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Category: Janie Bryant

LACMA event celebrates 100 years of Western Costume Co.

  Lacma Western
The Costume Council at the Los Angeles Museum of Art helped celebrate the centennial anniversary of Western Costume Co. with a June 20 panel discussion and pageant that unspooled in front of a capacity crowd of 600 at LACMA's Bing Theater.

Among those who turned out to fete the North Hollywood-based costume house were costume designers Arianne Phillips ("Walk the Line"), Janie Bryant ("Mad Men") and Deborah Hopper ("J. Edgar") and fashion designers Jeremy Scott and Louis Verdad. Bill Haber, the usually press-averse sole owner of Western Costume for 17 of the company's last 100 years, also was there.

Photo Gallery: The Costume Council at LACMA celebrate Western Costume Co.'s first 100 years

The evening's program, titled "Western Costume Company: The First 100 Years" started with a free-flowing discussion that had Bobi Garland, Western's archivist and research library director, moderating a panel that included Western's president, Eddie Marks, costume designers Ellen Mirojnick ("Wall Street," "Basic Instinct") and Carol Ramsey ("Meet the Fockers," "Mr. & Mrs. Bridges"), costume supervisor Jim Tyson ("The Right Stuff"), Western's milliner Harry Rotz and shoemaker Mauricio Osario.

Among the things those in attendance might have learned about the costume house (as did we): that Western had probably made more clothes for John Wayne over the course of his career than for any other actor, that the celebrity whose presence seemed to cause the biggest stir among the staff was Roy Rogers, and that the oddest manufacturing request made of the company was to put disappearing zippers into a hat (for "G.I. Joe"). (We also learned exactly what the Costume Council, the group of well-dressed folks who organize such events, is all about. The goal, one of the evening's speakers explained, is "to raise funds for and awareness of the world-class costume collection" at LACMA.) 

But the highlight of the night was the pageant that followed: 42 costumes -- presented on live models -- that covered every category of costume ("ancient times," "action heroes," military") for both men and women, which resulted in scenes where Zorro crossed swords with Robin Hood, General Patton and Napoleon tried to outflank each other, a cadre of cowboys raised their flasks to a bonnet-wearing incarnation of Katherine Hepburn, with Laurel and Hardy left to pick up the pieces. 

Some of the instantly recognizable outfits -- Scarlett O'Hara's green velvet drapery dress, Cleopatra's shimmering golden sheath dress and Dorothy's "Oz" pinafore were exacting re-creations, many made for the event, while others (garments that had screen time in "Titanic" and "The Artist") were the same ones that appeared on-screen.

The pageant ended with the presentation of a signature look from each decade of the last 100 years, ending with a forward-looking dress intended to symbolize the next 100 years. The "21st-Century Dress," was a bedazzled, back-baring, thigh-grazing Art Deco-inspired confection designed for the occasion by Ellen Mirojnick and modeled by her daughter, actress Lili Mirojnick.

If Western Costume's future is anywhere near as bright and sparkly as the vision team Mirojnick put forth June 20, consider the next 100 years all but sewn up.


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Western Costume, closet to the stars, turns 100


-- Adam Tschorn

Photo: Models on the red carpet at a June 20 LACMA event celebrating Western Costume Co. wearing period costumes representing five of the 10 decades Western Costume has been in business. Credit: John M. Heller/Getty Images


Suzanne Felsen hosts a book signing for 'Mad Men' costume designer Janie Bryant

Fashion file book "The Fashion File," the new fashion-tips tome written by "Mad Men" costumer Janie Bryant and style writer Monica Corcoran Harel, has been the subject of numerous book signings over the past couple of weeks.

But Thursday night's invite-only soiree at jeweler Suzanne Felsen's Melrose Avenue boutique felt like the most elevated of the bunch.

Champagne flowed and hors d'oeuvres circulated inside the store and the roped-off front patio of Felsen's intimate shop, while gussied-up guests moseyed in and out of both spaces.

Dressed in a metallic bronze long-sleeved Jenny Han mini-dress, Bryant said she was tickled to see "everything Monica and I had talked about for so long on the actual page," and revealed that she cried the first time she held the book in her hand.

"I come from a family of very emotional people," Bryant exclaimed in her charming Southern accent. "We cry all the time!" Despite her sunny disposition, the designer admitted that her right hand was getting fatigued from the book-signing tour. "The promotion [of the book] is not mellow," she said with a slightly weary smile.

The profoundly pregnant Corcoran Harel, clad in a chic 1960s-style color-blocked dress, said, "These signings have been really lovely -- although I must say it's sometimes difficult coming up with something thoughtful and poignant for someone you don't know."

The duo whipped up "The Fashion File" in three short months, meeting regularly at Bryant's house in Silver Lake. "We wrote a chapter a week -- we really were on a strict deadline," said Corcoran Harel, who also revealed that there's been talk of she and Bryant collaborating on a second style book.

-- Emili Vesilind

Illustration: The book jacket for "The Fashion File." Credit: Grand Central Publishing



Fashion icon face-off: Janie Bryant vs. Tatiana Sorokko

Picnik collage2 
I recently had a discussion with a friend about what it takes to be a fashion icon. Does someone have to be dead to be a fashion icon, a la Audrey Hepburn and Princess Diana? Or can someone living possess such a singular sense of style to achieve icon status?

Well on Monday night in Beverly Hills, two women who would certainly be in the running for living fashion icon status held dueling book parties across Rodeo Drive from one another. At Bulgari, Russian model-muse Tatiana Sorokko sipped Champagne with C Magazine editorial director Jennifer Hale, designer-legend James Galanos and vintage guru Cameron Silver, while signing copies of her new book, "Extending the Runway: Tatiana Sorokko Style" (STS Holdings, $50). The book chronicles Sorokko's style through her extensive wardrobe, which can be seen in an exhibition on view through Jan. 2 at the Phoenix Art Museum. 

Meanwhile, across the street at Judith Leiber, "Mad Men" costume designer Janie Bryant sipped martinis with actor Michael Gladis, Barbie designer Robert Best and fashion designer Magda Berliner, while signing copies of her new book, "The Fashion File: Advice, Tips and Inspiration from the Costume Designer of Mad Men" (Hachette, $26.99).

Here's a quick cheat-sheet on these two icons-in-the-making and their new style books.

Continue reading »

Bananas for 'Mad Men': Premiere and parties kick off continued partnership


The style-minded madness of "Mad Men" is back in full swing  -- and well before Sunday's Season 4 premiere on AMC.

Things kicked off with a Tuesday evening screening of the season's first episode sponsored by marketing partner Banana Republic (there were so many RSVPs, the screening had to be moved from a smaller venue to the Mann Chinese 6 Theatre at Hollywood & Highland), followed by small party in the garden of the Chateau Marmont and an intimate luncheon on Wednesday at the Sunset Tower Hotel that included the show's Emmy-nominated costume designer, Janie Bryant, and Banana Republic's creative director, Simon Kneen.

Most of the cast was in attendance at both the screening and the after party; stylish standouts included Christina Hendricks in a black lace Dolce & Gabbana dress, Elisabeth Moss in a one-shoulder Oscar De La Renta number, and an adorable Kiernan Shipka (who plays the Drapers' daughter, Sally) in a bubble dress, sitting perfectly poised, hands clasped politely in the roped-off VIP section of the party.

Continue reading »

Brooks Bros. dapper Draper caper: Selling limited 'Mad Men' suits

Madmen-4 You may never know what it's like to walk a mile in Don Draper's shoes, but come Monday you'll have a chance to don a sharp-looking sharkskin suit inspired by the "Mad Men" ad men played by Jon Hamm (Draper) and John Slattery (Roger Sterling) -- and designed by the show's costume designer, Janie Bryant.

Brooks Bros., which has worked with Bryant to provide authentic-looking threads for the denizens of Sterling Cooper since the AMC show's first season in 2007, announced today that it will sell just 250 of the "Mad Men Edition" suits, designed by the Emmy-nominated, Costume Designers Guild Award-winning Bryant, inspired by the tailored wardrobe of both characters and based on a two-button suit silhouette the storied clothier introduced in 1961.

The medium gray (they call it static gray) sharkskin suit, which has a noticeably trim silhouette, narrower notch lapels, diagonal pockets and side vents will boast a commemorative "Mad Men Edition" label and retail for $998.

Our favorite touch -- not to mention a nod to the time when a man's suit came from the same time zone as he did -- is where they were made: right here in the USA, at the Brooks-owned Southwick factory in Haverhill, Mass.

Brooks is throwing an invite-only bash to celebrate the collaboration at its Madison Avenue flagship tonight, and next week "Mad Men"-themed window displays -- incorporating original costumes from the series -- will be unveiled there and at the Rodeo Drive store in Beverly Hills.

The suits will be sold online at and locally at the Rodeo Drive and South Coast Plaza stores from Oct. 19 through Nov. 8 (the date the season finale airs).

And remember, just because you can now dress in Draper's duds, don't think you can get away with chain smoking, drinking to excess and crashing on the office couch.

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo: Brooks Bros.' limited "Mad Men Edition" suit, which goes on sale Oct. 19. Only 250 will be sold, at $998 each. Credit: Brooks Brothers.


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'Mad Men' costume designer to launch fashion line. Are you a Betty or a Joan?

Ep105_01_madmenep105_mg_2860When the admen -- and Peggy -- on " Mad Men" defined women as types for a Maidenform campaign, they branded them as a "Marilyn" (Monroe, natch) or a "Jackie" (as in O). Well, word has it over at that the show's brilliant costume designer, Janie Bryant, is in talks to launch her own fashion line, and so the question is: "Are you a Betty or a Joan?"

I talked to Bryant last July, and here's a taste of her personal taste in a style profile. She's meticulous about researching the looks of the '60s for "Mad Men," right down to sewing special undergarments for the ladies and men that are absolutely true to the period. (In fact, Christina Hendricks told me that that they are incredibly uncomfortable. Read more here.)04_mm_ep205_joan_shows_ring_760x5_3

No doubt, Bryant will adapt the retro looks she creates for the show. I'm anticipating sexy pencil skirts, sweater sets and vintage-inspired dresses that have been updated just enough to feel modern and classic. Will she design for men? I can't help but wonder. I think guys would buy into the idea of inhabiting a character like the Madison Avenue scamp by wearing a slim-cut suit and skinny tie. Those high-waisted gabardine pants that Don Draper favors might be a tougher sell.

Are you a Betty or a Joan, and who's sexier? Men, weigh in too.

-- Monica Corcoran



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