'The Borgias' Season 2: Lucrezia Borgia's fashion rises in power

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Paintings from the 15th century inspire Academy Award-winning costume designer Gabriella Pescucci to design and create some of the most intricate and beautiful costumes on television for the Sunday Showtime drama "The Borgias."

"I love to do my job," she tells Zap2it. "It is period, and I have such a big department to work with and seamstresses and the possibility to do everything new. Not just the costumes, but also the masks, the armor and all the headpieces and the nets for their hair. Today it's rare to have the possibility to work in this situation for television. Showtime is very generous," she says.

Pescucci says her second year working on the series was even better than the first because knowing everyone on the set and being familiar with the fabric allowed her to focus more on the costumes.

In the case of the character Lucrezia, played by Holliday Grainger, that meant undergoing a transformation that makes her look older and powerful. The first two photos below are from the first season, when Lucrezia was wearing light colors to make her look younger. The third photo is from the second season, when Lucrezia wears stronger and richer colors, and her jewelry is much bigger.

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This dress is silk and hand-embroidered. Pescucci used a lot of old sari from India and cut it and handstitched beads on the costumes. The sleeves are also silk, and the puffy part is made from organza, which is a light silk from India surrounded with trimming. The cross was made in the same color as the necklace, and the chain has little pearls.

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The dress is almost the same design as the blue one. The pink is more childish, and the corset is part of the dress. The skirt and bodice are attached to the corset. Before the costume is closed, the corset is closed very tight. This cross also was made, and it's more gold with rubies.

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Lucrezia's sleeves were changed in the second season to make her look older. Here the sleeves from shoulder to elbow are very puffy and from elbow to wrist are fitted.
Photo/Video credit: Showtime