Costumes of 1883: interview with designer Janie Bryant

“The journey with these characters is very different”, explains the costume designer Janie Bryant on how his work on the “1883” limited series compared to his Emmy-winning wardrobe for another Western drama that took place almost exactly the same time period, 1870s “Deadwood.” is the same is that I’m glad I experienced so much distress with “Deadwood” because it really helped me understand how distress works with “1883”. We spoke to Bryant as part of our “Meet the TV Costume Experts panel. Watch our exclusive video interview above.

“1883” is derived from the Paramount drama “Yellowstone,” going back to tell the story of the ancestors of “Yellowstone” patriarch John Dutton (Kevin Costner). “1883” follows John’s great-grandfather, James (Tim McGraw) and great-grandmother Margaret (hill of faith) as they join a wagon train of immigrants who brave the perilous journey from Texas to Oregon before the Duttons finally settle in Montana to establish the ranch that will remain in their family for generations.

Despite their similar time periods, “1883” was about a “very different set of circumstances” from “Deadwood”. While HBO’s cult show was mostly set in one city, “1883” is the story of an arduous journey across the continent, and in helping to tell that story through costumes, Bryant “has so much learned about so many different cultures, because immigrants were a big part of the ‘1883’ story, and their costumes were really on that journey with each person too. Indeed, you can tell a lot about a character and their life experiences from the clothes he wears.

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