There are some outfits or themes on Mad Men that have become iconic, like Megan in coral. How do you decide when to repeat an outfit or what ideas are going to be central to a character?
There’s no hard and fast rule to that. I wanted [Megan] to wear something coral for the first episode of Season 5 because when we last saw her, when Don announced their engagement, she was wearing a coral dress, but a different coral dress. Coral is one of the character colors for Megan that I assigned to her, and so I wanted to start off the season with her wearing that color costume–coral for me really signifies Megan and Don’s romance. I wanted to introduce that costume in the first episode, but then when I got the script for the Howard Johnson episode, I knew she had to wear coral and that two-piece ensemble. I loved the idea of the chevron stripe of the jacket mimicking the architecture of the Howard Johnson and also, if you notice, the chevron stripe almost has like this kinetic kind of feel to it – like being anxious – and so it really tells the story of their whole fight at the HoJo.
In this season you’ve costume designed for a ghost (Adam Whitman in Episode 13) and a corpse (Lane in Episode 12)–how did you determine how Adam should dress and what Lane’s final ensemble should be?
Adam is actually wearing his janitor costume from when we saw him in Season 1. I wanted Lane’s costume to be typical Lane in wearing his suit and non-matching waistcoat (vest) but the colors and patterns were quiet, subtle and dark.
In the season finale, Beth really spins back into the picture. What inspires her wardrobe? She has a cute yet conservative vibe that reminds me of Betty in past seasons in a way…
That is true; she has similarities with Betty in that she is an upper middle class suburban house wife, but Beth is much more delicate and fragile. Her costumes really illustrate her sadness, and vulnerability.
And what inspired Megan’s fairytale costume for the Butler commercial in Episode 13? It is so amazing!
Thank you! I was so inspired by Disney movies like Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It was about creating a fairytale peasant princess. I designed the canary yellow chemise made of cotton voile inspired from the French Baroque period and the dirndl from Germany is a traditional folk dress. Her costume is a mix of different cultures and periods and the combination makes the perfect fantasy.
It’s really amazing how much emotionality and power is in each character’s wardrobe.
For me this season has really been my favorite season. I say that every year though, right? It just keeps on getting better and better: the stories get better, the characters are richer, I’ve loved this whole season! It’s really the first time that we’ve seem a miniskirt on Mad Men. I thought it made so much impact to see Megan in that minidress doing the Zoo-Bisou-Bisou dance and see all the charcters in that apartment. You can really see all their characters in that moment. That was really an amazingly challenging scene.