Free DWTS Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on Dancing with the Stars sent straight to your email? Join hundreds of other DWTS fans who subscribe to Pure DWTS for FREE!

PureDWTS Exclusive! An Interview with Randall Christensen, Part I

A few months back, we asked you guys to submit questions for Randall Christensen, the costume designer for DWTS from seasons 2-12.  Well now that the holidays are over and we’re starting to get back into the swing of things, we’re sharing Randall’s responses :-)

We’ve been lucky to get a chance to chat with Randall, since he has kept very busy since moving on from DWTS! He’s currently working a couture swimwear line with MiracleSuit (check out Vogue’s post on the Macy’s MiracleSuit fashion show last summer!), is working on a sportswear/ready to wear collection, and is still designing dancesport costumes for Randall Designs, Inc., his costume design company for the past 30 years.  Let’s see what this dancewear icon has to say in response to some of your burning questions :-)

At what age did you start designing?

Randall Christensen: I started designing for my professional partner and students back in the early ‘80’s, learning the craft with “hands on” experience.  I am self-taught.

Who were your mentors?

RC: My first mentor (and still most influential) was Bob Mackie.  He was designing for Carol Burnett as well as Cher for their (respective) shows.  I was a pre-teen and tried to NEVER miss a single one of their shows, as I was mesmerized by their costumes!

Seems like things at DWTS run on a pretty hectic timetable. Can you descibe what a typical week was like for you at DWTS?

RC: A typical week at DWTS starts new on Monday/Tuesday with new designs for each couple.  If we are lucky enough to get the music by Monday (instead of typically Tuesday) I try to get the couples up to the wardrobe department to discuss concepts for the next week’s costumes.  I only get 15-20 (30 mins. tops) to listen to the music, research ideas, discuss, design and finalize.  Then the entire show is shopped Wednesday by 5pm and delivered back to the studio, where I go over every women’s design with our cutter/fitter (the mens’ costumes are done off site, by our dance tailor in downtown Los Angeles).  The costumes are cut/sewn/preliminarily fitted on Thursday, then I have celebrity fittings all day Friday. My assistant helps on Saturday with the professional women’s fittings, they’re altered and ready for the final fitting on Sunday, after the couples do their blocking for the camera.  Adjustments are made and then are trimmed, beaded, crystallized and trimmed out to completion.  Monday morning is time to review each costume before setting them in the individual dressing rooms.  We have dress rehearsal only a few hours before we go LIVE on the east coast.  During that time any last minute adjustments are made and redelivered to the couples’ dressing rooms, sometimes just minutes before they’re to go to the top of the stairs for their walk down – live!  We have to design/shop/fit/finish each and every costume in 3.5 to 4 days!!  Whew!

What types of fabrics are the best for ballroom costumes?

RC: Thank goodness for stretch fabrics, jerseys, lycras, etc.!  These help the costume to be quite comfortable as well as flexible.  We can then get a terrific fit with little to no wrinkles in the fabric.  Chiffon (both silk and polyester) are great for the ballgown skirts, due to the wonderful movement.  Charmeuse satin is a terrific vintage type fabric, reminiscent of some of Ginger Rogers’ gowns.

Are there limitations, or can you work with pretty much anything?

RC: I push the limits every chance I get!  How else can you continue to come up with fresh ideas?  That being said, some fabrics are VERY challenging!  I try not to use brocades, as they are just to stiff and unforgiving for costumes.  Not to mention the fact that they do not flow at all!  I love using natural trims, for an organic vibe, still mixing in crystal rhinestones of course.  We have to have a sparkle on almost everything.

What is the most extravagant costume you’ve ever designed for the show, and who wore it?

RC: I would say the most extravagant costume would have to be Toni Braxton’s Marie Antoinette-inspired Viennese Waltz gown (complete with powdered blonde wig and all).  To be as authentic as possible, we went to a costume house and purchased a “cage” to make the silhouette as close to the look of the era as possible.  It was almost all completely sewn by hand, on the dress form as there is no way to get that wide cage (for the hips) on the sewing machine to work on.  Quite labor intense, but what a gorgeous look!  And still, we did it in just under 4 days……I still break out in a sweat thinking about that one!

*photo courtesy ABC/Kelsey McNeal

If you could only pick one DWTS costume as your “all-time favorite”, which would it be and why?

RC: Besides Toni Braxton’s Marie Antoinette gown, I would have to say Joanna Krupa’s “Futuristic Paso Doble.”  We pushed the limits (again) of what we could do in just 4 days.  The silver silk lame with electric lights (all wired into the dress) was sensational, but a nightmare to get done in such a short time.  We had a lighting specialist up from San Diego for 3 days just wiring the darn thing.

*photo courtesy of ABC

Everyone has regrets. Have you ever looked back at a costume you’ve designed for the show and thought “What was I thinking???” If so, which one & why?

RC: Oh, I’m sure we ALL have regrets, but I have to say, we have a really good track record if you consider that from concept to completion is 4 days maximum.  The discipline the couple has to have to stick with the original design, in spite of choreographing after the design is done, a procedure which is completely backwards! That being said, each and every week I look at the costumes, making mental notes as to what we could have done better, or what I would have done differently.  The beauty is I get another chance 4 days later.

Who have been your favorite celebs and/or pros to design for, and why?

RC: I count myself quite lucky to have such a great rapport with the pro dancers, and we have such fun with (and trust in) each other.  Our design sessions are quite intense and rewarding. I have enjoyed the trust that almost all of the celebrities have shown to me.  I honestly think that they put their trust in me (and their pro partner) due mainly to the fact that they are in such a foreign and vulnerable area.  They have not danced like this before, and really have to rely on our experience and expertise.  The trust that Susan Lucci, Jennifer Gray, Florence Henderson, Chelsea Kane and Kirstie Alley (to name a few) showed me was quite humbling and really rewarding!  This definitely impacts how wonderful their costumes showed on them.

Do you have an all-time favorite? 

RC:  I would have to say that as far as professional dancers, Edyta Sliwinska made ME look good!  I wish I could take credit for her beauty, but she came that way!!  That being said, I have to admit that Edyta was remarkably prepared each week, knew what looked good on her, and above all else, she left me to interpret her ideas and trusted me completely.  What a dream lady to work with!  Toni Braxton and Brandy both were appreciative, trusting and so lovely to design for.

What happens to the costumes after they’ve been worn?

RC: The celebrities have the option of purchasing any of their costumes, once the season is over.  Kristi Yamaguchi and Shawn Johnson purchased all of their costumes, along with several celebs. buying their favorite one(s).  We keep a great majority of the costumes from past seasons in a storage facility quite close to the studio.  We also keep a few on hand right in the workroom, in case we need a last minute “fix.”  We have NEVER had to use one of those yet!

We’ve noticed some get reused and others don’t. How do you decide which ones get reused?

RC: We reuse costumes based on the producers’ requirements/suggestions, as well as our guest choreographers’ ideas.  Many times (most of the time) we re-work them so that their silhouettes more readily coordinate with each of the other dancers’ looks, for a more cohesive themed look. There is just not enough hours in the week to make ALL the costumes seen on Monday’s and Tuesday’s shows.  That said, we ALWAYS make something new for our couples for Monday’s show.  The pro numbers and (pro) group numbers may get previously worn costumes, but NEVER on celebs nor their partners for Monday’s competition!

*photo courtesy ABC/Adam Larkey

Do certain pros want specific kinds of alterations (i.e. shorter hems, lower necklines, mesh inserts, etc) on costumes that have been worn before by someone else?

RC: Again, it’s all about the overall theme/silhouette desired.  Our pro dancers do have their specific preferences, and if we could accommodate them, we most certainly would.  Some of those preferences are just going to be kept secret – no use spoiling the illusion……

Tune in later this week when we reveal part II of our exclusive interview…and Randall talks theme nights, panic attacks, and his love of princess seams (?) ;-) You won’t want to miss it!!!

January 9, 2012 I Written By

Ultrasound sales specialist by day, semi-knowledgeable DWTS fan by night...with a smattering of hair & makeup enthusiast, occasional model, and crazy cat lady peppered in to make things REALLY interesting ;-) I might pee my pants in happiness if Donnie Wahlberg ever does DWTS - or if they ever use "Sunglasses at Night" as a paso doble. Check out some of my other work at pureamericasgottalent.com!

DWTS David Arquette And Kym Johnson Get Ready For Their “Punk Rock” Tango (Rehearsal Video)

Kym and David give us a little sneak peek of their Tango tonight. They tell ET they have an interesting couple for the inspiration behind their dance. It will be about “Sid and Nancy” and have a “punk rock” vibe. They describe their costumes too as well as express how they are still on ‘cloud nine’ after Cher commenting that Kym and David were one of her favorite couples this Season (I would be on cloud nine too. I hope Cher is in the audience again this week.). More of this fun interview below…

October 17, 2011 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . For fun music and dance mixes, visit WilUnleashed Soundcloud.

Good Morning America Gets Us Ready For DWTS Tonight And Interviews Ricki And Derek! (Video)

Good Morning America goes “behind the scenes” today on Dancing With The Stars to get us ready for tonight. They build up the hype of Cher being in the audience and how her appearance will effect all the dancers and Chaz. They also go into Derek and Ricki’s rehearsals to ask them about it. Ricki wants to do her best and Derek says he hopes Cher shares her votes. Derek also talks of how he tries to approach each season like it’s his first time because it’s the celebrity’s first time. They talk of the “Derek Hough Diet”, how competitive Ricki is, and more.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Who’s ready? :D

October 10, 2011 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . For fun music and dance mixes, visit WilUnleashed Soundcloud.

DWTS13 Lacey Schwimmer On The Paso Doble: “Everything about this dance connects to Chaz” (Video)

Lacey tells ET that Chaz is loving the Paso Doble because “it’s aggressive and he can throw his boxing skills into it”. Chaz is more relaxed this week since he was able to get the steps down in a day. The Paso Doble has been much easier for him than last week’s dance. “Everything about this dance connects to Chaz”, says Lacey. ET also asks Chaz about Cher being in the audience and if she’ll be able to get him votes (dumb question and why do they have to put him on the spot like that? I’m not too sure Lacey handled it the best either? :? ).

People Magazine also interviewed Chaz. He’s really excited to have his Mom, Step Mom, and other family members in the audience tonight. Below is a take of him talking about it….

“It’s very exciting,” Bono says, noting that “my mom and my step mom Mary Bono Mack are coming, along with my aunt and uncle and my brother. It will be a real family affair.”

Though this will be Cher’s first trip to the ballroom, Bono says his mom has been “incredibly supportive” of him doing the show.

When the aches and pains of rehearsals were wreaking havoc on his knee, “she sent her acupuncturist and physical therapist over and that really helped me heal faster.” And, he adds, “She’s voting!”

“Dancing in front of 20 million people on live TV is nerve-wracking,” says Bono. But dancing in front of his mother? Not so scary, he says.

“The pressure of wanting to do good for all the people who are supporting me is so much more intense for me than having my family in the audience rooting for me,” Bono says. “It should be a very fun night.”

Indeed Chaz!! Can’t wait! :)

I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . For fun music and dance mixes, visit WilUnleashed Soundcloud.

DWTS 2011 Chaz Bono Getting Into The Best Shape He’s Ever Been In!

Access Hollywood has TWO new videos of Chaz and Lacey in their rehearsal studio. Chaz talks of all the weight he’s been losing while dancing. He says he’s getting himself into the best shape he’s ever been in.” They also talk of how Cher will be in the audience Monday night. The whole cast is excited. However, he doesn’t plan to dance to a Cher song. He won’t reveal the song choice, but, it’s “exciting” to him. I can’t embed the links, but, you view both videos at the link!! Bring it Chaz!!!

Picture above is of Chaz and Hope from the Dancing With The Stars make-up Team at facebook. Hope commented this week that she thinks Chaz is working the hardest from them all.

ADDING: Here is another part of this interview that Access Hollywood added today. They saved the best part for last. See why below….

October 6, 2011 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . For fun music and dance mixes, visit WilUnleashed Soundcloud.

DWTS13 Week 3 Interviews After The Dance Part 2 (Videos)

Lot’s to still cover! First up, below is a recap and a review on the night with Louis Van Amstel on Good Morning America. See if you don’t agree with him? I thought he did a super job and I pretty much agree.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Louis also reviews the couples in his new ABC Dancing With The Stars blog >>>>HERE if you are interested in checking it out. He nailed it for how I feel on Kristin and Marks’ dance…

I’m watching the package and I wonder what the personal story is? Kristin looks hot, hot, hot, and is very feminine, but I wish she would actually believe it and express it more internally.

Ok, onto some new Access Hollywood interviews….

Read more..

October 4, 2011 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . For fun music and dance mixes, visit WilUnleashed Soundcloud.

DWTS Lacey Schwimmer And Chaz Bono On Cher’s Support And More On The Talk!!

Chaz and Lacey were interview in The Talk yesterday. Chaz talks of how his Mom cried after the show. He also said Cher sent over someone to work on his knees and ankles since he’s having so much trouble with them. She wanted to come to go to the show Monday night, but, didn’t want to over shadow him. Of his first performance, Chaz said, “I kind of felt like I was in a bubble, to be honest. I mean, I was just focusing on Lacey and remembering what to do.” I can’t embed the video, but, you can view it at the link!

I love these two!!!

September 22, 2011 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . For fun music and dance mixes, visit WilUnleashed Soundcloud.

Dancing with the Stars Season 13 Music Suggestions

For those who might be new to Pure DWTS, you might not know that each season we’ve been listing the various music used on Dancing with the Stars. We’ll be doing the same for Dancing with the Stars season 13. So, check back here if you’re interested in knowing the various songs used on DWTS. In fact, you can also bookmark the Dancing with the Stars music page which will update with the latest music. Plus, you can go through all of the past music to see what was used before.

As we get ready for the Dancing with the Stars season 13 premiere, we thought it would be fun to create a list of music that we’d love to see on DWTS. Here’s some ideas and we welcome you to add your own DWTS music wish list in the comments.

Lady Gaga: Born This Way Born This Way - Born This Way (Bonus Track Version) and/or You And I Yoü and I - Born This Way (Bonus Track Version)
Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse “Body and Soul” Body and Soul - Body and Soul - Single (tribute to Amy and again would go great with the messages this season.)
Madonna: Miles Away Miles Away - Hard Candy (Deluxe Version) (great song to go with a slow Latin number)
Corey Hart’s “Sunglasses at Night” Sunglasses at Night - Corey Hart: The Singles (guilty pleasure night please)
Valerie Valerie - Back to Black: B-Sides from Amy Winehouse would make a great Quickstep
Aretha Franklin “Ain’t No Way” Ain't No Way - Aretha Franklin: 30 Greatest Hits
Rihanna “California King Bed” California King Bed - Loud
Tom Jones “It’s Not Unusual” It's Not Unusual - Mad Men - A Musical Companion (1960-1965)
David Bowie “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)” Cat People - Let's Dance (Remastered)
Poison “Talk Dirty To Me” Talk Dirty to Me - The Best of Poison - 20 Years of Rock (Remastered)
Cher “If I Could Turn Back Time” If I Could Turn Back Time - If I Could Turn Back Time - Cher's Greatest Hits
Lionel Ritchie “Hello” Hello - 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Lionel Richie
Beyonce: Best Thing I Never Had Best Thing I Never Had - 4
Britney Spears: I Wanna Go I Wanna Go - Femme Fatale (Deluxe Version)
Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera: Moves Like Jagger Moves Like Jagger (Studio Recording from
Lil Wayne: How To Love How to Love - Tha Carter IV (Deluxe Edition)
Rihanna: Cheers Cheers (Drink to That) - Loud
KC And The Sunshine Band: Get Down Tonight Get Down Tonight - KC & the Sunshine Band... and More
Cry Baby Cry Baby - The Lady Killer (Deluxe Version) by Cee Lo Green

I’ll be interested if any Cher music makes it on the show. Chaz has said he doesn’t want to use Cher’s music, but if Chaz stays around a couple weeks I’m not sure the producers will give Chaz and Lacey much choice. They’re going to want Cher’s music on the show.

Big Thanks to Courtney, Vogue and Princess Heidi for their contributions. I look forward to seeing your music suggestions.

September 18, 2011 I Written By

Better known as Charlie.

DWTS 13 Lacey Schwimmer Chats About Chaz Bono’s Strengths On The Dancefloor And More (Videos)

Kit Hoover of Access Hollywood goes into rehearsals with Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer. Chaz hopes he won’t be the first to be eliminated. He and Lacey hope to take it one week at a time. Lacey talks of all of Chaz’s strengths. She says when Chaz “smiles”, he lights up a room. Chaz Cha Cha’s a little for us. He talks of Cher and all the controversy surrounding him. All this and more below…

September 15, 2011 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . For fun music and dance mixes, visit WilUnleashed Soundcloud.

DWTS 13 Will Chaz Bono Use Cher’s Music To Dance?

For those wishing Chaz and Lacey might dance to some of Cher’s music, it doesn’t look like it might happen according to Lacey at E Online. I can see their reasoning on it, can you? But, I wish they would. Note how Chaz has lost 5 pounds already and there is still 2 weeks until showtime. Also note how Lacey describes his personality off and on the dance floor.

“Chaz is very wary about dancing to any one of his parents’ songs,” Bono’s Dancing partner Lacey Schwimmer recently told us. “He doesn’t want people to think we’re just going to dance to his parents’ songs for votes. So we’re just going to try our hardest to stay away from that route.”

But does Bono take after his superstar parents when it comes to entertaining?

“Chaz is actually a very shy person,” she says. “He doesn’t open up very easily, and with good reason. People have been scrutinizing him for his whole life. So I understand that. But when music comes on and when I give him the choreography and I tell him to go crazy, he has this really cute little personality about him. It’s really endearing to watch and I really think that people are going to fall in love with him as a person rather than what they think of him.”

As for Bono’s progress in the ballroom, Schwimmer says, “He picks up choreography very fast. He’s overweight and he’s aware of it but he’s already dropped five pounds in six days, since we started. His endurance is building, he’s getting stronger, he’s getting more confident.”

Picture from Chaz’s twitter.

September 5, 2011 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . For fun music and dance mixes, visit WilUnleashed Soundcloud.