If ever there were a time to wear Christian Dior, a stormy, chilly New York day doesn’t seem like the ideal occasion. But gloomy weather was simply an afterthought for 36-year-old Outlander star (and former runway model) Caitriona Balfe, who turned to the Parisian designer (and Jimmy Choo, for those killer heels) for her afternoon getup Thursday outside of Saks Fifth Avenue in New York. The occasion? She was on hand to unveil six new windows showcasing the 18th century fashion designs she sports as Claire Randall on the hit Starz show.
“This kind of plays into a little bit of Claire’s character. Terry [Dresbach, Outlander's costume designer] plays with the idea that Claire took her 1940s knowledge of the Dior 'New Look' and brought it back with her, incorporated it into her 18th century costumes,” she told InStyle, referring to the show’s main plotline. “I just thought it would be a nice little play with that, and it’s nice.”
The actress was joined by hunky Scottish co-star Sam Heughan, who, despite his fully covered-up outfit, managed to smolder in front of the cameras and for nearby onlookers. For Heughan, the success of the series is not what he expected when he was first cast. “It’d be hard to imagine that. It really is quite amazing to have all these people here today,” he said.
Red carpet looks aside, the handsome duo were mostly eager to take a look at the six-window display outside of the Midtown department store. They posed with Dresbach, who couldn’t believe what she saw. “It’s surreal. It is absolutely and totally surreal. How does this happen, how is it possible? I would never, ever, ever believe that that was going to happen,” she told InStyle, referring to the glittery showcase.
The talent moved on to explain just how hard she and her team work. One of the dresses inside the windows, for example, took two months to piece together. “All the fabrics are hand painted, so I wanted to showcase the kind of work my team does,” she said pointing to another frock, adding, “That is just a rocking, incredible dress. The flowered one, even then this one, really, really highlights period, authentic 18th century clothing. Each one has a different message.”
There’s one message Dresbach hope prevails above all others when it comes to the show’s costumes. “We made them. We made every stitch. Everything you see from the 18th century, my team made,” she said. “I’ve got a team and a lot of them had never worked in film and television before, and those kids sewed and painted and sculpted, and they’re amazing. And we have some killer shoes!”