The best productions to watch for period hair and make-up

The best productions to watch for period hair and make-up

#Lockdown is the perfect opportunity to watch films and dramas with the added bonus of improving your eye for period hair & make-up.

Period Wigs and Advanced Hair tutor, Wendy Topping has compiled her ultimate list of what to watch to see excellent period hair and make-up. Wendy commands a wealth of experience, having worked as a wig dresser in the West End on many shows, and for The Royal Opera House for 12 years before moving onto feature films and TV drama. Her impressive list of credits includes Mary Queen of Scots, Star Wars, Downton Abbey and Beauty and The Beast.

1. Dangerous Liaisons

One of Wendy’s all-time favourites, this film is about a scheming widow and her manipulative ex-lover. The 18th century French wigs and make-up are stunning reference material for any artists.  

2. Mary Queen Of Scots  

Oscar nominated for the make-up and hair, this epic film features Margot Robbie as a young and old Elizabeth 1st. The pock-marked skin and wig work are especially impressive. Our tutor Wendy worked on this film with Laura Solari and a host of Delamar graduates.  

3. The Duchess  

Multi-award winning, this film stars Keira Knightly as an 18th century aristocrat, who was reviled for her extravagant personal life. The wigs are equally extravagant and this is a must-watch for period wig artists.  

4. The Young Victoria 

Another Oscar winner, this film is a drama depicting the turbulent first years of Queen Victoria’s rule, and her enduring romance with Prince Albert. Jenny Shircore was Oscar nominated for her make-up and hair design. You will see Jenny’s work featured a lot on this list! 

5. Mad Men 

This smash hit drama series is about a US ad agency in the 1960’s. Christina Hendricks has some of the most beautifully styled sixties hair on television.  

6. My Week With Marilyn 

Colin Clark, an employee of Sir Laurence Olivier, documents the tense interaction between Olivier and Marilyn Monroe during the production of The Prince and the Showgirl in 1957. Another Jenny Shircore masterpiece!  

7. Elizabeth

We can’t help but feature so many films designed by Jenny Shircore! This beautiful screenplay takes the viewer through years of the reign of Elizabeth I of England, and her difficult task of learning how to be a monarch. 

8. W.E. 

W.E. is a 1930’s film exploring the affair between King Edward VIII and American divorcée Wallis Simpson. The plot also looks at a very contemporary romance between a married woman and a Russian security guard. The 1930’s hair and make-up provides beautiful and accurate depictions of how Wallis Simpson looked. 

9. Downton Abbey

How could Wendy curate this list without featuring Downton?! This classic series has been a popular hit all over the world. The chronicles of servants and aristocrats in the early twentieth century are a feast for the eyes. We were delighted to have our own talented graduate, Giorgio Galliero as trainee on this production from 2014-15.  

We hope you enjoyed reading this and take the time to watch some of the titles listed. If you have any concerns about the current situation, please drop us an email on 


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