5 questions for ‘Mad Men’ costume designer Janie Bryant

Banana Rebuplic’s new “Mad Men” collection is in stores now.

The new season of “Mad Men” has been shrouded in CIA-like secrecy. As the premiere date draws closer, we try our best to extract a few clues about what to expect from costume designer Janie Bryant.

Now that we’re just days away from the season premiere and the cast photos have been released, what can you reveal about the look of the characters? How has their wardrobe evolved since last season?

Honestly, I’m sworn to secrecy until the premiere on March 25. You’ll have to wait and see!

Okay, how does the new “Mad Men” collection for Banana Republic reflect the look of
Season 5?

Our second collection was inspired by the characters while at the club, because of the fun contrast to the home and office settings. It’s about an era of lounging poolside or attending a Fourth of July barbecue in a crisp blue polo shirt and stunning the crowd in a lush ivory dress.

Were you obligated to design it in such a way that wouldn’t give away too many details about the actual show?

For this collection, [Banana Republic creative director Simon Kneen] and I talked a lot about the characters and scenes that inspired us, the roles they were playing [and] the emotions they’re going through, and [we] worked to translate all that context into beautiful design. We stayed with the traditional “Mad Men” look that viewers have come to love.

The new collection manages to feel both vintage and very 2012.

It was about taking a vintage look and updating it with a modern twist. We took some of our favorite trending colors and prints, like the bright pinks and large florals in some of the women’s pieces, and fit them on a ’60s silhouette, like a capri pant or nip-waist dress.

The first four seasons of “Mad Men” helped spark a global obsession with the mid-century way of dressing, influencing an entire season of ready-to-wear collections. Do you think Season 5 will do the same thing for late ’60s dressing?

People identify with the costume design of the characters and there has already been a clear resurgence of 1960s trends on runways this spring. Beautiful, dressed-up tailoring with emphasis on the waist,  bright colors for ladies and tailored, slim-cut apparel for men are all making a comeback.

Don Draper in bell bottoms?

The new season of “Mad Men” is just days away, and from the look of things, the show will pick up in the late 1960s — that means a whole new time period’s worth of wardrobe possibilities for Don, Betty, Roger and Peggy. We imagine what they’ll be wearing.


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