What time period is Carnival Row based on?

Photo: Carnival Row: Season 1.. Image: Amazon Prime Video
Photo: Carnival Row: Season 1.. Image: Amazon Prime Video /

The supernatural drama, Carnival Row, has been turning a lot of heads with the premiere date for Season 2 being announced earlier this week, and it has made me think of the beautiful costumes we saw on the first season.

The creative genius behind the costumes is Joanna Eatwell, a two-time Emmy nominee, for her work on Wolf Hall (2015) and Carnival Row (2019) for her costume designs. She has worked on several period dramas, making her an easy choice for Carnival Row.

Many people are curious about the world Carnival Row exists in. What is the time period of the series?

Carnival Row time period

The series is officially set in Victorian-era London, England. The costumes certainly give us that look.

The fantastical creatures of the Burgue speak and dress in a way that is all too familiar. The structured dresses the women wear, with corsets, stays, bustles, and stockings along with the three-piece suits most of the male characters wear, bring to mind the Victorian Era of England with a heavy steampunk influence.

The human ladies of the upper classes lean towards the classic Victorian silhouette with a corset, structured bodice, full skirts, and dresses made of the softest silks and cotton, often dyed very colorful and decorated with the finest adornments. Little to no cosmetics and dainty waistlines finish off the look. While the handmaids and servants of the Burgue’s elite dress in a more simple garb, opting for a few petticoats, a cotton or wool dress, and simple leather shoes, often in earthy tones.

The “gentlemen” of the upper class wear three-piece suits, along with their Derbies, Homburgs, and shined shoes, as did their butlers. The men of the Burgue rarely varied from the standard uniform. Often in black, grey, or for a special occasion, maybe a dark blue. Simple accessories consisting of cufflinks and a pocket watch.

It’s when we see the wonderous creature of Carnival Row that we are treated to the bright dresses, colorful hair, and a heavier steampunk influence on the accessories. We see more brass and steel accents adorning the clothing and hair of the women, sometimes even on their footwear.

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Which are your favorite costumes featured on Carnival Row? Share in the comments below.

Carnival Row Season 2 premieres on Friday, Feb. 17, 2023 on Prime Video.