Embroidery for Peaky Blinders Series 2 - Costume Designer Lorna Marie Mugan.

BBC’s period drama Peaky Blinders is an epic gangster family saga that begins in 1919 in the lawless slum neighbourhoods of post war Birmingham in the UK. Returning soldiers from the 1st World War and criminal gangs all fight for survival in an industrial landscape gripped by economic upheaval, at the top of this industrial jungle are the extended Shelby family, whose many brothers, cousins and uncles, make up the fiercest gang of all, the "Peaky Blinders", who make their money from illegal track betting, protection and robbery.


For the second series of Peaky Blinders which was set two years after the first I was asked to create an embroidery for an evening dress worn by the character Grace who is played by Annabelle Wallis. For this dress my note from the Costume Designer of second series of the show Lorna Marie Mugan was the design should echo a modern woman who had been influenced by her new home in America, where she had fled to at the end of first series, so I looked for inspiration from Deco jewellery and the architecture that started to appear in New York’s Manhattan skyline within that period.


The dress was made in a turquoise satin with a lace trim, and as the scenes it was going to be worn in were to be filmed at night in low light, I stitched small glass beads in a similar colour to the lace randomly all over it to catch and reflect the light. I created a motif separately to the dress on some organza, inspired by an amalgamation of a New York Deco building and some Deco jewellery. I used colours similar to the dress and first embroidered my design in silk and metallic threads, then further embellished the design with Miyuki beads, Crystals and Steel cut beads. I stitched the motif onto one shoulder and then embroidered it onto the dress adding some lines of silver Steel cut chain, which would again catch the light in the scenes the dress was to appear in.