The time-traveling FX miniseries Kindred premiered on Hulu last week. The series is based on Octavia E. Butler’s 1979 science fiction and contemporary romance novel of the same name.
The eight-episode season brings viewers back and forth between the 19th and 21st centuries — which in turn means there is a ton of time-period and modern costumes throughout the season, thanks to the show's costume designer Jaclyn Banner and her team.
We spoke to Jaclyn about all things Kindred and what went on behind the scenes with creating the show's costumes — including how she made over 100 muslin dresses for women in the show, the challenges of staying true to the time period, and more.
1. Jaclyn and her team made over 100 muslin dresses for the enslaved women in the show — but they had to make sure they looked authentic while being comfortable and lightweight for filming in a hot climate.
"So all of that was taken into consideration when we were building these dresses. We did one [version] for the winter and then we did one for the summer — different silhouettes. The summer dress was slightly more of a teal blue, whereas the winter dress was more of an indigo, like a true blue," she continued.
2. In fact, Jaclyn and her team spent a lot of time finding the right shade of blue for the muslin dresses that not only complemented each actor's skin tone but also worked well with the set design.
3. A lot of the time period costumes that were white didn't translate well on camera.
"So I did test different white linens in different cool and warm tones. I had to say, ‘Hey, they wore white shirts. I can't get around that, that was true to the time period, they didn't have color shirts so they have to be white.’ But we can't use true white, it has to be an off-white that we can use on camera. Every episode was normally shot by a different director. And sometimes the director brings in a different DP. So I would have to do tests for all the DPs," Jaclyn said.
"So that was one of the things that was a huge challenge for this project. Because one DP wants one kind of tone, another DP wants another kind of tone. And for some reason, they just kept reading white, but we can see the shirt in person and it's kind of like a beige, dingy white. Yet, on camera, it was appearing [stark] white, so that was definitely something that was very problematic for us."