Janie Bryant

Costume Designer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her two-hour Archive interview, costume designer Janie Bryant talks about her interest in design from a very early age. She discusses her childhood in Ohio and Tennessee, as well as her avid interest in films such as "Gone with the Wind," which ignited her interest in design for period pieces. She speaks of her first jobs designing for independent films and for television before landing a job with writer David Milch on his television series Big Apple. She describes getting hired by Milch for his HBO series Deadwood, for which she won an Emmy for costume design. She explains her inspiration for the western series and how films influenced her costumes, and then details her work on the AMC series Mad Men. Bryant talks of working with series creator Matthew Weiner and concludes the interview with an extensive tour of the Mad Men costume department, outlining the thought processes and organization behind each of the principal character's costumes. Bonnie Datt conducted the interview on August 9, 2012 in Los Angeles, CA.

"It's about understanding the themes of the script. It's about working with the production designer and the set decorator, knowing what colors and pieces they are going to be using within that set. It's about being true to their character through the costume design and telling that story. But it's also about having all of those costumes being able to work together within that scene, within that set." 

Highlights
Janie Bryant on her role as the costume designer for Mad Men  and the attention to detail on the show "it's about being true to that character"
02:10
Janie Bryant on being a costume designer: "fashion design is not always about fashion, it's about creating character"
01:29
Janie Bryant on how the film "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" was an inspiration for Deadwood's costume design
Janie Bryant on her collaborative process with Matthew Weiner on Mad Men and how much she knows about the arc of the series in preparing her work
02:05
Janie Bryant on her advice to aspiring costume designers
00:36
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her early years and family; on her interest in designing clothes from an early age
On the early influences on her fashion sense from movies and television shows; on her education and early fashion style
On working for John Scher as an assistant designer; on learning about the costume design profession
On her first job designing for a nostalgia ad for "Nick at Nite" and what that entailed; On working on indie films such as "Palookaville," "Mr. Jealousy," "Highball," and "Blessing"; on moving to Los Angeles and waiting two whole years before getting a job
On moving to New York City and working on Big Apple with David Milch as the costume designer; on the responsibilities of that job; on the difference between designing for television and for film
On why she was interested in designing for a period piece, and how she came to become the costume designer on Deadwood:  a Western TV series based in the 1890s
On working on the pilot of John from Cincinnati  with David Milch and what she had to offer as a costume designer 

Chapter 2

On how she was hired as the costume designer on Mad Men  and on working with the show's creator, Matthew Weiner
On her preparation, research, and how the story informs her creative decisions about costume design on Mad Men; on the production schedule of the show
On the details about dealing with color and fabric on television; on her philosophy about costume design and being "true to character"
On the specific characters on Mad Men and how she makes decisions about costume design for each one including "Don Draper," 'Peggy Olson," "Betty Draper," and "Joan Harris"
On the most challenging costumes she's designed for Mad Men and some of her favorites; on how the show has influenced fashion; on her advice to aspiring costume designers 
Janie Bryant takes us on a tour of the Mad Men costume shop; she shows us each character's "closet" and specific costumes from episodes of the show, how the closets are organized, and her process for selecting vintage pieces or designing costumes
Shows

Big Apple

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Janie Bryant on working with writer David Milch on his series Big Apple

Deadwood

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Janie Bryant on how she came work on Deadwood as the costume designer; on her inspiration for the costumes from the film "McCabe and Mrs. Miller"
Janie Bryant on achieving the "dirty" look for the costumes on Deadwood; on the inspiration for the costumes
07:55
Janie Bryant on how many of the costumes were made rather than rented for Deadwood; on the costume budget for the show
Janie Bryant on winning an Emmy for her costume design on Deadwood and what made the costumes stand out

John from Cincinnati

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Janie Bryant on designing the pilot for John from Cincinnati, again working with David Milch

Mad Men

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Janie Bryant on how she was hired as the costume designer on Mad Men and on working with the show's creator, Matthew Weiner
04:09
Janie Bryant on her inspiration for the costumes on Mad Men and how she researched the period; on her collaboration with series creator Matthew Weiner
Janie Bryant on working with series creator Matthew Weiner on Mad Men and his passion for the show and their collaborative process; on the production schedule
09:49
Janie Bryant on the secrecy of Mad Men's story lines and plot points
Janie Bryant on the production schedule on Mad Men for costumes
Janie Bryant on her role as the costume designer for Mad Men and the attention to detail on the show
03:22
Janie Bryant on her costume designs for each character on Mad Men starting with "Don Draper"
05:09
Janie Bryant on the costume design for the Mad Men character "Peggy Olson"
02:31
Janie Bryant on the costume design for the Mad Men  character "Betty Draper" - "It's about peeling the onion"
01:44
Janie Bryant on the costume design for the Mad Men  character "Joan Harris"
00:57
Janie Bryant on the costume design for the Mad Men  character "Roger Sterling"
01:15
Janie Bryant on the costume design for the Mad Men  character "Megan Draper"
00:59
Janie Bryant on the costume design for the Mad Men  character "Sally Draper"
Janie Bryant on some of the most challenging costume designs for Mad Men and her favorite episodes 
Janie Bryant on how Mad Men has influenced fashion style
Janie Bryant on why Mad Men is a hit show
02:48
Janie Bryant takes us on a tour of the Mad Men  costume shop; she shows us each character's "closet" and specific costumes from episodes of the show, how the closets are organized and her process for selecting or designing costumes; she begins with "Megan Draper"'s character and how she dresses similarly to her husband "Don Draper"
Janie Bryant shows us "Megan Draper's" dress from Season 5 of Mad Men and her gown from the Codfish Ball
Janie Bryant on the importance of lingerie in the Mad Men costume department
Janie Bryant on "Don Draper's" costumes; she shows us items from his "closet" in her Mad Men costume shop
Janie Bryant on the label found inside one of "Don Draper's" suits and what it says
00:58
Janie Bryant on "Peggy Olsen's" costumes and how Mad Men repeats costumes making it more true to what the characters would have done
Janie Bryant on "Betty Draper's" costumes from Mad Men and how she was influenced in her design by Grace Kelly
Janie Bryant on "Betty Draper's" costumes from Mad Men  and how she once had to stitch actress January Jones into an outfit in a hurry; on Betty's weight gain
Topics

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Janie Bryant on the inspiration for the costumes on Deadwood
04:02

Emmy Awards

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Janie Bryant on winning an Emmy for her costume design on Deadwood  and what made the costumes stand out; on being at the ceremony
Professions

Costume Designer

View Profession
Janie Bryant on first discovering the costume design profession and her early interest and introduction to the job - "fashion design is not always about fashion, it's about creating character"
Janie Bryant on the responsibilities of a costume designer and the differences for that profession in film and television
01:37
Janie Bryant on why she was interested in designing for a period piece, and how she came to become the costume designer on Deadwood  which was a Western TV series based in the 1890s
01:54
Janie Bryant on achieving the "dirty" look for the costumes on Deadwood; on the inspiration for the costumes and direction from the director David Milch
07:55
Janie Bryant on how she researched and designed the costumes on Mad Men and on the attention to detail for the 1960s period series
Janie Bryant on her collaborative work with Mad Men  series creator Matthew Weiner and their philosophy about the design for the costumes on the show
01:54
Janie Bryant on how much she knows in advance about Mad Men and how much she has to keep secret about her costumes
Janie Bryant on fabrics that are ill-suited for television and how she works with whites and dyes on Mad Men
Janie Bryant on her role as the costume designer for Mad Men  and the attention to detail on the show
03:22
Janie Bryant on her advice to aspiring costume designers
00:36
Janie Bryant on her own fashion style and brand
Janie Bryant takes us on a tour of the Mad Men  costume shop; she shows us each character's "closet" and specific costumes from episodes of the show, how the closets are organized and her process for selecting or designing costumes

Designers

View Profession
Janie Bryant on how she researched and designed the costumes on Mad Men and on the attention to detail for the 1960s period series
Janie Bryant on her collaborative work with Mad Men  series creator Matthew Weiner and their philosophy about the design for the costumes on the show
01:54
Janie Bryant on how much she knows in advance about Mad Men and how much she has to keep secret about her costumes
Janie Bryant on fabrics that are ill-suited for television and how she works with whites and dyes on Mad Men
Janie Bryant on her role as the costume designer for Mad Men  and the attention to detail on the show
03:22
Janie Bryant on her advice to aspiring costume designers
00:36
Janie Bryant on her own fashion style and brand
People

David Milch

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Janie Bryant on working with writer David Milch on his series Big Apple
04:31
Janie Bryant on working with Deadwood writer David Milch
Janie Bryant on working on the pilot of John from Cinncinnatti with David Milch

Matthew Weiner

View Interview Page
Janie Bryant on meeting Mad Men  creator Matthew Weiner in an elevator on her way to the job interview (to become the show's costume designer)
02:04
Janie Bryant on Mad Men series creator Matthew Weiner and their philosophy about the design for the costumes on the show
Janie Bryant on working with series creator Matthew Weiner on Mad Men  and his passion for the show and their collaborative process
04:24
Janie Bryant on presenting costume design ideas for Mad Men to Matthew Weiner and his input level
01:11

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