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DWTS4: Randall’s Costume Retrospective, Week 3

Randall has been incredibly busy traveling lately, but he is still gracious enough to offer his insight on our favorite costumes from seasons past :-) Let’s see what he has to say about the tango & jive costumes from week 3 of season 4!

Apolo & Julianne’s costumes: “Definitely a LOT of fun paying tribute to Uma/John with a retro style costume.  Apolo looked great with his slick and shiny hair pulled back ala John Travolta.”

*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson 

Billy Ray & Karina’s costumes: “Looking back at these photos, I don’t even recognize Billy Ray nor Karina!!!  I think that Billy Ray looks BEYOND dashing in his tango costume – sophisticated, masculine and definitely elegant.  And Karina! The upswept hairdo, and that magnificent gown…..killer looks for a good tango!  The sleeveless jacket for Billy Ray was great, as it minimized any raising of his shoulders, which is SO difficult to control when dancing a ballroom dance, especially the tango, which automatically creates tension in the shoulders.  Without suit sleeves, the softness of the shirt minimized any tenseness that may have occurred while dancing.”

*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson

Laila’s costume: “The palazzo pants were a nice twist on the typical tango costume, and with Laila’s long legs, they really soared!  The snake/serpentine rhinestone trim along that (long and sexy) back in navy and hematite stones – stunning!  Laila has such a phenomenal physique that we wanted to showcase her beautiful shoulders, and went with a sports cut halter neckline.  What great shoulders, huh?”

*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson Read more..

February 8, 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!

DWTS4: Randall’s Costume Retrospective, Week 1

As promised, I am excited to bring you the first installment of our season 4 “costume retrospective” with Randall Christensen, the costume designer for the show from seasons 2-12 of DWTS! You’re in for a real treat, guys – in this edition, Randall not only reveals his inspiration for each of the couples’ costumes, but also explains how the costume department at the studio came to be, some interesting challenges that posed by Heather’s weekly transcontinental traveling, and what you DIDN’T see in Joey & Kym’s disco costumes ;-) Read on!

Did you know that the DWTS costume department wasn’t always located in the same studio as the show itself? Randall explains how tough it was in the early days: “This season was the second season (and the last season) that we had a company in Burbank, CA make the costumes.  A nightmare trying to get the couples over the hill into North Hollywood, with intensely congested traffic.  I remember one fitting where Heather Mills was 2 hrs. late getting there, even though it was only about a 15 mile drive, due to traffic.  That delayed fitting was the catalyst to our getting our own workroom (the very next season), which helped the cast and my crew TREMENDOUSLY!  We gave up the Green Room and created our workroom right in the same bldg. as the show, 2 floors above the soundstage.” Can you imagine how stressful it was for both the costume personnel AND the couples to make that trek for the costumes??? And what kind of problems it posed when there were wardrobe malfunctions that needed a quick fix??? Thank goodness the powers that be recognized the need for an in-house costume department, and made the necessary accomodations :-)

*photos courtesy AP/Chris Pizzello

Billy Ray & Karina’s costumes:Karina’s “tie dyed” red/burgundy burn-out velvet was a great choice of fabrics/color for their first dance.  Individual strands of bugle bead fringe accented her body movements.  Billy Ray’s costume was kept simple for this first week.”

*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson

Ian & Cheryl’s costumes: Cheryl’s costume had chrome “nail heads” and other silver hardware, giving a bit of an edgier look.  We tied in Ian’s look with a chrome studded belt.”

*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson

Edyta’s costume: Edyta always looks sensational in “just a little something” and this costume was no exception!  The crystal encrusted petal bra and that voluminous Cuban style circular skirt was perfect for this first week’s costume!  Love the tropical coral color too.

*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson

Apolo & Julianne’s costumes: Julianne’s red beaded fringe number was TONS of work to create, but oh-so-worth it!  That skirt just did NOT stay still!   And Apolo’s red bandana was a fun tribute to his signature look when competing in speed skating.  I loved that he was comfortable (and confident enough) to wear a bit of red trim on his shirt – to tie in (not only his bandana, but also ) with Julianne.  Apolo was an incredible athlete, and dedicated and determined to do whatever was needed to give him an edge.  I’ve noticed (and appreciated ) that about all of the athletes that have been on the show.”

*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson

Joey & Kym’s costumes: Kym Johnson/Joey Fatone – now here is one confident (and FUN) celebrity!  Joey really wanted for us to trim the back of his vest with TWO WORDS – FAT and ONE.  The producers didn’t want us to do that, so we went with his Fatone (one word) rhinestone encrusted on the back of his vest.  And what a FUN costume for Kym – a tribute to the 70’s-80’s “ABBA” look.  Smoking on Kym’s smoking body, don’t you think?  Very fun, and a bit tongue-in-cheek.”

*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson

Laila’s costume: Laila is such a phenomenally gorgeous woman, and one terrific athlete.  Because she is so tall, and has quite the muscular body, I really wanted to make sure her femininity came through.  In spite of all her muscles (fantastic biceps!!!!) Laila is ALL woman!  This rust silk satin gown with crystal encrusted appliqué was soft yet sexy, and did that skirt ever soar when she moved!  Of course standing over 6 ft. tall in heels certainly made for a dramatic silhouette, one which Maks could still certainly handle.”

*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson

Heather’s costume (and the special challenges it posed): The first few weeks of pre production and the first couple of weeks of the live show posed quite a challenge for us and Heather.  Because of the notoriety of Heather, we had to do so much secretively, so as to not alert the public as to her being on the show (during pre-production I was the only person on my staff who knew she was one of the celebrities – we had to keep it THAT hush, hush!).  So consequently, we had a company in London create the first two weeks’ costumes for her, as she was training weekly in England (flying over to compete and then returning back to England).  The company we used had been the costume makers for the UK version of DWTS (Strictly Come Dancing) and we are good friends, so I felt really comfortable having them take care of Heather.  They travelled a great distance to give Heather her fittings.  This gown was one of their creations and fitted Heather’s style and physique perfectly!  I think that the biggest challenge was to find a dance shoe company that could/would make VEGAN dance shoes.  Being a strict vegetarian, Heather was quite concerned about wearing dance shoes which always have leather suede soles, for proper traction on the dance floor.  Thank goodness her assistant knew of a great shoe company that made several pairs for her to try out, rehearse in, and another set to perform in.  And Heather was incredibly helpful, not to mention a total JOY to work with!  I don’t know that I have ever had (before Heather or since) a person who got so excited on each and every design session.  There were times when we were giggling and she was clapping and exclaiming how much fun this was.  Heather was one of my most memorable celebrities that I have worked with, totally professional and very appreciative!

*photo courtesy ABC/Carol Kaelson

Wow! I never realized what challenges the costume department had to overcome behind the scenes! But obviously, they handled them with such skill and perseverence that we never saw them.  But it is fun to know behind-the-scenes tidbits like these…definitely makes the show more fun to watch, at least for me :-)

Still need more DWTS costume goodness? You can always check out Randall’s website and Facebook page, and be sure to stay tuned here for more costume retrospectives from the man himself – we’ve got Randall’s take on the week 2 costumes coming at you later this week ;-)

January 23, 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!