janie bryant costume designer 1883 cowgirl magazine

Featured photo: Faith Hill as Margaret Dutton

 Y: 1883 Photos: Emerson Miller for Paramount+

For Janie Bryant, Costume Designer for Taylor Sheridan’s newest show Y:1883, her first point of inspiration for design is always the script. “The script is like a road map for how the costume design is going to be developed,” she explains. “The way it is written by Taylor Sheridan, it is such an emotional journey for all these characters. They go through such an intense journey that I felt like that was very important for that to be seen on the costumes.”

The show’s principal characters have color palettes that are consistent with their character. For Elsa (Isabel May), her color palettes stay within shades of yellow and blue. Janie defines Margaret (Faith Hill) as a strong, feminine, protective mother, and her color palette reflects the journey she endures. “We see her go on the road and see another side of her character as well and how her strength is amplified because of the journey. Her palette goes from optimistic dusty pink, to more caramel browns and putty colors, into dark brown and darker greys.”

Sam Elliott as Shea Brennan and Tim McGraw as James Dutton. 

“The hat is everything on screen,” Janie says. “For Shea (Sam Elliott), his hat was made for him out of this vintage beaver by Peters Brothers in Fort Worth. Dutton’s (Tim McGraw) hat was a fine line in designing because he’s not a cowboy, so it can’t be a cowboy hat, but has to be super masculine. He comes from the Southeast, so I also wanted his hat to have that Southern style as well. I worked with Charlie from Lone Hawk Hats, who also made Margaret’s on the road hat. Both shops still have vintage hat blocks, which is very important when designing a show based in 1883. It’s all about finding those resources that can replicate authentic pieces from the period.”

“We’re not making a documentary; we’re creating a world of fantasy and creating the tone and mood of a show. I’ve been able to work with so many artisans on this project. It’s all about the details, it’s all about helping to tell the story of these characters through costume design.”