There’s a new sheriff in the Outlander costume department!
After Terry Dresbach announced her intention to leave the Starz series after season 4, the producers tapped Scotland native Trisha Biggar to take over the very important task of dressing the good folks of Fraser’s Ridge. Here, the veteran designer and BAFTA recipient — whose credits include the Star Wars franchise and the NBC drama Emerald City — talks about joining the Starz drama in its fifth season and why she changed Bree’s wedding dress from blue to “buttermilk creme” in the premiere episode.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Have you joined a series midway in its run before?
TRISHA BIGGAR: I did take over costumes in season 2 for DaVinci’s Demons. They had done the first season and I did seasons 2 and 3. There was quite a big change in the look of the characters. They wanted that when I took over. This has been slightly different. It’s a continuity of their lives carrying on. I certainly wanted to keep some aspects, some touches from season 4.
Was it scary to take over for Terry Dresbach?
It was interesting to take over! Terry did a fabulous job. Her costumes were beautiful and very diverse over the lives of the characters. I think I’ve done enough. Costumes don’t scare me in that way. It’s obviously challenging because every job is challenging. I’m lucky I come from Scotland so I have a history with a lot of the people who already work here. I wasn’t coming into this job as a stranger. So for me it’s been quite an easy transition in terms of the crew, and also I’ve worked with some of the actors before on other jobs. So that’s nice.
Have you designed for 18th-century Scotland before?
I haven’t! So that’s nice too. It’s great fun.
Do you feel a sense of responsibility to stay true to the tone that’s already been established on a show, or is the story free enough that you can go in different directions?
I think the story is free enough. Lots of time has past. Things evolve, looks change and evolve. The Frasers are in one place for a longer period of time. So there is the possibility of them building a wardrobe. For quite a long time, because of the story, their clothes were quite limited. They did recycle a lot. It was out of necessity and also because that happened in that period — people would cut up their dresses and you would see the same fabric 40 years later in somebody else’s dress. Fabrics were so expensive and traveled the world quite readily. Anything that came into Europe from the Far East made its way to the colonies. There were also a lot of people making their own textiles because of the political problems with the U.K., with Britain.