An interview with Mad Men, 90210 and True Blood costumer Kristine Haag.

True Blood

Recently, I had the chance to speak to Kristine Haag – a young costume designer who has worked on many great films and television shows – including the sexiest show on television, 1960s period drama Mad Menthe supernatural drama True Blood which some would say is the second sexiest show, and teen drama 90210 which is envious to many viewers – the perfect life in Beverly Hills, California.

On Screen Fashion: What interests you about costume design? When did you first decide you wanted to do it as a career?

Kristine Haag: Costume design interests me because it’s about physiology, story telling and make-believe, whereas fashion and styling is about being pretty and fabulous. While costuming provides those opportunities too … we get to make people dirty or dorky or create another time period or a far away place. I decided to make this a career, on a day I remember clearly – I was walking to my pattern making class while studying Fashion Design.. and it hit me. I didn’t want to be a fashion designer I wanted to work on movies and TV.

OSF: Can you explain an average day as a costume designer/costumer?

KH: Everyday is different and that’s what I love about it… one day I’m shopping on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and the next day I am digging through the dirty shoes in a Good Will store. Sometimes I will be at Bloomingdales, the Army Surplus or the downtown LA Fabric district – it’s crazy!

Mad Men

OSF: The costume in Mad Men has had such a great response and an impact in the fashion world – what was it like to be a part of that?

KH: Mad Men was one of my first big jobs in Hollywood and it was a huge eye opener to see the crazy-fast pace that all the magic happens at. I also love period clothes so it was great to get to work with all the jewellery, heels and purses.. and of course the amazing suits, dresses and hats – oh my god, don’t forget the hats! It was a whirlwind experience for sure but I learnt so much really quickly, it was an amazing experience.

OSF: Did you work closely with costume designer Janie Bryant? What was that like?

KH: Janie is a uniquely fabulous person and she really understands how to harness the power of positive thinking and makes it work for her. She is exactly how you would imagine her to be… sweet and kind with her southern accent and looks fabulous everyday! It was great to hear her talk to and work with her actors… she knows how to make people feel special.

(I recently interviewed Janie Bryant here.)

OSF: Did you know much about 1960s fashion or did you have to prepare yourself for the role?

KH: I knew a little and I learnt a lot by looking through old books and magazines… but also learnt a lot by touching and pulling all the great stuff from all the amazing costume houses in Los Angeles… there’s nothing like touching the real thing.


OSF: You’ve also worked on True Blood and 90210 as well as Mad Men which are all very different costumes, which one was more of a challenge?

KH: 90210 is such fun clothing – it’s super great fashion and there are so many fun wild combinations. It’s more Nylon inspired LA fashion – very colourful and super cool – we all had a great time on set. True Blood is very different – we have to do so many duplicates of clothing because of all of the blood and stunts that are on the show. It’s completely different sets of challenges, but again, I shop in Barney’s and Vintage stores… it’s a wide spectrum of looks and that always makes it fun and different.

OSF: When working on different eras and different styles of costume, does this tend to influence your personal wardrobe?

KH: Whatever show I am working on it definitely sinks into my closet. I did this movie with Miley Cyrus called So Under Cover and it was about sorority girls in the south who are super preppy… and wear a lot of pink. Both are not my usual style but somehow I had some similar pieces influence it. Currently I wear boots and rocker tees which is similar to the True Blood style which has influenced me a lot.  It’s definitely hard to shop all day and not find things for yourself! Its fun to be influenced by different styles and mix it up.. gotta keep it fresh!

Many thanks to Kristine Haag.

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