Mad Men, Talented Woman

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There is something about the women of Mad Men that makes them mysteriously convincing beyond the outerwear so brilliantly conceived to express character by costume designer Janie Bryant. I was lucky enough to meet Janie, last week at LA Center Studios, where Mad Men is made. We talked in the wardrobe department, surrounded by racks and racks of vintage and newly made coats, hats, suits and, of course, frocks, including an exquisite blue silk dress that had been made by Janie’s grandmother for her mother. On today’s DnA, Janie explains her secret to the authenticity of the women, as well as her role in creating the total “look” for Mad Men.

Reversible coat and leopard-print purse for QVC, by Janie Bryant
Reversible coat and leopard-print purse for QVC, by Janie Bryant (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Janie, who made her mark in costume design with her work on another highly acclaimed period  show, Deadwood, is now designing for real women as well. A Mod line of retro-style “statement” garments for QVC, debuts August 29. She has a new role as spokesperson for women’s underwear company Maidenform (and when you listen to the interview you’ll know why that role is a perfect fit.)  She has book coming out, called The Fashion File, on November 1 (Co-written with Monica Corcoran). She’s a vlogger, with Simon Kneen, for Banana Republic. And she’s nominated, with her Costume Supervisor Le Dawson, for Outstanding Costumes, one of the 17 emmys that Mad Men is up for at the Emmys this month.