Name: The Bridgerton effect.
Age: About a year old, and strengthening.
Appearance: Everywhere at the moment.
Is this that phenomenon whereby you hear about something for the first time, and then suddenly you seem to be hearing about it all the time? No, that’s the Baader Meinhof effect, although similar psychological forces may be at work here.
Oh. So what’s this? This is an effect brought about by the period drama Bridgerton, which started its second series last month.
Never seen a single episode. What’s it about? It’s about the aristocratic social whirl of London during the time of Queen Charlotte, mostly concentrating on the fortunes of the Bridgerton siblings.
Popular, is it? The first series was the most watched show on Netflix when it began, and the new series has already broken viewing records in its first weekend.
And what is the so-called Bridgerton effect making people do? It’s making them want to dress like Regency characters.
Oh God, not again. Have people forgotten the dark, empire-line days that followed that BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice? Evidently they have. The first series of Bridgerton inspired ruffles, ruches, brocades and statement sleeves across red carpets and catwalks in 2021, while pearl chokers took over TikTok.
A regrettable tendency now thankfully on the wane? By no means. The advent of the second series seems to be causing a high-street tidal wave of what is described as “Regency core”.
What sort of thing are we talking about? Retailers are reporting a surge in sales of corsets, silk dresses and statement earrings, and increased online searches for tiaras.
Oh, my days. Meanwhile, John Lewis has seen sales of croquet sets rise 90% week on week.
This is like people going to see a superhero film, then dressing up as Marvel characters. People do that. All the time.
What lies at the bottom of this explosion of Regency cosplay? According to fashion experts, the second series of Bridgerton has caught the mood of the moment: the arrival of spring coinciding with a strong desire for a little post-pandemic frivolity.
Timely. Also, with the sharp rise in energy prices, we’re all about to start composing letters by candlelight again. I’m not sure you’re entirely entering into the spirit of the thing.
What next? Is gout coming back? Actually, gout cases have been rising in the UK, but I don’t think you can pin that on Bridgerton.
Do say: “Anyone for croquet?”
Don’t say: “Anyone for consumption?”