Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

Tag Archives: costume design

The Materials

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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!

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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 Garrison Commander

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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

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

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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).

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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.

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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!

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Lovers Eye

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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

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Many have asked for more information about them, so here you go.
http://www.langantiques.com/university/index.php/Lover’s_Eye_Miniature

Some samples of the real thing.

Grrrrrrrranimals redux

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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.

Ned Gowan

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Oh how much did I LOVE this costume!!!!!!!!

Ned Gowan is one of my favorite characters in the book, and this costume was so much fun to do! Bill Paterson is perfection. Such a lovely, lovely man.

Our aging and dyeing team did a fabulous job on this!

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The Green Plaid

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This dress is a masterpiece I must credit to my incredible team led by our woman’s cutter, Georgina Diaz.

(to see full size, click on pictures)

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Episode 105, Rent

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The Riding Jacket

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This piece came about out of necessity. We didn’t plan on it, but it was so bitterly cold, and Cait had been through so much wearing that shift, I just couldn’t send her back out into the freezing winter, without something very seriously warm.

So Mrs. Fitz went back into her trunks and dug up this coat. It is very, very warm, and our girl was very, very warm.

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The gloves are made with kid and we printed and drew stag antlers on them in honor of the McKenzies.

The coat is based on 18th century riding jackets. I am including some of our research.

 

Geillis – Sketch Episode 104

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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)

 

Talk about sketching on a napkin!!!!

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I remember saying, let’s just do this, and scribbling this out. Everything was done in a panic! Ron’s cameo costume.