. There is nothing in the world to say that people wouldn’t use gemstones or pearls and glue them on their faces in that time as well. There are examples of people using seashells and stuff. It’s not a wild idea. It did exactly what it needed to do. You noticed it, and whoever she was going to dance with would have noticed it.”

Glaser added, “It was also the Innovations Ball, so it was a place to try new things and experiment.”

With Penelope’s hair and makeup evolution in Season 3, Okvist leaned into Old Hollywood glamour. “Clearly, she looks wonderful in it, and then once you set up that look DNA for her makeup and hair, you can deviate from that,” Okvist noted. “Obviously, the first look when she comes out is a very strong, almost filmic look. She almost looks like a movie star, and then we take that look, which is extreme, and you finesse it and refine it and very soon she will find visually who she is as a woman. It was great that we did it that way around because we did the filmic, more iconic, less of a personal look first, and then she could have this meandering story until she finally finds herself. But it’s all based on that first look DNA.”

Nicola Coughlan in Episode 4 of 'Bridgerton' Season 3


And then there’s Episode 4, which is turning point for Penelope. At the ball, Penelope shines in a mint green dress with bronze sequins. Glaser revealed that this look was influenced by the steamy carriage scene between Penelope and Colin (Luke Newton) at the end of the episode: “It’s a moment when it’s their first intimate time, so it had to be a little harder than her other clothes with the metal and the metallic to make it a magic moment. She was aglow at night, which is what we needed.”

Bridgerton, Season 3, Part 1, Streaming now, Netflix

Bridgerton, Season 3, Part 2 Premiere, Thursday, June 13, Netflix