Terry Dresbach


Category Archives: Claire




Not sure there is very much more to say about the red dress, that hasn’t been covered extensively.

Mood boards and various notes, below…

© Mark Shaw / mptvimages.com











Interesting re invention of a classic Dior from the late 40s. The New Look has been reinterpreted so many, many times.


I was so worried that because Cait is so very fair, that she would be overpowered by brilliant red. It is neither an easy color to use onscreen, but it can eat up a mere mortal. The color made Cait glow like some sort of natural candle flame.

Extraordinary. The dress will NEVER look as good on a mannequin as it does on this particular living, breathing, being.


A quote from Cait-

“It’s a beautiful dress and such a fan moment in the books. Jamie has to say, ‘You can see all the way down to your third rib,’ and it had to fulfill all these different things, so Terry did such an incredible job with it. But walking anywhere, I had to do this kind of sideways crab walk. It was like, ‘Wide load, coming through!’ I thought all that I was missing was the, ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ that these massive trucks had.”

One of Balfe’s favorite additions that the writers made is the fact that Claire helps design the dress herself.

“It was nice to be able to see Claire explore her femininity, because she’s usually such a practical and pragmatic person, and not at all interested in her appearance. Being able to see her dressing up for the first time ever, that was a nice element.”

( Fifteen yards of Duchesse Satin)



red bodice





IMG_4757 (2)

When trying to figure how to address the notes from the book, I came across this painting.


It gave me the idea that if Claire took a traditional bodice, such as this-

Red Sketch 1  took the embellishment off, and then she opened up the front seam, she would end up with this  –Red Bodice 2

I think it worked for the story and paid homage to the book and the fans of the book/


One last thing- I insisted that we make this. So my amazing team did. They are, once again, the best.


There you go







People have been asking to see the pleats.





Rocks DSCN8187 muscovite mica Mica-from-alstead
mica-flakes-medium-grade-1066811 mica-flakes-coarse-grade-1066806

Many of you have been asking about shaving mica. I don’t know if there is a great way to describe how to do this.

But if you look closely at the large rock, you can see that there are very fine, thin layers. We VERY carefully slide a needle under a layer, and slowly pull it off. It is not easy, but you get good at it after a while, and it becomes very habit forming. Then you get carried away seeing how many times you can slice a layer. But if you do it TOO many times and take it down to only one VERY thin layer, you lose the refracting quality, and it just becomes flat and shiny.

We really wanted it to refract light, so we stopped at two or three layers on each shard.

The Sketch


Wedding Sketch

The Inspiration


This dress was displayed in “candlelight”. Incredible.

rose bertin 18th-century-court-gown-cloth-of-silver 5abf319bb7168953ae01821e3f188078


These paintings provided the inspiration for the neckline.

q 1761 Esther Denner (daughter of Balthasar Denner) Queen Charlotte, Princess Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, 1744 - 1818. Queen of George III About 1763 bodice 481px-Alexander_Roslin_021


This piece is a beautiful waistcoat Liz found on Ebay. Incredibly fine work. We think there are little bits of mirror in it, encircled with metal embroidery. And a bazillion little spangles ( the equivalent of today’s sequins, but metal not plastic).








Claire and Jamie Wedding




















Claire and Frank wedding



We really wanted to indicate the war years, before and after. Claire and Frank are getting married just as the war is breaking out, and while there is still optimism in the air, it is a more somber time. Ron wanted the clothes to be very faded as in an old photo, so we used tones of grey and brown. But Claire is in love, and it shows up in her jaunty little hat, tipped over one eye. We wanted her suit to carry through some of the deco lines of the 30s, but showing the direction of women’s fashions to come during the war years. It is a very tailored, masculine style, nothing frilly or frivolous.
This suits Claire’s character very well, and tells us a lot about who she is. She is a strong and savvy young woman, filled with optimism.
The later scenes with Frank, these are the stolen moments in the midst of war, and the peachy blush color of the peignoir coveys the romance they are trying to hold onto in spite of the war that surrounds them.


Once upon a time, on another planet, a million years ago…


…Gary and I made a lookbook to help Ron sell the show.  With images and sketches, we told the story of Outlander, chapter by chapter. One of the Chapters was The Wedding.

These are some of the images.

Chapter-The Wedding







And there was a sketch. Thought you might enjoy!

9 - Claire Wedding_edited-1




The Garrison Commander


I won’t spend much time on our regular cast since THEY ARE ALL WEARING THE SAME OLD THING, LOL. I do look forward to the complaints that everyone is bored and “where is the eye candy???”. No doubt they will come.

Anyway, Jamie, Claire and Dougal.

Outlander 2014


I particularly like this last shot, as it shows you the construction of the waistcoat, and how Sam chooses to wear his kilt.


Just a great shot. A nice example of the choice Ron made to have the Redcoats provide all the red in the show (except the occasional peek of Geillis’s shoes). Makes for a very dramatic visual.

New costumes-

Claire’s nightgown. It is just a lovely, lovely garment. We dyed that gorgeous silk this lush, peach color. I wanted to make something that was clean and sophisticated that would reflect who Claire is and what she would choose, and yet be devastatingly feminine and sexy. The high lace collar shows off her perfect neck. I also wanted it to to slide off in one movement, once you untie that string (originally scripted).


BxeYLAHCAAEe7E0.jpg-large captures_0567



Brian Fraser

Yes, that is him. I wanted him to have some amazing coat to help give him standing and authority as the Laird. Don’t remember if we see him in a wide shot, but the coat is knee length.



Last, but certainly not the least, our Redcoat officers. I have been wanting to do an entire post about the fine, fine work of my assistant designers, Elle Wilson and Nadine Powell. They are both amazing designers. I cannot do everything on a show this size, so the extras (supporting artists), and most of the supporting cast is done by them, and then approved by me. Their work is so essential to the look of the show. They are the ones who add a lot in terms of texture and authenticity. You can get away with almost ANYTHING on extras, and a lot on the supporting cast. Which on a period show means that is where you can really go in depth, and get it right. No one is going to argue with an extra wearing a cap, or an enormous floppy stock tied into a bow, the way they will with the lead actress or actor.

I am going to do that big piece and then add a segment every episode, to showcase their excellent work.

The redcoat officers –

Remember that we had to make all of the Redcoat uniforms because SOMEONE had to have the perfect shade of red. That means that for a scene like this, you can’t go rent any of these uniforms. If you look carefully, you will notice that no two uniforms are alike. That is because it was not until later that the British Army finally ruled that uniform choices had to be approved. At this time, officers made their own, and some of these have green or blue waistcoats, cuffs, collars or lapels. Different deceptive bits, stocks, etc. Jack Randall wears blue.

Must have been one hell of a parade!



captures_0181 captures_0162

captures_0112 captures_0120 captures_0148

normal_captures_0233 normal_captures_0234


The Hero



Been doing some reading about Heroes-

“Carl Jung first applied the term archetype to literature. He recognized that there were universal patterns in all stories and mythologies regardless of culture or historical period …shared by all members of the human species, a sort of universal, primal memory. Joseph Campbell took Jung’s ideas and applied them to world mythologies. He refined the concept of hero and the hero’s journey— George Lucas used Campbell’s writings to formulate the Star Wars saga.

The Hero’s Journey

  • The hero is naïve and inexperienced
  • The hero meets monsters or monstrous men
  • The hero has a strange, wise being as a mentor
  • The hero years for the beautiful lady who is sometimes his guide or inspiration
  • The hero must go on a journey, learn a lesson, change in some way, and return home
  • The hero often crosses a body of water or travels on a bridge.
  • The hero is born and raised in a rural setting away from cities
  • The origin of the hero is mysterious or the hero losses his/her parents at a young age, being raised byanimals or a wise guardian
  • The hero returns to the land of his/her birth in disguise or as an unknown
  • The hero is special, one of a kind. He/she might represent a whole nation or culture
  • The hero struggles for something valuable and important
  • The hero has help from divine or supernatural forces
  • The hero has a guide or guides
  • The hero goes through a rite of passage or initiation, an event that marks a change from an immature toa more mature understanding of the world
  • The hero undergoes some type of ritual or ceremony after his/her initiation
  • The hero has a loyal band of companions
  • The hero makes a stirring speech to his/her companions
  • The hero engages in tests or contests of strength (physical and/or mental) and shows pride in his/herexcellence
  • The hero suffersan unhealable wound, sometimes an emotional or spiritual wound from which thehero never completely recovers.

Linda makes a great point. Claire, classic hero, checks off everything on the list.

But on closer examination, I notice all the his/her references. Bad me, for not catching this!!! Thanks Linda!