Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

Category Archives: Geillis

Lovers Eye





Fatima Ronquillo

I have long been obsessed with Lovers Eye jewelry. I had one made for Geillis at the Gathering. Let me the first to say that once again, to use one of these at the time of our story is inaccurate. Lovers Eyes did not show up for another 40 years

Many have asked for more information about them, so here you go.

Some samples of the real thing.

Wonderful Illustrations



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.


Geillis – Sketch Episode 104







I LOVED this costume. I designed Geillis as if she was always playing dress up, always playing a part. That is why not of her costumes connect as if they belonged to one person. There only theme would be that they make people slightly uncomfortable, but they are not entirely sure why. This costume is her Fiscal’s Wife costume. She comes to the castle looking “respectable”.
I am madly in love with her fichu, which is felted wool.
Again we were able to play with costumes that don’t entirely feel like they are of the time. A bit disconcerting, but certainly within the realm of possibilities.

(Someone out there has a picture of Geillis from the hip up, tweet it to me, if it is any of you, please)


Geillis – The Gathering


I wish, wish, wish I had pictures of all of our actors in costume. I only have this small screenshot, but it shows a little. Hopefully something bigger will show up at some point.

Anyway, Geillis is wearing an Arisaid, a Scottish woman’s plaid. It is purely an ornamental garment, obviously, as it is made of sheer fabric, and clasped at the shoulder with a Lovers Eye brooch.

I used a man’s leather belt, with a jeweled buckle, at her waist, as both a nod to Highland men, and as a way to provide contrast to her delicate, translucent costume. Feminine, but dangerous.

The painted eye belongs to Charles Stuart.

Sorry the quality of the photos is so bad.

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Early Geillis


Before Lotte materialized.


Monkey Jacket



Oh how I love this piece. It is a felted waistcoat. The furry “spine” was supposed to go down the back and the waistcoat opens in the front. But Lotte said, “what if I wear it backwards?” We turned it around and she started creepily stoking the spine. It was perfect. The skirt is this extraordinary skirt we made from a beautiful linen wool fabric from Ireland. The skirt is made with the wrong side out. At the last minute I tied her sleeved at the elbow with leather thong. It just seemed like the thing to do.

Red Silk Slippers


So, here is the story on the red shoes.

No, I did not go out and get 18th century shoes that would draw a link to the Wizard Of Oz. I wish I had, it’s a great idea!

The actual story is pretty good though. Getting period shoes is tricky. We need hundreds and hundreds of pairs. In any given episode we will have hundreds of extras, and for every extra you have to have two or three of anything to try on until you find what fits and works. Make sense?

We have period shoes made for our principal actors. But we could not possibly afford to make hundreds of shoes for extras at over $100 per pair. So, we “cobble” together shoes. We search out, remake, re work, dress up, dress down shoes we get from all over the place. (don’t want to even discuss Season Two)

ANYWAY, there was this one pair of shoes. I am not even sure where we got them. They were actual period authentic shoes, but they were in a tiny size and RED. We couldn’t really use them on the show.

We kept putting them away on the shelf, but oddly, they just kept ending up in the middle of one of the aisles in our shop. Eventually, we just kind of left them there, and walked around them, saying, “someone has to put those shoes away”.

We were doing a fitting with Lotte one day, and were walking through the shop. There they were, like something from an episode of Twilight Zone, the shoes, sitting in the middle of the aisle staring up at us, beseechingly.

“What are THOSE??”cried Cinderella/Dorothy/Wicked Witch/Lotte.

“Oh those shoes, we have no idea where they came from, and they are too small for everyone, anyway.”

Needless to say, they fit. Perfectly. In, oh so many ways.


Geillis Sketch – Moth Dress


Geillis Moth

Geillis – Moth Dress – Episode102


My favorite Geillis dress. I call it the Moth Dress. I think it defines her. We frequently left off the corset on Geiliis. Women should look at her and say, “She’s not wearing a corset!” And men should look at her and say “She’s not wearing a coset!”

There is a wildness and a freedom to this dress, a sense of abandon. It looks like it might fall off if you blew hard enough, or if she might just flap her arms a couple of times and float upwards. It has tremendous movement.

If you look close enough, you will see a plaid we stitched into the bodice.


Geillis Sketch


Before casting. It says a lot how close the sketches are to the actual actors cast. That’s not because I can see the future, but because I am a fan of the book. I drew what was in my head, which I think was a fairly good approximation of what Diana wrote (except Dougal as Ron, of course). When they cast, they got pretty damned close. Certainly as close as could be expected. Lotte Verbeek IS Geillis through and through.