Inspiration caused by a nostalgia for the past is limitless. While modern-day fashion designers integrate certain historical silhouettes, structures or patterns into their designs, musicians are creating their own iconic beats through a love for the musical geniuses of the past. In a way, we fuel our present conceptions of the world around us with our ardor for the nostalgic, and for Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant, the past is forever a template of discovery.

mad men cast fashion

HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT THE SHOW MAD MEN, AND HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED?

I was in New Orleans designing another project when my agent called me about a possible opportunity with a new show, Mad Men, which would be set in the 1960’s. I was immediately interested. Since the end of Deadwood, I had wanted to work on another period show. The director of the Mad Men pilot and the producer both knew me and recommended me to Matthew Weiner, the creator of Mad Men. Matt and I sat down and talked for hours on our first meeting. We really connected on a creative level and he hired me a couple of days later.

YOU’RE NOW AN AMBASSADOR FOR THE HANDBAG BRAND, KORET. YOU’VE SAID IN A PREVIOUS INTERVIEW YOU HAD BOUGHT SOME OF THEIR VINTAGE PIECES ON EBAY AND ETSY… AND LIKE WE’VE SAID A FEW TIMES ALREADY, YOUR THE MAD MEN COSTUME DESIGNER (HOW COOL IS THAT?) WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE PAST THAT INSPIRES YOU?

I love Koret and their beautiful classic shapes and designs; it is such an honor to be a Brand Envoy for them. I buy Koret pieces and other vintage items because each piece is unique and special with a personal story — a previous life that I love to re-imagine. Isn’t that what we love about the classic movies and period films and television? They transport us into a different time, a different decade, and a different fantasy. They inspire us. The older generations can be nostalgic of a more elegant and fashionable time whereas the younger generations romanticize the past and have been inspired by the fashion of that period.

THE COSTUME DESIGN FOR THE SHOW IS AMAZING. TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR APPROACH IN DESIGNING FOR THE SHOW…

My approach and inspiration always begins with the script. The script is a roadmap for the characters, the mood, the specific period, time and place. The costumes tell the story and life of the characters, so it’s important to be very accurate.

From there I research everything I can find from that period: books, vintage magazines and newspapers, ads, catalogues, Internet and old movies.

mad men costume designer janie bryant

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE LAST SEASON? WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS WHEN THE SHOW ENDS?

The last season of Mad Men is bittersweet, as I have really enjoyed being the Costume Designer of such an amazing show. It has been a magical journey. I know it will be hard to leave this family, but I look forward to the possibilities the future holds. I have been designing and developing Janie Bryant Leg Couture, a new leg wear collection that is gorgeous! And will be available in stores Fall 2014. I’m also designing a line of men’s socks with Mack Weldon, my TV show “Janie Bryant’s Hollywood” is in the works, and I’m working on shape wear and dresses for the future. My work on Mad Men has kicked off a new chapter in my life and I’m excited for the new opportunities and adventures that lie ahead.

OH! TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR INCREDIBLE LINE OF TIGHTS. ALSO, HOW LONG HAS THE IDEA TO CREATE THE BRAND BEEN CHURNING IN YOUR MIND? OR WAS IT SPUR-OF-THE-MOMENT?

JANIE BRYANT LEG COUTURE is a functional, yet beautifully sexy line of leg wear that speaks to the needs of today’s women. The leg wear is sensual, dynamic, and creates the look of that perfect leg. With Leg Couture, leg wear is no longer an afterthought… It’s your first thought when dressing, acting as your foundation for the rest of your outfit. Leg wear no longer is an accessory and LEG COUTURE is the statement! The popularity and influence of the costume design of Mad Men has been exciting and opened up many design doors for my own design vision. The idea of launching my own brand has always been a dream of mine. My family was in the textile business, so leg wear and socks have always been in my blood.

x Are you a movie buff? Read our interview with Orange Is The New Black’s Taryn Manning x

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