News & Runway

Costume Designer Janie Bryant Talks Mad Men and Banana Republic

Janie Bryant is an Emmy Award Winning Costume Designer (for HBO's Deadwood) and Designer who is best known for her work on the massive hit Mad Men, which is set in 1960s New York and follows the lives of those working in one of its top advertising agencies. She’s received several Emmy nominations for her work on Mad Men and won the Outstanding Costume Design for Television Series – Period/Fantasy award from the Costume Designers Guild in 2011.

Her work on the show has been such a hit with its audience that she collaborated with Simon Kneen to create a Mad Men Collection at Banana Republic in August 2011. Its unprecedented success led to another collection in March 2012, and now a third Spring 2013 collection which features 50 pieces of apparel and accessories for men and women inspired by the 60s love of prints, color and geometry, and of course, those Mad Men characters.

After seeing the collection launch at (selected) Banana Republic stores and online on February 27, we loved it so much that we just had to catch up with Janie and ask her a few questions about the exciting new line. 

The Fashion Spot: Do you have a favorite character that you like to dress in the show?

Janie Bryant: I get asked this question a lot because the audience always has favorite characters. However, I am lucky enough to love all of the characters on the show, and I am lucky enough to love all of the actors as well. Mad Men has an ensemble cast which allows me to always have different favorites. For me, it is even more about having favorite costumes like Megan's Zou Bisou Bisou dress, Joan's red Christmas dress, Betty's blue brocade gown and also her butterfly brocade gown, and Don's light blue raw silk blazer, to name a few!

tFS: Tell us about the process that goes into designing the Banana Republic Mad Men collection?

JB: I'll go to New York and meet with the design team and talk about the key pieces, fabrics and inspirations. I share some of my original designs and also vintage pieces from the show. Then the design team goes off and creates the sketches and they'll come back to me and Simon with the design boards and Simon and I will have discussions about what the pieces are going to be, and then from there we create the collection.

tFS: What pieces are key to the Mad Men Banana Republic collection?

JB: The green and blue shift minidress is a dress that Megan actually wore in the promotions from last season. For the men's collection, the light blue sportscoat — that color of jacket is really directly taken from the show, that pale gorgeous blue! I really love that jacket. And also the plaid sports coat, as well. It's exciting to see those pieces in the line, because it's just pure Mad Men.

tFS: Which has been your favorite Mad Men collection for Banana Republic? 

JB: I have really enjoyed designing each of the Mad Men collections for Banana Republic. Each collection has been inspired by different aspects of the show, making each one unique in its own right. This past one was influenced by the mod 60s, allowing us to really get bold with the colors and the prints and creating a fun, fresh approach to the pieces.

tFS: What has been the cast’s response to the Banana Republic collection?

JB:The cast has been really supportive of the Banana Republic + Mad Men Collections.  For the most recent collection, there was a really great response to the pieces. Jessica Pare has been photographed wearing the blue and green shift minidress.

cast of Mad Men

tFS: What’s next for you?

JB: I've been developing a lot of different things, and I hope to have my own collection coming out shortly, which is really exciting.  I am currently working with the oneCARE company as the brand ambassador for Downy Wrinkle Releaser, and I am also working with Hearts on Fire diamonds which I love!  And lot’s more to come!  

The clothing from the range costs between $49.50 – $140 (women) and $44.50 – $375 (men), so hit those shops and check it out now! 

 Images: MatchBookPR, Banana Republic