Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

Questions????

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    • #8554
      MedusaZ
      Participant

      Hi Terry,
      I hope this is the right place. It is about costuming/fashion in general (not outlander)

      I have always been interested in how costume is a reflection of an era. How the circumstances of one’s station in life reflects what is worn, or not worn.

      Costuming is interesting as it is a wearable expression. It makes an anthropological statement.

      For many years Fashion was an indication of status. I wonder what has changed? Fashion was still pretty in the 1950s with the Dior silhouettes. Now, One can see people that have money wearing jeans that are frayed with holes. Is it a reverse psychology? I am so wealthy I don’t have to dress to impress? Is it women rebelling against fashion that constrains and maybe confines? Is it because women have embraced a more athletic or casual lifestyle? Is/was comfort the main influencing factor? I see the tables turning with the advent of Spanx and all the shrink-wrapped dresses seen now. Current fashion is perplexing and in many instances ugly.

      Any thoughts?

      • #8606
        Terry Dresbach
        Keymaster

        Lots of thoughts. A favourite topic, actually.

        How dress is chosen to send messages is utterly fascinating to me, and I believe the heart of costume AND fashion design. Somewhere in the world people must just wear clothing to protect them from the elements, but I have no idea where that place is. Since the beginning of time humans have used clothing to denote wealth and status. Clothing is a simple, portable device to tell everyone what and who you are. It has ALWAYS been a way to let everyone know your economic and social status. Not until very recently in history could most people afford to buy clothing for no purpose other than decorative. That was a concept that belonged to the wealthy. For most clothing was a very practical consideration. Would it keep you warm, dry and would it last. It was a precious commodity that you took care of and wore until it dropped. (I wrote about this idea on the blog)
        It really wasn’t until the industrial age that we saw mass production decrease the cost of clothing manufacturing. Clothing has become cheaper and cheaper and cheaper. Today anyone can be fashionable. The ability to manufacture clothing for mere pennies in sweatshops overseas has removed the last barrier to fashion available to the masses. ANYONE can wear torn jeans.
        That said. The wealthy always make sure that they don’t look like the masses. These days it is by underdressing. Overblown, ostentatious clothing is left to the likes of The Kardashians and other Hollywood celebrities. The uber wealthy tend to downplay their clothing these days. Mind you if you look carefully you can see the money, but often in the material not in the wow factor.
        I remember a few years ago, Ron and I were sitting in a NYC restaurant and I pointed out to him the woman sitting behind us who I said was insanely rich. He said, “How can you tell, she has on jeans and converse???”
        I said, “well if you ignore the state of her hair, skin and teeth that reveal generations of good food and health , look at the jacket thrown on the back of her chair.”
        It was paper thin leather, it looked like liquid leather. I have no idea what kind of leather, but it had been impeccable tanned. But it was also the way it was so casually hung. Most of us might carefully what was probably a $5.000 jacket, but she had it thrown across the chair, dragging on the floor.
        I had a VERY wealthy friend who looked down her nose at buying clothing in department stores, and her favourite place to shop was at Goodwill. Her clothes were fantastic. She bought old slips and dyed them outrageous colors and wore them over jeans with some 80’s leather jacket, all bought for pennies.
        Of course this sent a very clear message. “I am not one of you, you don’t know how to do this” “If anyone with cash, can buy an over the top outfit, I will make sure I am different”.

        So, I believe you are correct in your assessment. Clothing will ALWAYS denote wealth and status, but just not in the way you might expect.

    • #8565
      janschurr
      Participant

      Terry, as an avid embroiderer, I wanted to ask if the detail on the coat worn by Jamie in the S2 pictures in Prague is trapunto? (If you’d rather not answer until the episode airs, just say so – completely understand.)

      • #8572
        MedusaZ
        Participant

        Hi Jan,
        Re: Sam’s coat from the pictures that weren’t suppose to be published…
        I asked the same question, in the Non-spoiler tea room
        Terry replied by saying that she would go into the details of that coat in depth after the episode aired.
        I am paraphrasing….read her response in the tea room for her exact words.

        PS I used to embroider many years back. I remember liking it. I can’t remember why I stopped.

      • #8607
        Terry Dresbach
        Keymaster

        AFTER it airs. This is a spoiler free zone after all.

    • #8612
      JoMo1000
      Participant

      HELP, please…is there any way to change the settings on the user’s end to show the posts in the threads with the most recent first? Some of these are very long threads and scrolling through them seems endless. I can’t seem to keep up with the conversations this way.

      Many thanks.

    • #8615
      catethomas
      Participant

      I know that film and TV work very differently to theatre in terms of when and where the costume discussion starts in relation to the production. Do you get a brief from the producer and if so how far in advance of the series/episode? Also do the episode directors have any input into the costumes or is that all decided before they get anywhere near the filming of the episode? Have you had any costumes that have needed to be altered during an episode as they didn’t quite work out as conceived or the action required a different approach?

    • #8617
      Mistahbue
      Participant

      When did you realize you had the artistic gene/bug/love ? I know you’ve said you don’t sew. Do you embroider, cross-stitch, knit, crochet, paint, make jewelry,

      etc?

    • #8620
      katejlongo
      Participant

      Hi Terry, I have noticed that with some of Cait’s dresses from S1, mostly the absolutely gorgeous wedding dress, have embroidery. I am an avid hand and machine embroider and I was wondering if the work on the show is all by hand or machine.

      I also want to thank you for making yourself available to answer our questions and for posting your tidbits.

    • #8641
      Terry Dresbach
      Keymaster

      [quote quote=8615]I know that film and TV work very differently to theatre in terms of when and where the costume discussion starts in relation to the production. Do you get a brief from the producer and if so how far in advance of the series/episode? Also do the episode directors have any input into the costumes or is that all decided before they get anywhere near the filming of the episode? Have you had any costumes that have needed to be altered during an episode as they didn’t quite work out as conceived or the action required a different approach?

      [/quote]

      We often have outlines, which may or not be helpful as they give you a general idea, but not specifics. About 6 weeks before an episode we get the script, and that continues to change right up to shooting.

      The greatest gift ever on Outlander is that I know the books so well, and I’m married to Ron. So, I pretty much know what is going to happen to the main story way ahead. But that is highly unusual, on both counts.

      Directors get input, but we have long since decided who the characters are,and in TV, the show runner is the king, so they usually have the big creative input.

      No, other than the occasional button popping off, we fit everything well ahead of shooting. You don’t want surprises on camera. Time is of the essence.

    • #8642
      Terry Dresbach
      Keymaster

      [quote quote=8620]Hi Terry, I have noticed that with some of Cait’s dresses from S1, mostly the absolutely gorgeous wedding dress, have embroidery. I am an avid hand and machine embroider and I was wondering if the work on the show is all by hand or machine.

      I also want to thank you for making yourself available to answer our questions and for posting your tidbits.

      [/quote]

      It is usually a combination of both. The wedding dress was all done by hand. We also do machine embroidery but often add in some hand stitching just to make it feel more authentic.

    • #8660
      conniebv
      Participant

      I recently read a book that took place in France around this era, and there was some detail there about shoes, how basically it was the outline of a foot cut from leather and then built up and folded-sort-of around the foot? I guess I am spoiled with modern footwear and how it protects from the elements. Men had boots, but it seems women’s footwear didn’t have as much cushion. Is that the case?

      • This reply was modified 6 years, 8 months ago by conniebv.
    • #8728
      michellibell
      Participant

      Hey Terri!
      One of the unexpected stars of Season 1 WAS the costuming. Many of us already loved the story, loved the characters, but were blown away with the costumes. It really changed my perspective on how much the right look can add to a character and setting.

      Do you feel and extra added pressure for Season 2?

    • #8752
      hdgurl
      Participant

      I don’t know where else to put this… since it is a question, I will put it here…

      Why can’t I ever see the initial (leading) post on any thread??

      • #8812
        Katie (@bunnums)
        Participant

        Seems to be a software glitch. Wasn’t happening last fall. Maybe WordPress updated something that doesn’t quite work right?

    • #8768
      judith
      Participant

      Terry,

      A couple of questions for you:

      I was wondering what was it about the books that you find so appealing?
      Are the 1700’s a favourite ear of yours? I much prefer the 1940’s and thought those costumes stunning.

      Thanks

      Judith

      • #8813
        Katie (@bunnums)
        Participant

        Claire’s blue 1940s coat! One of my favorite pieces ever. I would wear that now if I could find anything like it in my size.

        And that grey suit Claire was wearing when she married Frank. Elegant simplicity.

        Katie

    • #9565
      grahamlass
      Participant

      Would Love to Know.
      Last December 2015 an online auction took place* for a walk-on part in Outlander Season 2. Does anyone know 1) what episode was chosen, 2) who was the successful bidder and 3) if that person will be identified?
      I was a nervous wreck during the bidding because I did bid, well, maybe three times. Then I snapped out of it to realized I will need my retirement fund. For a little while I had a fun fantasy life going – day dreaming a discussion with Terry about fabrics and stomachers; how the hell I would get to the Cumbernauld studio (is it on a city bus route? shall I bring a sack lunch?).

      *benefiting Paul Newman’s charity ‘Serious Fun’/’Hole in the Wall Gang’
      – – – – –

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