'The big influence was Jackie Kennedy': How Mad Men's Betty has been given a brand new look
22:29 GMT, 19 March 2012
Betty Draper's cupcake skirts and pearls turned the Fifties housewife look into a style revolution. Now, however, as politician's wife Betty Francis, it seems Mad Men's resident ice queen is getting a whole new look.
Costume designer Janie Bryant and January Jones, who plays the character, told how Betty is set to move away from the pretty Grace Kelly-inspired looks that dominated the first four seasons, and will instead evoke
Jackie Kennedy's powerful, clean-cut style for season five.
In an interview with ABC News to promote the hit show's fifth season which starts on Sunday, they discussed how Betty's divorce from dapper Don Draper, played by
Jon Hamm, was a major turning point for her style.
Style evolution: January Jones returns to Mad Men as politician's wife Betty Francis (left) in the hit show's fifth season with a new look inspired by Jackie Kennedy's streamlined style (right)
Ms Bryant said she transformed Betty's image from the frothy Fifties dresses she wore as Don's wife, into
more streamlined silhouettes as a pencil skirt-wearing politician's wife after she married
'The big influence for me, for Betty’s
character, then was Jackie Kennedy, as opposed to a big influence for
me in season one, Grace Kelly,' Ms Bryant said.
Set in the Sixties when women were
just beginning to find themselves in the workplace, Miss Jones explains how Mad Men's strong
characters – from repressed secretaries, sinful housewives and
no-nonsense executives – are reflected in their powerful outfits put
together by Ms Bryant.
Swagger and sin: The cast of Mad Men return for their fifth season of Sixties power outfits. The show's costumes are crucial in helping the cast develop their now infamous characters
The star explained how crucial the show's costumes are in helping the cast develop their now infamous characters.
'Through the course of the different seasons we’ve
changed Betty’s silhouette several times, and it’s kind of a big part
of the storytelling, whether she’s been, you know, riding horses, or
pregnant, or a politician’s wife – or divorced,' she said.
'We come [to the costume closet] before each episode to get fitted, and it just kind of starts the creative process, at least for me, to get to know what I’m doing, and what I’ll be wearing.'
From the closet to the camera: Mad Men's costume designer Janie Bryant shows ABC News a blue coat destined for Betty Draper off-screen (left) and on-screen (right)
Sixties aesthetic has also proved to be pivotal to the shows success.
Epitomising retro glamour, the costume's clean lines, slim-cut suits, fedoras, fitted pencil skirts, cinched waists, silk blouses and strands of pearls reflect both the empowerment of women and the power of men at the time, a sentiment that helped turn Mad Men's costumes into a cultural phenomenon.
Harking back to the days when men owned 70 different suits for all occasions, Mr Hamm accurately touched on Mad Men's nostalgic appeal and subsequent sartorial success.
Setting trends: The Mad Men look continues to inspire designer labels – this season it appeared in the spring/summer collections of Rochas (left), Prada (centre) and Dolce & Gabbana (right)
'It’s kind of a lost part of dressing
up now, but I think the show’s kind of bringing it back a little bit,'
he told the network.
style of the Mad Men characters spawned a successful Banana Republic
clothing line last year and the show's anticipated return saw the most
recent spring/summer catwalks full of Sixties-inspired retro looks.
Karen Walker, Rochas and Dolce & Gabbana all paid tribute to
vintage Americana with Cadillac motifs, full skirts, cat's eye
sunglasses and bra tops teamed with pencil skirts, proving we're all
still mad about Mad Men.