'Vikings' on History Channel: Behind the Scenes w/ Costume Designer Joan Bergin
With the release of ratings juggernauts The Bible and Vikings, it seems History Channel can do no wrong when it comes to the scripted TV market. With a reported $40 million, History Channel's most expensive production to date, Vikings costume designer Joan Bergin (The Tudors and Camelot) has the resources to bring Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) and his party of plunderers to life.
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"I started researching mainly at Scandinavian museums, which are exemplary in the way they show all the great findings, and although a lot of the fabrics have rotted, there are a lot of artifacts and jewelry," said Bergin.
Though trying to stay accurate to the time period and region, Bergin did say she had to get a little creative with some of the designs. Ironically, the women of the show were a little tougher to nail down because Bergin wanted each wife to have her own style.
"Katheryn [Winnick], who plays Ragner's wife Lagertha, and the actress who plays Earl Haraldson's [Gabriel Byrne] wife, Siggy [Jessalyn Gilsig], I think they grew into their stature. "[As the] series continues, they get better and better."
In Viking world clothes said a lot about a person's status and style. The Emmy award-winning designer Bergin at the very least wanted to communicate how Vikings had a very different culture than the rest of the world.
"If you were a Viking, you murdered people who were your enemies for the greater good of something else. Paganism... is a culture, it's a different way of looking at the world, and I think that even in a little way I managed to convey that through the clothes.
Vikings designer Bergins also adds, "That's the excitement of the series, through the acting and the writing and production design, which I think is very strong, and the set dressing, all those details."
You can see Bergin's costumes on new episodes of Vikings Sundays at 10/9c on History Channel.
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