Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

Category Archives: Costume Design

And …

52

Pearls #2

Baroque pearls with gold roundels.

I didn’t want such a long strand. But you win some, you lose some.

The Materials

89

IMG_2626_edited-1
Gown and sleeve fabrics. We tried to avoid this fabric and weave our own, but once we saw it on a camera test under candlelight, we knew it was the right one. It just did the proper shimmer. Now we have a lot of beautiful silver wool, waiting for Season Two.

IMG_2632
Here is the mica. We all took turns shaving mica during stressful times. It was a very zen activity, chop wood, carry water. Saved our sanity. We started with three chunks of mica about 4″ long by 3″ thick. We shaved them down to a large container of paper thin flakes.

IMG_2629
The sleeves. We have this beautiful little smocking machine that operates with a hand crank. Makes beautiful, magical things.

IMG_2630
Here is our sleeve. Ethereal. I love these sleeves!

IMG_2627

This is one of our leaves on the embroidery frame. We made hundreds of leaves and acorns, all by hand. You can see the metal strands very clearly,  it is an amazing process. Extraordinary work!

IMG_2649

And finally, a closeup on the stomacher, All the leaves, stems and acorns have been painted to look as though they have oxidized, giving them lovely tone and depth. The sticking on the silk reflects the stitching done on the sleeve. Just stunning work by my amazing crew.

You can also see what happened to the top of our bodice. there was another piece to the dress, a band of very translucent silver fabric, that bordered the top of the gown, bringing the neckline up a few inches and leaving her less bare. But when we were shooting, the taking off and on of the cloak, totally destroyed it. it was just too delicate to withstand the dragging of that heavy wool off and on. We stood on the side of the set dying a little, every time it went off and on, but they are never going to stop shooting so you can repair something like that. too time consuming. So, Claire reveals a bit more than we planned, but Jamie no doubt enjoyed it!

The Sketch

10

Wedding Sketch

The Inspiration

17

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).

IMG_1798

d7199c234c02dee568ab9fbed2c48868

 

58f19ac45227d63ad53ad154acab3473

 

8c2056bc577cd8a71b2ef60ad00d601e

 

Claire and Jamie Wedding

12

b25bfc8171494d1fcd615b01784a766e

 

outlander3-800

 

outlander2-800

 

1232410_10152740343039524_2031549386_n

 

217214

 

2d6cc72d691d4568c552dc14b219eb31

 

217211

 

217216

 

 

 

Claire and Frank wedding

10

 

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.

IMG_1681
IMG_1683

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

45

…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

Three!!!

 

One

Five

 

 

And there was a sketch. Thought you might enjoy!

9 - Claire Wedding_edited-1

 

 

 

The Garrison Commander

72

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

captures_0037Bxd9hbpIQAAszKI

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

OUT_106-20140404-EM_1633.jpg

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).

normal_10

BxeYLAHCAAEe7E0.jpg-large captures_0567

normal_captures_0552

normal_captures_0564

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.

BxdrPU6CEAA7p9E.jpg-large_edited-1

BxdhxxOIcAA7CzW

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!

normal_captures_0443

 

captures_0181 captures_0162

captures_0112 captures_0120 captures_0148

normal_captures_0233 normal_captures_0234

 

Grrrrrrrranimals redux

96

409e0de0-12b8-11e4-8d53-095fce12bc55_starz-outlander-Claire-Randall-Caitriona-Balfe-2
Seems there is a lot of chatter out there about how many outfits Claire goes on the road in, and why does she have so many?????????

I always make sure I can justify things for the story. The writers wanted to be able to show the day changes, and our Highlanders NEVER change their clothes, so it was up to Claire. Plus they wanted a “respectable” dress she could wear in an upcoming sequence. So, I ask,

1.”where do we put the clothes? ummmmmmmmm.
2.”Is there a wagon?” YES there is.
3.”Is it big enough for Mrs. Fitz to send a few things in a trunk (2 skirts, 3 bodices and 1 dress, a cloak, and some wraps/fichus),as she wants Claire to be presentable?” Yes, it is.
4.”How big is the trunk? Big enough for 1 skirt, 2 bodices, a cloak and some wrap/ficus?” Yes, it is
5. “Would you please SHOW the trunk, so I don’t get slammed for giving Claire too many changes????”
Maybe, not sure if we are going to shoot the loading of the wagon.

Okay, then the number of costumes is justified as far as I am concerned. Costume Designers can always take liberties, and many do. Producers and directors rarely care about such things, and studios hate it when actresses don’t change their clothes constantly. But I HAVE to justify it story wise. I am the one always watching and saying, “So where did she/he get that ??????” So after much consideration, I figure that seems to be the right amount of clothing to meet all the needs of shooting a television show.
If I were shooting a documentary, she might have one skirt, and MAYBE a dress, one cloak or riding jacket. But we are not.

With the number of outfits I choose, I can :
1. Serve the story and all that needs to be told using the costumes as a story device.
2. Accomodate upcoming stunts and action.
3. Mark the amount of time that passes.
4. Keep the audience from complaining that they are bored by seeing her wear the same thing all the time. “Doesn’t she EVER change her clothes. they weren’t backwards barbarians after all”
5. Keep our actress from dying of hypothermia.
6. Save my overworked department from having to make 20 duplicates of one costume so that we can accommodate all of the above (we don’t even have enough of any one fabric to do that if we wanted)

Plus I can get away with a few pieces of clothing, but make it look like she has a lot more, by cleverly using accessories (UH OH !!!!!!!!!!!!)

It will always be carefully considered on Outlander. Our job is to make a believable world. We are not doing a fashion show. It should look and feel as real as possible, given the incredible number of restraints filming a dramatic televised series, presents. We have seen 5 episodes so far. At the end of the season, get back to me and let me know how you feel about the number of costumes Claire has.

Wonderful Illustrations

12

tumblr_nbk6e3O59b1rkb9m6o1_500

I wanted to showcase the work of illustrator Colleen Madden. She has a lot of wonderful pieces at http://girlfrog.tumblr.com
I just love her work. Reminds me of children’s book illustrations of my childhood.


©COPYRIGHT 2014. MB ARTISTS, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED