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THE PRINCE AND ME

From Rural To Royal
Costuming Paige as a midwestern college student and dressing the royal family as befitted their station, costume designer Magali Guidasci admits that working on "The Prince & Me” was a costume designer's dream come true.

"This film is very much a costume extravaganza,” explains Guidasci. "It's not often one gets to design the costumes for a royal procession, a coronation and a formal ball in one movie.”

Making sure her designs were as authentic as possible, Guidasci ensured that attention was paid to every little detail, right down to importing the fabric for the king and prince's uniforms from the esteemed English fabric house Abimelech Hainsworth. With a motto that states "Maker of Fine Cloth Since the Battle of Waterloo,” the prestigious fabric house was definitely the only place Guidasci felt she could go.

As for the requisite royal jewels, no fairy tale — modern or otherwise — would be complete without a proper loan from Harry Winston, who provided filmmakers with several stunning pieces, including Paige's engagement ring, a 6-carat, brilliant cut, 3-stone ring set in platinum, worth over $100,000. The internationally famous jewelers also helped to accessorize Paige's pink taffeta ball gown with 7-carat, fancy cut diamond straight line earrings, complete with pink tourmaline drops, valued at approximately $100,000, as well as a spectacular brilliant cut, straight line necklace, consisting of about 24 carats and accented with a pink tourmaline center stone, estimated to be worth $200,000.

As exquisite as the jewelry itself is, the queen's private vault, where it is kept, is also a sight to see. Made of blue velvet and blue steel, the 9 ft. x 9 ft. structure was built by production designer James Spencer twice. The first time, he fit the piece directly into the ground floor Baroque area of one of the palaces to capture Paige's point of view as the queen walks into the magnificent enclosure. Later, for close-up shots of the extraordinary jewels, Spencer says they took the vault out of the palace and reconstructed it on a sound stage.

"The whole process — both building the vault and shooting the scenes — was very complex,” remembers Spencer, who installed special lighting and an intricate system of mirrors into his design in order to really set off the jewels. "This vault is the queen's special chamber where she houses her personal cache of jewels, so I took great care in its design.”

The items inside the vault were selected with equal care, with a combination of antique pieces made by Jablonex, probably the Czech Republic's finest antique costume jewelry makers, exquisite contemporary pieces from Paris, and over $4,000,000 worth of real diamond and precious stone jewelry, again from Harry Winston.

Director of worldwide security for Harry Winston for the past 14 years, Frank Barone, who spent ten days on the set with another security agent, was in charge of the company's jewelry seen in the film, the total of which was worth approximately $5,000,000.
Sophistication, authenticity and rare beauty — words that describe the costumes, the locations, the cast and indeed, "The Prince & Me.”

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