Mad Men designer talks Peggy's pantsuit, empowerment in season finale

By CAROLINE LEE,  |  June 25, 2013 at 11:21 AM
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The sixth season of AMC's "Mad Men" came to an end over the weekend in the show's top-rated finale yet in the show's six-year run.

The show's costume designer, Janie Bryant, talked about the importance of one particular outfit worn by Elisabeth Moss, who plays Peggy Olson.

Spoiler alert: if you haven't watched the finale, you might not want to read on.

As Peggy is promoted to creative director after the firing of Don Draper, she represents the beginnings of the "modern woman." Bryant set out to reflect that by dressing Peggy in a pantsuit -- uncommon for women at the time, and a direct reflection of how far she had come.

"When we see her in the office, it really is that moment of 'I am empowered. I will survive.' I wanted to see Peggy in pants to illustrate that she had come so far. It was such strong expression of empowerment," Bryant said.

The show had 2.7 million viewers, the biggest audience yet for a "Mad Men" finale. Last season's finale drew 2.6 million viewers. AMC reported that “Mad Men” adds, on average, 2.4 million additional viewers after seven days of replayed viewing.

Another wardrobe choice had tongues wagging -- a T-shirt seen on Megan Draper, which was similar to a shirt worn by model Sharon Tate in a 1967 Esquire shoot.

Bryant's response was unclear, leading to further costume-driven conspiracy theories. Tate was murdered by followers of Charles Manson in August 1969, while pregnant with the child of husband Roman Polanski.

Here's the tweet, complete with side-by-side photo. Note: Photo NSFW.

Bryant's response was unclear, which led to suspicion that the character might have a similar fate.

“It would be a huge move to have a character to enter a historical event and replace a victim in this way. I love the idea, but still," a Redditor said. "Maybe Megan isn’t Sharon Tate, but will eventually die in the same manner? The shirt is just alluding to her future demise by hinting at a real event?”

Bryant has said before that 60s style icons do not hold sway over what the characters wear, and specific colors have predicted episodes, according to especially observant viewers.

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