To illustrate just how much work goes into the beautiful production design of the hit Starz drama series Outlander, the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills is currently hosting “The Artistry of Outlander” exhibit throughout the summer, and Collider was recently invited to take a tour. Visitors can step into 18th century Parisian society and view iconic costumes designed by Emmy Award-winning costume designer Terry Dresbach, who has created 10,000 garment pieces for the series (including dresses, coats, pants, petticoats, hats, shoes, purses, gloves, fans, etc.) so far, as well as intricate set models from production designer Jon Gary Steele.
As part of the kick-off event, Terry Dresbach and Jon Gary Steele (who have been best friends for 30 years) were joined by showrunner Ronald D. Moore and co-stars Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan for a panel conversation. During the chat, Dresbach revealed that since there are no stores that sell anything from the 18th century, and because they wanted to give the show a look all its own, they had to do everything themselves, from the embroidery to the painted fabrics. Everything from the skin out, front and back, is designed whether you ever see it on camera or not. And because the fabrics for the Parisian wardrobe cost about $200 a yard, and the women’s dresses are about 15 yards while the men’s suits are eight or nine yards, they were only able to do one of each of the designs.
In total, it took them a year to create the garments for Season 2, so with the recent Season 3 and 4 pick-up of the series, they’ve already started the design for Season 3, two weeks ago. Because Balfe is in just about every scene of the show, they’ve had to make a 3D mannequin of her that they can use for fittings, as getting time with her was so difficult.
Here are 70 images that Collider took of “The Artistry of Outlander” exhibit, including the signature Christian Dior bar suit, made for Claire to recognize her 1940s aesthetic, that is the favorite costume piece of both Dresbach and Balfe.