Runway News

The Vampire Diaries: A tFS Exclusive Interview With Jennifer Bryan, Costume Designer

For anyone interested in breaking into costume designing and styling, look no further than Jennifer Bryan for inspiration.

As the costume designer for the CW’s The Vampire Diaries, she’s at the forefront of today’s vampire trend.

She has previously worked on James Cameron’s series Dark Angel with Jessica Alba, as well as Northshore and The Agency.

In addition, she designed for Las Vegas, where she created looks for Josh Duhamel, Molly Sims, Cheryl Ladd, and James Caan.

Die-hard Scorsese fans probably know her from her design work on the film Goodfellas, which is just one of the 20-plus films Bryan has worked on.

Bryan has certainly carved out an interesting niche for herself, and with the vampire trend showing no signs of slowing down, there couldn't be a more interesting time to take a closer look at her work.

The Fashion Spot spoke to Bryan about what inspires her on the set of The Vampire Diaries, what her go-to brands are, how you can get a toned-down “vampire look,” and much more.

The Fashion Spot: Are there any particular historical figures, films, or other things that inspire you when conceptualizing the looks for The Vampire Diaries?
Jennifer Bryan: Before I put any ideas to paper, I do a lot of research and immerse myself in the style of the time or environment. With The Vampire Diaries, I incorporate two very different worlds: the old and the modern. There are the historical references to the origins of the vampires of Mystic Falls, which goes back to the 1860s in the South. But the story takes place in a contemporary high school where vampires have integrated themselves. It’s pretty interesting to make it all seamless.
tFS: Who are your go to designers/brands/stores on the set of The Vampire Diaries?
JB: When I'm designing for the show, I check out brands like Guess for their edgy look, and Jennifer Fisher for her mystic and animal-inspired jewelry.  I also like John Varvatos for the guys.
tFS: Can you dress with a vampire-inspiration without going goth? Any tips?
JB: I am inspired by the themes that are associated with the genre, which includes crows, wispy trees, moonlight, darkened clouds, spooky forest prints, dark tones, blood red as a color accent, darker metals in accessories, links, and chains.  Some of these things are done well.  Others, not so much.

tFS: Any key tips to "vamping up" a look?
JB: If you want to "vamp up a look" then try a specific element or two paired with a skinny dark jean for a casual look.  Go with a smoky eye, a paler foundation with your make-up, and you've got it. The Vamp look is sexier and subtler than Goth.  Don't forget to add that little scarf around your neck to hide your vampire bites!
tFS: Favorite vampire of all time?
JB: My favorite vampires? The Salvatore Brothers, of course.