published Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Janie Bryant's vintage vibe sets tone for TV drama 'Mad Men' and spring runways

Cleveland, Tenn. native Janey Bryant is an award-winning costume designer for the AMC TV series "Mad Men."
Cleveland, Tenn. native Janey Bryant is an award-winning costume designer for the AMC TV series "Mad Men."
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

ABOUT JANIE BRYANT

* Hometown: Cleveland, Tenn.

* Education: Graduate of Brenau Academy in Gainesville, Ga., attended Georgia State University and studied at the American College of Applied Arts in Atlanta.

* First costuming job: A Nick at Nite ad.

* Awards: Won 2005 Emmy Award for Outstanding Costumes for a Series for "Deadwood," 2009 Outstanding Costume Design for Television Series for "Mad Men" from Costume Designers Guild, Emmy nominee for "Mad Men."

* Books: Author of "The Fashion File."

Source: janiebryant.com, Times Free Press archives


SEASON 4 RECAP

Spoiler alert! Here's a quick recap of the questions left by Season 4's cliffhangers.

* Although romancing his therapist, Don Draper proposes to his 20-something sexy secretary, Megan, within days after sleeping with her. Will he go through with the marriage?

* Roger lost the Lucky Strike account; is the boozing ad exec still valuable to the agency?

* Joan, who is carrying Roger's baby, came close to terminating her pregnancy but walked out of the abortion clinic at the last moment. Will she really try to pass Roger's child off as her husband's, who is fighting in Vietnam?

* Peggy saved Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce by landing a pantyhose account. Will the agency's big boys ever take her seriously, or will she find acceptance in New York's growing counter-culture?

After a 17-month wait, "Mad Men" viewers can almost hear the ice tinkling in Don Draper's highball.

AMC's Emmy-winning drama returns at 9 o'clock tonight with a two-hour premiere. But "Mad Men" creator Matt Weiner plans to tease fans a little longer for the answers to Season 4's cliffhangers, according to industry magazine reports. The premiere is set to begin with a time jump before returning to the point viewers last visited the fictitious Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce ad agency.

Will Jon Hamm's sartorial ad exec, Don Draper, adopt a younger image to match his trophy fiancee? Will mom-to-be Christina Hendricks rock a 1960s hatching jacket the way she does a cowl-neck sheath?

The woman making those decisions is Janie Bryant, who was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn.

As costume designer, it's Bryant's job to see that the fashions worn by the "Mad Men" cast perfectly correlate to each year of the '60s decade in which the glossy TV drama is set.

"People love to ask which character is the most fun to dress. It's the question I get asked most, other than what is Jon Hamm really like in person," Bryant said in an email interview.

"For me, it's all about the variety. My favorite character for costume design changes throughout the season with every episode," Bryant said.

Weiner, the show creator, is such a stickler for 1960s authenticity that he made a last-minute substitution just a week ago on a song in tonight's premiere, according to Entertainment Weekly.

When it was pointed out that the 1967 Dusty Springfield song "The Look of Love" wasn't released until six months after the scene in which it's heard, the song was pulled for another.

Bryant was prohibited by AMC publicists to reveal the fashions the cast wears tonight so as not to give away any of the plot. But Bryant did say that a lot of the fashions fans will see on "Mad Men" are the same on spring runways and in the collection she has designed for Banana Republic.

"The catwalks have been filled with 1960s inspirations. I just launched my spring Banana Republic + Mad Men Collection, which incorporates some of the best trends and silhouettes from the 1960s with a modern twist," she said.

The Banana Republic line features side-zip cigarette pants in this season's bright pink, a cowl-neck sheath with cap sleeves and a silk taffeta "Betty" dress with fitted bodice that flares into a full skirt.

The men could walk straight into the agency boardroom in her suits with slim pants, plaid silk ties and silk pocket squares.

Bryant said her contract with QVC for the vintage-inspired MOD collection has concluded. But she has a new collaboration with Maidenform for its 90th anniversary.

"It is a small collection of gorgeous vintage-inspired intimate apparel. I am continuing to work as the Maidenform brand ambassador," she said.

She is also a new spokeswoman for Downy wrinkle releaser.

"We've created a beautiful fabric-care guide to talk about fabrics and fibers and how to take care of your garments," she said.

And she's still broadening her vintage influence on modern style.

"In the fall, be looking out for my new handbag collection," Bryant revealed.

about Susan Pierce...

Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...

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