Once the head costume designer, Randall Christensen heard the playlist for the show last week, he knew “red, white, and blue” wouldn’t “be the norm”. He gives Stylist the lowdown for how he came up with some of the costumes.
Chelsea Kane: This season’s girl-to-beat turned up the heat in a pair of fringed red-and-white striped pants topped with a midriff-baring star-spangled tank. To create the kinetic pants,which punctuated every thrust of Kane’s hips, Christensen’s team cut individual strips of fabric, adhering them to the base pattern one-by-one. “Just attaching the fringe took hours upon hours,” Christensen says.
Kirstie Alley: Wore royal blue palooza pants and a tattered peasant top which featured a sheer, bedazzled midriff to boogie to Lenny Kravitz’s “American Woman.” Alley danced under the tutelage of stand-in dance coach, John Travolta. The actor encouraged his friend to ditch the Manolo Blahnik heels she slipped out of last week for a pair of high-top sneakers, but Christensen gave her classic court shoes instead. “Pumps were appropriate for the song’s era,” he explains, Custom rhinestone buckles were added to authenticate the look.
Meanwhile, the design team barely had enough time to make Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s custom skin-tight leather pants, which he wore shirtless. The pants were a special request by Alley.
Petra Nemcova: The supermodel’s back-baring gold gown was inspired by the glamorous Las Vegas look of Marilyn Monroe crossed with Sharon Stone in “Casino,” Christensen says. “We had originally discussed a more Vegas showgirl look, but once the choreography was in place it was obvious the look of a more classic couple in formal wear was the way to go. And what’s more glamorous than Marilyn and Sharon?” he says. Nemcova helped design her elbow-length gloves cinched with silver-crystal jewelry while her lush ostrich boa became a feathery stole.
Kendra Wilkinson: Christensen used stretch blue satin to create her sleeveless tails and encrusted her vest in silver-studded stars. An inventive addition to her costume: Over-the-knee tights made to resemble boots. Their flexible fabric made dancing easier and Christensen added crystals for sparkle. “I think the look empowered her and gave her confidence,” he says.
Romeo: The rapper’s refined tuxedo and tails salute to Fred Astaire, and partner Chelsie Hightower’s sublime Ginger Rogers’ inspired off-white bias cut gown was StyleList’s favorite look of the night.
So, which costumes were your favorites? I loved Chelsie and Romeo, Kym and Hines, and most of all >>>>MAKS!!!! Did anyone not love this?!! And I will take Maks (and Derek if he were here) shirtless and in black leather any day before Mark! :)
The Wausa Daily Herald also has a great 2 page article up of the costuming process. Below is a picture of Randall’s crew and a small take. Be sure to see the link for much more.
“People really don’t realize that there’s no magic closet that we pull this from. It is a bolt of fabric every Wednesday,” said Christensen, a dancer who’s been making costumes professionally since 1978. “We never use a ready-made costume … every single solitary thing is made from scratch.”
Each week, Christensen translates their visions into sketches on Tuesday and buys the fabrics on Wednesday. His team of two patternmakers and 10 seamstresses transforms the raw materials into costumes by Friday.
Their workroom contains the highest concentration of sequins anywhere at CBS Television City, where “Dancing” is filmed. Along one wall are bolts of fabric: shimmery purple, deep emerald green and bright royal blue — materials ordered from a dance company in Europe where the fringe, stretch fabric, mesh and chiffon all match.
“That’s the toughest challenge,” Christensen said.
Fourteen sewing machines and mannequins from size 0 to 16 are in the room, as are costumes in various stages of creation. (A tiny pewter beaded number sits on a plastic-covered dress form outfitted with “booty pads.”)
Lastly, don’t miss seeing some new pictures posted by the make-up crew at their Facebook page. Here’s one of Romeo and Chelsie.