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After last season’s Mad Men premiere featuring Megan Draper (Jessica Pare) singing Zou Bisou Bisou in a black minidress — followed by some saucy light housecleaning in black lace lingerie — the fashion pressure was definitely on her during Sunday night’s Season six premiere.
But Pare — and the show’s costume designer Janie Bryant — did not disappoint.
Megan caught rays on the Waikiki beach (no SPF back then!) in a mock Peter Max psychedelic print vintage bikini and danced in a backless maxi dress at a luau, and turned up in other scenes in everything from a colorful vintage beach smock, round plastic sunglasses and floppy hat (from Play House vintage boutique and Palace Costume) to a fabulous fur coat and a mod mink fur hat. We, like most viewers, were having some seriously nostalgic late ‘60s fashion flashbacks.
“Megan is the character I am really able to use those looks from the vintage fashion magazines on,” Bryant told THR on April 8 from the Mad Men set. “She is the one who is very high fashion, right out of a magazine and very ‘now.’ And it’s been so much fun to dress her. “
One of Janie’s favorite Megan looks is the grey tunic and matching wide slacks she wears while entertaining their neighbor the doctor and his wife. The top has a sparkly rhinestone cutout detail at the neck.
She and show creator Matthew Weiner closely discussed the scene. “It’s New Year’s Eve, so it can be dressy but they’re entertaining at home. So I wanted it to be an all-out hosting pajamas kind of look, that dressy loungewear that was popular back then. I’m determined to bring that all back.”
As for the backless maxi dress, says Bryant, “Matt had shown me this photograph from a newspaper in Hawaii, and it inspired me so much. I looked and looked for a luau dress and finally found the perfect halter maxi dress online, and it was ‘That’s it!’ It was perfect for the scene and her character.”
Bryant also is fond of Megan’s outfit when the doorman is having a heart attack in a flashback. “Megan’s miniskirt and double breasted jacket made of tapestry and velvet is one of my favorites. The colors are orange, green and bright yellow. I bought that from one of my vendors. I was very happy with the premiere costumes, I hope everyone loved it.”
Joan’s character (Christina Hendricks) also is undergoing a slight wardrobe update. And in the season premiere, she appeared much more covered up than last season.
Bryant explains the purple vested skirt suit with a matching ruffled sleeve blouse she designed for her: “Joanie is still a woman who understands her curves and will forever dress that way,” says Bryant. “We joke that Joan is a character who likes her clothing two sizes too small. I always imagine her buying the clothes and taking to her seamstress for nips and tucks to show off her hourglass shape.”
This makes Joan stand out in the late ‘60s when the silhouette was A-line or boxy and square. “But Joan is a partner now, and she does have more of an income so she would be buying these things for herself. To update her, I have given her a little more A-line, shorter skirts, vests and ruffled blouses. We’re staying with jewel colors that look so good on her. And we’ve got that whole matchy-matchy thing — that was so iconic of that period — going on. I even had pair of purple shoes for her in that scene, but then I decided it was probably going to be a bit too much.”
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