Terry Dresbach took to Twitter again during broadcast the weekend for Episode 411 IfNot For Hope to give some insight to the design ideas for the episode. Not only some insight, but she will make you think, with her lessons on silhouettes and character logic. After many inquiries into the thinking behind the costuming this season, Dresbach has opened up more of the concept drawing cache of photos, storyboarding and mood boards for the episode.
There has been a great deal of fan questioning on where and how Claire and Brianna get their fabulous attire on the show. Much of it is pure history and practicality. As with all characters, much design thought goes in. If Claire only had Jocasta’s cast asides, even if they were not of practical cloth, she would wear what she had and adapt. Again, using remade clothing from Aunt Jocasta, or remaking Claire’s own wardrobe from 20 years before. The colonies simply did not have the textile goods since they were heavily taxed. Indeed later in the colonial period, many raw goods for textiles were shipped out to Britain, made into cloth, shipped back and heavily taxed. And in this episode, it’s Brianna’s turn for the baby bump adaptions with loose bedgowns.
Of course it’s not all about the ladies in this episode. Whenever Lord John Grey turns up, the costume elegance and verve swings in. Lord John is always impeccable, even in just his plain shirt and breeches. His is true elegance, even in his riding gear. In this episode we see him in a simply elegant dark blue with lovely gold trim, that outshines all the suitors for Brianna.
Terry Dresbach has been sharing some great inside knowledge this season. Although she officially left Outlander design department last winter, she has been staying on with the @OutlanderCostum Twitter feed through the airing of Season 4. As you can guess, she gets inundated with a lot of costume information requests. For episode 409 The Birds and The Bees, Dresbach shared some more information on costuming design for Brianna and Young Ian. The series has been getting a great deal of praise, while at the same time getting a lot of fans questioning design. As always, the design team at the series goes through extensive research for all characters and what would be available to them.
Shared for this episode is the thought process that goes behind designing for each character, including more costume design and character boards. For example, Brianna goes through a huge emotional and personal journey to meet her parents in the past. She grabs clothing around her as she gets to Fraser’s Ridge. It is also a very modern young woman’s thing to do, borrow clothing. Costuming a newly arrived traveler from the future meant thinking like the character would. Brianna was given a trunk of Claire’s old clothing, and we see the reuse of some costumes from Season 1 and 2. Much of this is based in fact, what would have been available. Clothes were often handed to the next generation and considered property. And many people in families made their own clothing or made for others. There wasn’t a tailor on every corner, or a shop to purchase as we do today. Bespoke was for the wealthy and in large cities. Colonials for the most part were poor immigrants, and as a colony, resources were taken from the colony by the British and goods such as woven fabric were shipped back and heavily taxed. Average people had one set of clothes, maybe an extra shirt or petticoat, but many things were reused and mended constantly, and borrowed.
Assimilation should also be taken into account. As colonists came, they may adapt the clothing of the natives, namely skins and hides, into their own clothing. If the native people have been surviving there so long, it would only make sense. It was also a world of trade and bartering systems. You could get what you needed if you could trade, and it was also a way to escape taxation. Young Ian has spent a great deal of time with the Indian population and begins to adapt their clothing and take as his own style, as many of the Mountain Men did for survival and acceptance of culture.
The SCAD Museum of Art is hosting the Outlander Season 4 Exhibit through December, which includes some 20 costumes of past and the new seasons. Original costume designs by Terry Dresbach, who has designed and created along with her team of 70 artisans, the striking, detailed costume looks of all 4 seasons. Dresbach has stepped down from designing this last season. She assures fans she has found the next designer to carry on the series.
Check out this fabulous walk around the exhibit and see some amazing design work!