We have been honored to do an interview with Terry Dresbach, costume designer for Outlander. Regular readers know that she often comments on our podcasts, reviews, and recaps of Outlander. And while we have definitely enjoyed her and her team’s work, we’ve had a few quibbles about elements of historical accuracy! So we were excited to ask her all of our burning questions, and we gotta say, she certainly cleared up a lot. She was also kind enough to provide us with some high-resolution images of costumes from Outlander season 2, which we are sharing here.
Frock Flicks: What got you started in costume design?
Terry Dresbach: I had planned to be a costume designer in high school. Designed a lot at Berkeley High School, and planned to go to NYU. Not a lot of places to study costume design. BHS was very connected to theater world, and being the Bay Area, working in Los Angeles in film and TV was just not part of the discussion. In the end, I decided I just didn’t see the rest of my life in the THEAHTAHHH. Went to art school and studied fine art.
Cut to over 10 years later, I was a starving artist making my “living” doing band posters, when a film came to the Bay Area. I got a job driving the film to and from the airport. Paid $300 a week. I was rich! I started hanging around the production. There I found my creative universe, and essentially, just ran away with the circus. Ignoring the askance looks of Berkeley, and “LOS ANGELES?” — I packed up and moved to LA.
I planned to be a production designer, which is a hard road for a woman. Jobs in the Costume Department kept falling in my lap, and one thing led to another. I took my first designer job in 1988. Started on tiny little indie films, back when that still existed, and worked my way up the ladder.
Frock Flicks: Most of your work has been in contemporary productions, with the exception of Carnivale. How different has your work on Outlander been from those contemporary productions? How different was Carnivale?
Terry Dresbach: Hollywood pigeonholes people, because it is risk averse. What was it Jenny Beavan said when she got one of her many well deserved awards recently? She thanked George Miller for hiring the woman who did all the period pieces? I loved that. The ones who get stuck doing nothing but period pieces, desperate to stretch and do something different. All of us who get pigeonholed doing contemporary, or fantasy, or whatever, desperate to do period pieces.
It is really utter horseshit. We are costume designers, our job is to design everything, there is no specialty area. The great costume designers, the Edith Heads, the Walter Plunketts, they designed all periods. Maybe not sci-fi, but only because it was relegated to B-movie status back then.
Carnivale was my first period piece. It took someone like Ron Moore to think outside the box, to talk to me, hear my creative views, hear who I was and what I wanted to do on Carnivale. He hired me on the spot, something that never happens. It was the perfect job for me. Social realism meets a magical carnival during the Depression. Marx and magic?? A Berkeley girl’s dream.
I would have done anything to do that show. I waited for almost a year for the production to get up and running and get an interview, taking everything I could to keep a roof over my head (Buffy) [editor’s note: Buffy the Vampire Slayer], while I waited. But the reality was nothing like the fantasy. It was very early days for period pieces for TV. I think the only thing that had been done at that point was Rome, and the stories that came out of that were legendary.
My guess is that most of you, the historical costuming community, and the rest of the world, would assume that the people who make the budgets, decide how much time you get, how much staff you need, know something about film/TV production. Well, they don’t. It is rare for a studio exec to have actual production experience, let alone know anything about the mysterious world that women are allowed to inhabit, the Costume Dept.
On Carnivale, we got the same budget as Six Feet Under, which was a contemporary show. No one could understand that there was a difference in cost, time, crew, to do a period show than a contemporary one.
We dressed 5,000 extras on Carnivale. It was absolutely the worst experience I’ve ever had in the business. It was utterly heartbreaking, because I was so in love with it. I actually went blind in one eye, one day, from stress, and I am not a fragile girl, but that show was a complete mofo. I did get an Emmy and an amazing husband (Ron Moore) out of it. But to this day I am unable to watch it, it is such a bad memory. It drove me screaming out of the business after a 20-year career.
Didn’t want to do it. Knew that the business hadn’t changed, that a giant period show like this need a minimum of four months prep. They couldn’t find anyone else to do it, probably because of the same reasons I didn’t want to. It was going to be a brutal experience. Finally, Ron asked me to just get it up and running, then they would find a replacement, and I agreed to help out. That was almost four years ago.
We had seven weeks to prep Season One, two weeks to make Caitriona’s costumes. In the first two weeks of filming, we needed to see almost every costume she wore in the first half of S1. When we started prep, we had electricity, that was it. No sewing machines, no phones, no furniture, nothing.
Carnivale redux. But I had done Carnivale, I knew the pitfalls. We/I, moved heaven and earth to pull off a miracle. It was predictably an awful experience.
Our first discovery was that there were virtually no rentals to be had, and we were going to have to make most of it. I don’t know how we did it. Actually I do. Costuming a cast of thousands is nothing like making a perfect period gown. It is dressing an army, with no time and never enough money or staff. It comes down to management and logistics.
How do you dress an army that all wear different costumes? You have to create a costume factory. One that is capable of making everything that anyone is going to wear, from the extras to the cast. Thousands and thousands of pieces.
People really have absolutely no clue what goes into it.
Frock Flicks: My understanding is that you were instrumental in the decision to adapt the books for TV (introducing Ron to the books, meeting with Diana). Can you tell us about your role in that process?
Terry Dresbach: I read the books when they first came out, long before I met Ron. I read them many times. After I met Ron, he picked up a dog-eared copy, and said “Why are there so many of these books?” I told him about it, and said he really needed to make it into a movie. That was about it, until one evening at dinner with Ron and Maril, Ron’s producing partner, it came to light that Maril was also a fan. That was the end of that, and Ron pretty much had no choice from that point on. We double-teamed him. There was going to be a TV show.
But someone else had the rights at that point, and they were trying to figure out how to make it into a movie. Ron and I kind of gave up. But Maril persevered, like a dog with a bone. She is the reason it finally got made. They went and met with Diana. I didn’t meet her until later. She has been truly wonderful, incredibly supportive. I think the world of her.
Frock Flicks: You’ve mentioned, in interviews and on your blog, that there was pressure to modernize the costumes. What was the vision that others (the studios?) had for the costumes?
Terry Dresbach: A modern, fashion-oriented, version of history. Hollywood has historically assumed that a modern audience finds history boring. They may be correct in that assumption. I think that the success of shows that adapt historical costumes into contemporary fashion, speaks to that.
But I (and Ron) don’t believe in dumbing things down to meet the lowest expectation. History is fascinating, historical costume is fascinating, and the audience is smarter than Hollywood gives them credit for, given a chance. I would not have done a modernized view of the 18th-century, or any other for that matter. I was not going to put everyone in leather to make it sexy, have women running around in corsets as outerwear, or use runway fashions, so that the audience could go out and dress like the characters.
Not only do I have zero interest in that, but, I knew that the 18th century was one of the sexiest periods of fashion in history. Contemporary fashion designers have been revisiting it for DECADES. Why the hell would we need to make it sexy, when it already was??
The suits of Hollywood do not know the difference between one period or another, and I think they live in mortal fear of Queen Elizabeth, LOL.
I fought hard to go with historical accuracy, and with Ron’s support, everyone agreed.
Frock Flicks: How and why did you arrive at your own decision to argue for emphasizing the real history in costumes?
Terry Dresbach: It was never a question as far as I was concerned. Without the agreement that we were going for historical accuracy, I would not have accepted the job. I don’t generally like modernized history, with the exception of Anna Karenina [editor’s note: the 2012 version, we assume], which I thought was perfectly brilliant.
In hindsight, I am much more forgiving with the choice that others have made to bend the rules.
Television schedules are unforgiving. We make a giant period movie every episode. It would have been SO MUCH EASIER to go to the mall. I know it sounds like so much hyperbole, but we mop up the blood at the end of every work day. It is an exhausting, unforgiving, brutal task we have taken on.
That we get heat for not taking period costuming seriously, is breathtaking to me. We kill ourselves to get it as right as possible.
I would LOVE to hand it over to one of the nit-pickers for just one episode. Thank God my team doesn’t read what is on the internet, they would be heartbroken.
Frock Flicks: Did you go through the books and take copious notes on anything costume-related?
Terry Dresbach: No. In the beginning I thought it would be cool to make the costumes according to the book descriptions. As a fan of the books, I have a pretty good sense of the fan base. I knew that would make them happy. I didn’t make it past the first couple of chapters.
Books and screens are different mediums. I read the book many times, and other than the red dress, never really questioned the choices. Because reading allows for the reader to insert their own imagination and adjust things to their preferences. Translating those descriptions is an entirely different ballgame. Writers are rarely costume designers, they don’t have to be, it’s not their job.
Frock Flicks: 18th-century Scottish clothing is something of a black hole when it comes to published research. What sources did you manage to find?
Terry Dresbach: Not much. Which is why I am so puzzled when people shred us for misrepresenting 18th-century Scottish dress. Where the hell are they getting their research from?? We looked everywhere. Museums, libraries, online, etc. Researching cultural attributes of a country that has experienced cultural genocide is a bit tricky.
You can go by the romanticized version put out by the Victorians. You can use the portraits done by the aristocracy, who can tell the painters to paint them however they like. They didn’t usually have portraits done of the poor. There is no photographic evidence. There are a few actual pieces that survive, worn by the wealthy, and a few that have been pulled out of bogs
Ultimately, we had to make certain assumptions, having screwed ourselves by insisting on doing this the right way. Scotland was a modern enlightened country in the 18th century, an ally of France. Most of Europe followed fashions set by France, adapting them for their cultures and climates. We tried to do that for Scotland. We interpreted the silhouette in heavy wool. People still live in wool in Scotland. Keeps you warm and dry.
You also need to remember that we were doing our research in those seven weeks at the same time we were installing machinery, desks, phones, and starting to make costumes. It all happened at the same time. I wish we had months to sit around studying the minutiae, before cutting a piece of fabric. That is not how costume design works.
But I am very satisfied with what we have pulled off. We actually do get a lot of very positive feedback from historical costume experts, museum people, especially in Scotland, which is extra rewarding.
Frock Flicks: How do you manage the push/pull of making the costumes look historically accurate versus accurate to the book?
Terry Dresbach: I don’t try. It is an impossible task. There have been three costumes that I decided to do that were fan favorites. They are the ones that I have been asked about hundreds of times: The white shift in the beginning, the red dress, and the gown the kings mistress wears.
They also happen to be the descriptions that are the most difficult to translate and the ones you KNOW you are going to get raked over the coals for. The non-book-readers are not going to know why they are there, the historical people, like you guys, are going to scream bloody murder, and the fans are going to be pissed over any variance from the literal word. It is the definition of a no-win.
Frock Flicks: You’ve mentioned before that you don’t sew. How does that inform/challenge/assist you as a designer?
Terry Dresbach: Has no real bearing. I always point out when asked, that architects probably cannot, nor are expected to be able to actually build the buildings they design.
Yet everyone expects costume DESIGNERS to sew. That seems a little “womens workish” to me. I understand construction, I know how garments are put together, and that is all I need in order to convey what I need and want to the people who actually construct the garments. That is THEIR specialty, their area of expertise and I respect their knowledge and capability. They respect mine. My inability to sew has been a non-issue, but remains a fascinating point for others.
Frock Flicks: We’d love to know more about your costume shop. Could you talk us through the process of making one hypothetical costume? Do you design solo? What’s the cutters’ and stitchers’ and everyone else’s roles? When do actors/actresses get involved – is it just for fittings?
Terry Dresbach: Oh, that is such a huge question. I’ll try to make it somewhat succinct if that is possible.
Let’s say we get a scene in a script for a new character. First, we have to break down what happens to him/her. Are they getting shot, stabbed, swimming, involved in a mud fight, or riding a horse. In other words, how many are we going to have to make of that one costume? It could be as many as six copies, depending on what happens.
I, or an assistant designer will design the costume. I usually do the principal characters. But on show this size, with hundreds of incredibly complicated costumes, that is just not possible. My very talented and capable assistant designers will do a lot of the “day players” and some of the supporting cast.
We talk thorough all the costumes as a whole in any scene. If you are doing a dinner party, all the costumes have to work together. You need a seating chart. Then you create a mock table on paper, and arrange colors around the table, so there is harmony and the viewer is not distracted by things clashing. That takes forever. You have to find everyone’s fabrics, trims, details, decide how not to replicate feeling or looks, so that you are creating individual characters, that create a whole. Our tables are covered with piles of fabric, lace, buttons, trims. We use hundreds of thousands of yards of lace, trim, probably 100,000 buttons in S2. Don’t even get me started on the exhaustive search for new embroidery variations or furbelow configurations on hundreds and hundreds of gowns. The charts, the graphs, oy. It is painstaking, it is painful, and we do it endlessly.
As for principals, I often do their designs on the weekends, when I have fewer distractions. They become the cornerstone on which we build all the other characters.
Once the costumes are all sketched out, all the fabrics, trims, buttons, etc., have been decided on, and ordered, any fabric dyeing, or labor intensive treatments like embroidery or painting have been completed, the sketches go to our cutters who then translate the sketch to pattern. From pattern, they cut the garment (hopefully the fabric has arrived), it then gets dispensed to the makers. We have about 30 makers. It takes about a month to make a Paris costume from beginning to end, because we are making many costumes at once and because the detailing is so elaborate and often hand-done. We can slam some things out faster in an emergency, but try to avoid that at all costs. That just creates more bleeding.
After the costume is finished, it goes to our aging and dyeing team who make the costume look like it belongs to a real person, adding whatever layers of life the costume and character require.
Frock Flicks: What’s with all the cartridge pleating? Why aren’t many gowns/skirts knife pleated as they would have been in the period?
Terry Dresbach: That is probably me, to some extent. I am obsessed with cartridge pleating. But we do knife pleating as well.
Frock Flicks: What’s with all the back-lacing? Is it easier to fit? Does it make dressing the actresses easier? Is it just random and now you’re stuck with it?
Terry Dresbach: We are not stuck with it. It is just one of those things. In early days we saw back-lacing in our research and did not have the time to do the kind of research that you guys can do, to determine that was not very common. We used it, unaware what a horror it was for some.
You guys can be very happy to know that I have banned it. I am grateful you pointed it out. You guys can stop beating us over the head with that note. We got it.
Frock Flicks: Geillis always looked slightly off in season 1. To what degree was that about her being from the 20th century? Or her witchiness? Or both? Or something else?
Terry Dresbach: This IS a show about time travel. It is not a documentary about historical costuming. We are telling the story of individual characters. Our job as costume designers is to tell stories about people. Clothing is used as a vehicle to that end.
This is the part I do not get about historical costume people. Fashion/costumes are never absolutes. There are as many interpretations of clothing as there are people. There has to be room for individuals and how they interpret themselves through their clothing.
Geillis is a perfect example of that. I am not going to spoil anything for those who have not read the book, but of all people, why would Geillis not drop breadcrumbs all over the place that tell us there is something up with her? That who she is, is going to impact how she dresses, just like everyone else in the world. That just seems so obvious. We all make choices as individuals, every day, as to how we express ourselves through clothing, even if that choice means following along with what everyone else wears.
Frock Flicks: You’ve noted that fashion under Louis XV is different than the pastel froof we associate with Louis XVI. What sort of vision did you have for the look of Paris?
Terry Dresbach: The palette was darker, the colors deeper, almost heavier. After working with a show that is shot very dark, and a lot of it in candlelight, I had two options. Going lighter, which was a later style, or going brighter, which was the direction we went. I wanted rich brilliant colors to emerge from the darkness. You can see the mood boards I created over on my blog that illustrate that [editor’s note: here’s the link].
Frock Flicks: You’ve mentioned that you couldn’t rent any costumes for season 2, even for extras. Can you tell us more about that situation? Is there another massive 18th-century production going on that we don’t know about? Or were all the available options not right for 1740s, or for the look you wanted, or too expensive?
Terry Dresbach: It is a multifaceted issue, and all of the above problems are at play. When we started in S1, the latest version of Pirates was prepping. When we walked into the rental house, there were rails and rails of 18th-century costumes, all tagged for that show. I think Versailles was also shooting or prepping at that time.
Everyone, ourselves included, has this vision of vast warehouses filled to the brim with the perfect period clothing for all possible endeavors. Kilts Galore! Reality is something different. Hollywood stopped making big period pieces a long time ago, and television never did them, except for westerns. Places like Western Costume sold off vast quantities of their period stock because it was never used. So the rental houses are pretty bare bones.
You go to the racks that say “18th century,” and it is a whole century of fashion, mainly the period of Marie Antoinette. You pull out 20 gowns that are mid 18th, delete the garish colors, the grossly inaccurate, the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ types, and you end up with five gowns. Maybe you do better with men’s frockcoats and end up with 50. You fly around Europe trying to collect all the costumes you need? Waste of time and money to end up with less than you need. We need hundreds and hundreds of costumes that we are going to rent for years and years. You rent those and spend a FORTUNE over the years to do a TV series.
We have made a few thousand costumes for the same price as renting them for one year, and they are ours, designed for our aesthetic, and we can do what we want with them. We can change the trim, the embellishments as needed. We pay for the cost of making them one time instead of paying that same amount every six months for the next eight years. At this point, we have our own costume house.
I would love to talk to the other designers out there doing period pieces. We are all in the same boat. Pretty sure we are all mass-producing costumes.
Frock Flicks: You’ve mentioned that you had fabrics made for season 2, and we’ve seen a lot of images on your Twitter feed showing the beautiful embroidery work that’s been done in-house. Have you used any other techniques to make fabrics?
Terry Dresbach: We do a ton of embroidery. We have six pro machines. We also do a lot of painted fabrics. We have done a lot of block printing, even stenciling for extras costumes. We do mass dyeing. We have an enormous dye room. If there is a technique that we come across to create believable fabrics, we will employ it. At the end of S2, we used some of our slower times to create yards and yards of quilted fabric to add to our stock. We have tried our hand at painting tartan, just to see what that was like. It was spectacular.
Frock Flicks: You’ve mentioned that you lost a lot of your costume team sometime between season 1 and 2. Can you talk about what happened?
Terry Dresbach: You always have some ebb and flow. We have never shut down. Our department works straight through, when the rest of the show is on break. We have to, in order to deliver what is needed. We did not lose a lot of people between seasons, we have been lucky enough to keep the majority of our team.
But we have lost a lot of cutters. It is a tough job to fill. Everybody and their mother is shooting in the UK, and there are more cutting jobs available than there are cutters. So the top cutters can pick and choose and are fought over fiercely. We are not in London, we are out in the wilds of Scotland. People have homes and families, usually in London, lives that the business asks them to walk away from for years on end. When there is a job half an hour from your kids school that pays top dollar, why relocate?
In the middle of S2 prep while we were in the middle of making all of the women’s costumes, our women’s cutting team gave notice. They had family issues and a job offer at home. They took it. It left us in an untenable position. The entire production was put at risk as we had no way to finish the lead actresses costumes in time for shooting. I lived in nauseousness for weeks. We had a revolving door of temporary cutters finish all everything. You want consistency above all else.
So when you guys wonder why we don’t have the perfect robe a la francaise, that is why. We were lucky we could shoot. It absolutely broke my heart as I watched all my dreams for S2 go down the drain.
This is the kind of thing that is very common in our business. We all are usually one step ahead of one kind of disaster or another. It is just the way things are. Supply and demand, weather, lack of prep, money, crew, a million things that can go wrong and always do.
But I am insanely proud of what we accomplished. The response to the S2 costumes has been overwhelming. The reviews of the costumes have been extraordinary, and our disaster remains in my heart and not on the screen.
Frock Flicks: You’ve decided that Claire would modernize the 1740s fashions she has made while in Paris. Can you talk us through that decision from a character perspective? How does dressing Claire differently from the other upper-class Parisians work from a story perspective?
Terry Dresbach: Again, this is a show about time travel. Claire is not from the 18th century. Cait and I worked to maintain Claire’s physicality as a woman from the ’40s in Scotland. It was easier there. We put pockets in her clothes, her costumes were made of wool which lent itself to a feel of suiting. We kept her clothing very simple and tailored.
But as we faced Paris it was a very different proposition. As you know all to well, we are talking about a highly embellished, ultra frilly, highly feminine period of dress. It just wasn’t Claire.
In the book, she feels very restricted by various items of clothing and discards them. Putting her in the clothing of the French court felt like it was totally against character. So I turned to her period of origin, the 1940s as we had before. I would not do this with any other characters other than Claire and Geillis, who are from other time periods. I can color outside the lines with them. I cannot with Jenny or Louise. Not only do they HAVE to stay within the lines, it only works for Claire and Geillis to go outside, if everyone else stays inside. Otherwise it is a mess.
When I started looking at Post WWII fashion one of the first things that jumped out of me was Christian Dior’s Bar suit. Anyone who has any knowledge of fashion knows this piece, as did I. But viewing it again, after doing an 18th-century show. I could see that it was so clearly a riff on an 18th- and 19th-century riding suit. Further research supported that. It was such an obvious choice for Claire.
She would NOT have seen that particular suit, but she might have had a similar reaction as Dior did, when she saw the real thing in the 18th century, that he did in the 20th. It was a suit after all, something she was comfortable in, it was familiar to her. It seemed like it would be something of a lifeboat for her in a sea of frills. I proposed it to Cait who loved the idea, and that was our blueprint going forward. I looked to Dior, Balmain, Balenciaga, Charles James, and illustrators like Rene Gruau for inspiration.
The audience, their expectations, or fashion knowledge, never played into my choice in any way. I design for the character and the story.
Frock Flicks: Talk to us about “The Red Dress.” The description in the book seems somewhat different from what’s on screen (i.e., there are mentions of corsetry and sheer frills somewhere around Claire’s neckline). How did you arrive at your particular design, with the deep V cut out of the neckline and the very minimal styling?
Terry Dresbach: Once again, we were going down a 20th-century path with Claire, so that really helped with a very challenging costume from the book. This was something we decided to do because of fan interest. We wanted to honor that. It was a book moment that mattered. BUT the book description never made sense to me. It was the one costume that I had read over the years, and went, huh? A corset alone made the exposure of breast and skin as described impossible. I did not understand sheer panels being inset at all and had never seen anything like that. Diana may have, I don’t know. Red is always tricky. I would never choose to do an enormous red dress on screen. It overpowers everything. Embellish it too much, and you end up with a saloon girl.
So I looked to the 20th century again and found a gorgeous array of beautiful and very simple red dresses that allowed the color to provide the ornamentation. I took the basic silhouette of an 18th-century gown, stripped it of all the frills and bows, any lace, and most importantly, removed the corset. That allowed me to create the scandal needed, something we did with Geillis, who is never corseted. Putting myself in Claire’s shoes, I opened up the center front of the bodice (back-lacing required). That revealed as much bosom as possible, which would serve the story points that Jamie is scandalized by how low cut the gown is (in a time when low cut was common place), and would be enough of a sensation to draw the attention of the King.
That was the job, and I fulfilled it quite well, I think.
Some of the book fans are upset because I deviated from a literal translation of the description, and you guys are appalled [editor’s note: appalled is a pretty strong word! We disliked it, sure], but the rest of the world is pretty damned excited about it. I can accept that.
Frock Flicks: As of season 2, episode 2, there doesn’t seem to be any robes à la française (aka, sack-back gowns, the classic and most popular dress of the mid-18th century, with long back pleats that make the dress float in back). Why not?
Terry Dresbach: See above. We are lucky that Claire and the other female cast have costumes at all. We averted disaster, but not without a price. We lost a few designs including a couple ofrobes à la française. We had to take shortcuts and make modifications to what we were in the middle of.
We are very fortunate that the percentage of our audience who knows those things are missing is very, very small.
Frock Flicks: Yet, one character at the French court is in a robe à la piemontaise, where the back pleats are cut separate from the dress. Why was that style chosen, despite it being about 30-40 years too early? Is it just easier to make/wear than the the classic française?
Terry Dresbach: Yes. At that point in our situation it was probably easier.
Frock Flicks: How did you approach designing for Louis XV?
Terry Dresbach: Louis is quite young in our story. We used him as a vehicle to show just how over the top and outrageous fashion was at that period. A steady march towards that guillotine. He was so much fun to do. You need occasional fun to keep everyone going.
Frock Flicks: Talk to us about designing for Mary Hawkins. What character traits were essential for you to convey on screen?
Terry Dresbach: She is our ingénue, our sweet and innocent virgin. A flower, unlike Louise in every way. I loved doing Louise. She was our stereotype, our representative for the dotted i’s and crossed t’s of 18th-century French fashion. She is sexy and saucy, a true coquette.
Frock Flicks: Claire often wears her hair down when it’s up to her. Is that a reflection of her 20th-century origins?
Terry Dresbach: I don’t do hair, and never remember her wearing it down in S2 in public.
She did on occasion in Scotland when living rough, on the road. But our fantastic hair and makeup team is a stickler for such things. I bow to their knowledge of what is appropriate where.
Frock Flicks: So far, we haven’t seen many of the French upper class wearing hair powder as they would have done in the period. Is that a character/story decision? Or are powdered hair/wigs just too weird for modern audiences?
Terry Dresbach: Again, that is not my domain, but I thought the majority of our men were wigged.
Frock Flicks: You’ve been incredibly available and communicative with the fans of the show, more so than any other costume designer that we’re aware of. I can guess that’s been both a positive and negative experience. On the whole, are you glad you made that choice?
Terry Dresbach: Depends on what day it is. But 90% of it has been incredibly positive. What an incredible fan base we have. They are wildly supportive and enthusiastic. No one who knows me believes that I am active on social media. I am surprised myself. But what a rich opportunity to share what we do, with people from all around the world. Fans want to know what we do, to understand how it all works, all the logistics all the details, the triumphs, the failures, the challenges. That is incredibly exciting.
If this business is ever going to change and, in particular, change for the women who work in it, we need to show more than just the red-carpet version of things. If people want to see behind the scenes, then it has to be more than “who is the biggest prankster on set?” And if fans want to stomp their feet and yell about decisions and choices that are made behind the scenes, they need to understand how it all works.
99% of the people who tear things apart have absolutely no idea about the realities involved in making a TV show. It is a two-way street. But the vast majority are just warm, and lovely. It is interesting that our fan base is mainly women, and they have become like family for us. I think we would be welcome in their homes and at dinner tables around the world. They are a very nurturing bunch.
I personally have found the entire interaction incredibly rewarding. It has added an unexpected element that has probably kept me on the show.
We thank Terry for her time for this interview! You can read Terry Dresbach’s blog here!