The Great Costume Designer Sharon Long On The Eccentric And Whimsical Style Of Aunt Elizabeth The Art Of Craft

For The Great, costume designer Sharon Long needed to capture the style of Russia’s 18th century outfits while infusing influences from European countries. Luckily, she says she “didn’t have to be completely faithful to historical accuracy because it’s a satire.”

A prime example of this is Aunt Elizabeth (Belinda Bromilow), whose style was much less strict than other characters. “Aunt Elizabeth (Belinda Bromilow) was established as eccentric and whimsical, but with a quite strong core,” she says. “She’s quite a complex character, so we can go a little bit madder.”

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Ambassadors Dinner

  • While Catherine (Elle Fanning) stood out with lighter clothing at the ambassadors dinner, Aunt Elizabeth’s dress was made to feel “much more decadent and dark.”
  • Long took Chinese and other Asian influences for the print, as they started to become more fashionable in the French court at the time.
  • The design and shape of the dress was present in the 18th century, but the silk prints with the pagoda would not have been as prevalent in Russia at the time.


  • Since Aunt Elizabeth was usually seen in large dress, Long added the corset and frills to the thinner swimsuit to keep her style believable.
  • There was little reference to women’s swimwear at the time, especially with sub-zero temperatures, so Long looked at 17th century acrobats to give a “slight comedic element” that worked for the character.
  • The main material used in the swimsuit was an Armani fabric woven with a sort of plastic that created a scale=like appearance and didn’t change color when exposed to water.

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