'Mad Men' costume designer dreams about California

'Mad Men' costume designer dreams about California
Roger Sterling (John Slattery), left, Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and Harry Crane (Rich Sommer) in "A Tale of Two Cities." (Jordin Althaus / AMC)

After Sunday night's season finale of "Mad Men," it seems the Golden State could possibly land a central role next season.

Between Don's temporary office leave, and Ted and Pete's California departure, there will be plenty of moments for costume designer Janie Bryant to play up the characters' "out of office" looks.


"It's always so exciting to get an opportunity to show a different side of `Mad Men,'" she says. "It's  such a great challenge, to show different cultural aspects of what's happening in  the time period."

This season the episode "A Tale of Two Cities," which journeyed to California, might have given us a taste of the future in terms of costume design.

"An important part was the color palette, and to show the contrasting colors of California instead of New York," says Bryant.

In "A Tale of Two Cities," the boys (Sterling, Don and Harry) travel to California. The costumes are a radical departure -- remember the tall white gladiator sandals on one hookah smoker, or Megan's hippie look, complete with the headband?

"It was all about the pastels and the shades of pinks and the yellows," says Bryant. "The psychedelic prints, and the influences of the Indian and Moroccan culture that was also so influential for hippie culture."

The biggest challenge was designing for everyday people.

"I happened to find this amazing website of hundred of shots of Hollywood Boulevard, to see what real people were wearing," says Bryant, "Doing that research is the foundation of being able to really create all the different characters."

And as we talked about last week, Don will always be refined and classic, but California brings out his lighter side, literally. In "A Tale of Two Cities" Don wears a tan linen sports coat, a California-worthy ensemble that still retains his style signature.

"Don and Roger really contrasted from that group. Really stood out as the fish out of water," says Bryant.

One character who didn't stand out, or at least desperately tried to fit in, was Harry.

"I love Harry Crane, from the very moment I met his character," says Bryant.


Harry is the ultimate wannabe -- if the fashion is in, it will show up on Harry Crane.

"My approach with Harry is really just the media, and Hollywood, and that end of the advertising business," she says. "He becomes more and more Mr. Hollywood, and that translates to him being able to wear the clothing of the period that is more far out."

One can only hope that next season is a continuation of Harry's Californication.

"He's doing his business in swimwear, it couldn't be more Hollywood than that," says Bryant, laughing.


Twitter: @celinecwright