Netflix hasn’t been able to leverage in-person experiential to promote original content this year, but the streaming service found a creative way to virtually bring viewers into 20th-century America and Britain for two popular series.
To launch The Queen’s Gambit and The Crown, Netflix teamed up with Brooklyn Museum for a virtual costume design exhibit celebrating the new limited series The Queen’s Gambit and the upcoming fourth season of The Crown.
The free exhibit, on display at thequeenandthecrown.com through Dec. 13, showcases costumes designed by Gabriele Binder for The Queen’s Gambit, a fictional story about chess prodigy Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy) set in Kentucky in the 1950s and ‘60s; and The Crown designer Amy Roberts, who created outfits resembling those worn by Queen Elizabeth II (Olivia Colman), Princess Diana (Emma Corrin) and Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson) in the 1980s, when Season 4 of the period drama takes place.
The self-guided experience is set in a rendering of the Brooklyn Museum’s third-floor Beaux-Arts Court, and also includes thematically relevant objects and artwork from the museum’s own collections.
Netflix tapped Matthew Yokobosky, Brooklyn Museum’s senior curator of fashion and material culture, to curate the exhibit. Yokobosky’s previous fashion exhibitions include The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk (2013), David Bowie is (2018), and Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion (2019).
Yokobosky said his objective for Netflix was to create an experience for fans interested in the series’ narratives centered on strong women and characters vying for power and stature.
“The Queen’s Gambit and The Crown both have royal themes: one being the game of chess with its queens, kings and various playing pieces, the other being the actual British royal family whose members jockey for public and private positions like a game of chess,” Yokobosky said in a statement. “Additionally, both series have strong female characters who emerge successful amongst difficult circumstances: Beth Harmon learning the game of chess in a small Kentucky town to become an international champion, and Princess Diana beginning as a young theater student to become an international icon of glamour and humanitarian support.”
The effort that goes into creating the fashion for both series was, of course, a major inspiration for the exhibition.
“The two series feature thoughtful and beautifully executed costume designs, which aid in visualizing the central narratives as well as individual character evolutions,” Yokobosky added. “The Queen’s Gambit and The Crown are nonstop fashion parades.”
The virtual exhibit also offers a panel discussion moderated by Academy Award-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter (who took home the Oscar in 2019 for Black Panther). During the prerecorded sessions, Yokobosky, Binder and Roberts offer insight into their design processes and wardrobe creations.
The Queen’s Gambit is available to stream on Netflix now, while Season 4 of The Crown will be released Nov. 15.