Janie Bryant on Her “Mad Men” Collection for Banana Republic

We caught up with costume designer Janie Bryant to hear how she adapted retro '60s styles to modern tastes for her upcoming "Mad Men" collection at Banana Republic.

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"Mad Men" costume designer Janie Bryant quickly rose to celeb-status for her immaculate retro looks and expert vintage shopping. Now, with a capsule collection of '60s-inspired looks for Banana Republic, she's gone from celebrated costumer to fashion designer.
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Kimberly Paynter/WHYY
Last summer, Bryant was tapped to create a series of video blogs for Banana Republic's revamped website, a marketing relationship that evolved into a line of modern-woman-meets- "Mad Men" looks for summer. We caught up with Bryant to hear how the collection came about, and whether it whetted her appetite to design a collection of her own.
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Bryant credits a close friendship with the brand's creative director, Simon Kneen. "I had been working with Simon Kneen and Banana Republic on the Mad Men promotions," she explained. "Simon and I met the first time face to face when we were shooting our video blogs. We hit it off instantly and it really grew from there. We have very similar passions and it the idea really came together organically."
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Translating a classic '60s shape into something that still felt fresh and modern proved an easy task for Bryant, who has proven time and again that she knows her way around a pencil skirt and a bracelet sleeve. "It's so exciting," she said. "The silhouettes of the early '60s are still so relevant and accessible."
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Shutterstock
Modern accents like suede ankle boots and mixed-chain necklaces gave the collection its street-ready appeal. "It was truly a thrill to be able to translate the costume design into a design that would be reminiscent of the show, yet still very modern for the contemporary customer," she says.
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Asked to share her personal favorites from the collection, Janie has serious trouble deciding. "I have many favorites!" she sighed. "The navy and black houndstooth sheath, the leopard trench, and the matching leopard bag and shoe." Indeed, Bryant's leopard-print accessories are among the best we've seen this season.
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NBC10.com
The collection itself was so coherently executed -- reflective both of Janie's personal preferences as well as her award-winning work on 'Mad Men' -- that we couldn't help wondering if she'd tried her hand at fashion, rather than costume design, before.
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Of course, she had: "I studied Fashion Design in school and began my career as a fashion designer in NYC," says Bryant. "[But I] quickly got into the film business after working on 7th Avenue only after nine months. Also, this past year I released two capsule collections on QVC as well. I guess you can say it has come full circle for me."
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Based on her handiwork at Banana Republic, it will be interesting to see if Bryant closes the "circle," as she put it, with a collection all her own.
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