There's no denying that the flawless costumes in Outlander are works of art in themselves. The intricate pieces help make the show so brilliantly designed and in a way, a time capsule. Can the wardrobe compete with sweatpants and a Hanes T-shirt? “Probably not,” costume designer Terry Dresbach tells Bustle at LA’s Paley Center for Media. “They’re architectural miracles. They’re built to provide balance, there’s structure underneath,” she says. But, beauty is pain, and Dresbach reveals the one costume leading lady Caitriona Balfe had to wear that was as gorgeous as it was painful. Regardless, Dresbach understands what women in any century will go through for the right look, including, of course, the universal feeling of bliss after taking a bra off at the end of a long day.
Believe it or not, Balfe has experienced positives of being donned in carefully-crafted 1940’s and 18th century wardrobe head-to-toe. “When you lived in the 18th century, you didn’t know anything different. No one’s looking up your skirt, you’re not wearing a mini skirt, you can sit however you want,” says Dresbach. “Cat talks about it all the time, the ability to move because you’re not prancing around in high heels and mini skirts.” But again, beauty is pain.
“Every woman, when she gets home at night, can’t wait to take her bra off, right? If it was a corset, it’s all relative,” Dresbach says. But the one piece of wardrobe the costume designer says Balfe “deeply hated” was her stunning wedding dress. “That thing weighed about a million pounds. It was tough. It’s 25 yards of fabric, so it weighed a million tons. Just crazy,” she says. Um. Ow. I feel for Balfe right now.
The show's heroic hunk Sam Heughan, on the other hand, is all about his costumes. (Freakin' men, right?) “Sam was just so relieved that I wasn’t gonna put him in lavender silk and he was still gonna be dashing, and still have his sword and kilt,” says Dresbach, who explains how Heughan embraces his on-screen looks. “He was happy about that. You always know when he’s hit that moment because you can watch him know that he’s hit that character, he hit Jamie, and it’s my goal to stay true to Jamie.” I love Heughan in his costumes, too.
So now that Season 3 and 4 are officially on the way, does Dresbach have anything up her sleeve just yet? She admits, “I’m tired, and yes, I will be excited once I start designing it. I’m a little nervous now because I’m still working on season 2 and I need to be designing season 3. I haven’t really made the jump but I can feel it nipping at my heels.” I have a feeling her creations will continue to blow us away, though.
“It will be interesting because every season in Outlander is a completely new universe,” she explains. “We won’t be messing around with time again except when it comes to Cat. We’ll always be holding onto Claire’s 1940’s sensibility. How that translates in our upcoming story, I’m not entirely sure of yet." But the brilliance is brewing. "I have a few ideas I’m playing around with," she says. "When I get on the airplane, I’ll start sketching them out.”
Images: Starz (4)