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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!

DWTS Who Wore it Better? Part XIV – The Pre-Season 13 Edition!

While you guys got to ooh, ahh, and discuss the official season 13 promo photos, I was busy trying to compile everything for WWIB – so you’ll have to forgive me if I’m a bit cranky in these critiques. :-) In reality, I actually started compiling pictures for this last week, after the first celebs tweeted pix of themselves at their respective shoots, but it still left a lot to do once they FINALLY released the pix today (3 days late, I might add…ahem, ABC, you listening? ;-)).  Anywho! As I was telling Heidi, there were definitely a few…odd things about this season’s promo photos.  So let’s get right to it, shall we?

Battle of the midnight blue, sparkly one-shoulder rumba dress: Anna’s pre-season 13 photo shoot with Carson vs. Anna’s rumba with Evan in season 10

Courtney: I was joking on Twitter that I bet Carson was the reason the promo photos were released later than usual – he must’ve been picky about he & Anna’s costumes ;-) From the look on Carson’s face, maybe he didn’t get his way – he looks pouty.  Then again, maybe it’s just extraordinarily awkward for him to be touching Anna “that way”…look at how awkwardly his hands are placed.  I worry that these 2 could struggle with really romantic dances like the rumba, if that’s what’s really going here.  Then again, Carson could take to the drama of the dances like a fish to water…but anyway! Love Anna, love this dress & the color of it, but I have to go with rumba Anna for this one, for reasons of hair alone – WTF were they trying to do with it in the photoshoot? Seems like they were torn between some Snooki-like bump in the back and loose waves in the front.  Ooh wee.  And can I just say, this dress is far too similar to the rumba dress she wore with Kurt in season 11 – when you’re dealing with various lighting conditions in photos, it’s hard to tell the 2 apart!

Heidi: Yep, I have to go with Rumba Anna too – and it was also about the hair for me too. :-)  I think we’re, like, mind-melding or something.  Poor Carson. His lack of experience with women may end up costing him.  I believe he did say that himself, did he not?

The winner: Rumba Anna!! It’s all in the hair.

Battle of the flowy, white, jeweled ballgown: Elisabetta’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with Val vs. Chelsea’s foxtrot with Mark in season 12

Heidi: Do NOT understand the need to chop off the length on these gorgeous ballroom dresses. WHY?? This dress on Chelsea was so gorgeous, long and flowy – and it loses all it’s impact once it’s chopped off.  Gotta go with Chelsea for style….not to mention that I don’t find Val attractive so that kinda hurts Elisabetta’s chances with me. :-)

Courtney: I may have “hated” on Chelsea & Mark all last season (according to some readers…) but I have to say – this was my favorite dress Chelsea wore.  Thought it was simple, elegant, and age-appropriate.  And while I think Elisabetta looks STUNNING in it, I have to go with Chelsea here – the overall styling & very old Hollywood feel they gave her seems to suit the dress better. One funny note: did they catch Val trying to sniff Elisabetta’s hair? Because his face is half-covered by it, and he looks…guilty. ;-)

The winner:  Chelsea by a length.

Battle of the cranberry silk embroidered ballgown: Hope’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with Maks vs. Jennifer’s tango with Derek in season 11

Courtney: Can’t remember who it was that called this the “red velvet cake” dress, but you’re totally on the money…and making me crave baked goods.  :-P Or maybe cranberry juice.  Anywho! We don’t see too many cranberry-hued costumes on the show – maybe because it feels like a very formal shade? Idk.  I love the embroidery on the sleeves & waist, and I always love open-backed dresses, but I have to say I think a bit of the magic of the original was lost when they shortened the dress – by shortening it, I think they were trying to make it feel more “Latin” than ballroom, but the color & styling of the bodice still scream “ballroom!” to me…so for that reason, I’m gonna go with Jennifer.  I prefer the dress long, and the pulled-back hair & matching lipstick complete the look.

Heidi: Again, the chopping up of a perfectly beautiful dress. Gotta go with Courtney and choose Jennifer.  Frankly, the dress just doesn’t look right shorter and Court pretty much summed up why. I do like Maks’ matching shirt though – that’s a nice touch.

Courtney: I think I figured out why exactly I don’t love the shortened version: it looks too much like a figure skating costume.  Slap some skates on Hope and she’s ready for Skating with the Stars. Why couldn’t they have put her in a different cranberry-colored Latin costume? Like maybe Audrina’s Argentine tango costume?

The winner: Red velvet cake is always a winner…but we prefer our pieces with some length to them.

Battle of the silver-fringed, jeweled Latin dress: Karina’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with JR vs. Chelsie’s pre-season 12 photoshoot vs. Chelsie’s cha-cha with Jake in season 10

Heidi: I love Karina’s bangs!  She looks very pretty.  But I think I’ll go with the middle Chelsie…I deduct points for the long black gloves as an accessory choice with this dress. I do not like the above-the-elbow gloves with the short latin dresses. Just don’t get that fashion choice at all. So, while middle Chelsie wins for me, Karina takes second and right Chelsie gets third place. :-)

Courtney: This was one of the many oddities I noticed with this season’s photo shoot pictures – why did Karina decide to reuse a dress that had already been worn for a promo pic? Let alone one that was just used LAST SEASON.  It may not seem like a big deal, but to my knowledge, no costume has ever gotten used in a promo shoot more than once, and since the promo photos are often the ones that linger the longest of any of the photos taken during a particular season, you’d think they’d try harder to make them more…unique.  It’s not like they don’t have a ton of costumes to choose from :-) But I digress once more.  Gotta stick with Chelsie on this one, because this doesn’t look like something Karina would design for herself – all the more reason I am befuddled as to why it was picked for her.

The winner: Chelsie still owns the battle of the silver fringe.

Battle of the cranberry corset-top, tulle-overlayed dress: Lacey’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with Chaz vs. Lacey in the “Toxic” showdown with Val in season 11

Heidi: Gotta say, I think this one is a draw for me. I think it’s a rather silly dress to begin with, and while I like the red streaks in Lacey’s hair on the right, I despise those little chopped up gloves that she’s wearing. So….a tie. :-)  I will say though, that that lighting on the left-hand picture compliments the dress more – you can see all the detail work on it much better.

Courtney: Tee hee…my screen-capping skillz make me giggle sometimes ;-) If you’re wondering exactly what Lacey is doing in the photo on the right – I think she’s attempting to make some sort of come-hither gesture to Val and is failing.  :-P I can’t say I’m wild about this dress, but it does look very “Lacey-ish”.  I guess I prefer it in the “Toxic” number – the streaks in the hair & the edgy makeup seem to suit it better than the more plain makeup & hair they gave her in the pre-season photoshoot. Another observation: I know some people are saying “Oh, Chaz must not be that short after all – Lacey’s standing next to him wearing heels.” Well, he may actually be a bit taller than her, but I think they’re already employing a few tricks to help as well – Lacey’s standing further back than he is, which could alter the perspective; and it looks like Chaz’s hair is gelled straight up, and he may have a bit of a heel on his shoes.  Now let’s see if they have tricks to minimize the height difference between Peta & Ron, too…

The winner: Lacey…and no one else. :-P

Battle of the pearl-encrusted, cut-out tango dress: Kym’s Argentine tango with Hines in season 12 vs. Kym’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with David

Courtney: My favorite dress of season 12, PERIOD.  Love the racy cut-out sides, love the nude color, and ADORE the fact that Kym eschewed the cliched rhinestone coating and had it encrusted with pearls instead.  Love the dress in both pix, but I gotta go with photoshoot Kym – the loose, romantic waves they put in her hair seem to really sexify the dress.

Heidi: Ditto – I also like her partner on the right (cute!) and just her posture is better and works with the dress better.  Totally agree about the hair.  Doesn’t Kym choose this color for her photoshoots a lot?? It’s a color that really works on her.

The winner: Photoshoot Kym proves that pearls can be sexy. 

Battle of the black mesh, fringed & jeweled dress: Ricki’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with Derek vs. Marissa’s 2nd rumba with Tony in season 6

Heidi: Mmmmm….Derek. :-)  I’ve got to send his trainer cookies or something for the work he’s done on Derek. He looks…bigger. Or in the words of his trainer…”jacked up”. All growed up. Oh. Dresses. Well, since I don’t like Marissa’s stockings, and I don’t like her hair…and, well, I don’t much like HER, I have to go with Ricki for better hair and a hunkier than ever partner. :-)

Courtney: Love that they’ve got 2 former Tracy Turnblad portrayers in the same dress :-) Seems like kind of a cool homage.  I don’t exactly love this dress, so it makes it hard for me to pick a winner.  Seems to look better with Ricki’s coloring, but that could just be a spray tan and some photoshoot lighting giving her a nice glow.  But wait – is Derek wearing a black shirt with brown pants? WTF???

Heidi: Derek’s wearing pants??  Oh…yes, it appears they are a different color. ;-) Seems to be an odd choice for him. Very out of the ordinary. Wonder why?

The winner: In the tale of two Tracy Turnblads, Ricki emerges victorious :-)

Battle of the brown fringed & jeweled Latin dress: Nancy’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with Tristan vs. Kirstie’s 1st samba with Maks in season 12

Courtney: Nancy actually looks quite nice in this dress, methinks.  Perhaps even better than Kirstie.  She’s certainly got her tatas ready for battle! Gotta say – Nancy is pleasantly surprising me so far.  She seems like she’s actually excited to be doing this, and has set aside her courtroom aggression for the meantime.  And Tristan, good on ya – you look happy :-D

Heidi: Ah, we finally disagree on one. I have to go with Kirstie. I think she works this dress better just by nature of her hairstyle which is long and flowing rather than…helmut-y.  Yes, I am making up words as we go.

The winner: It serves both Nancy & Kirstie pretty well…so what can brown do for YOU? ;-)

Battle of the silver silk jeweled ballgown: Pam’s foxtrot with Damian in season 10 vs. Chynna’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with Tony

Heidi: Chynna isn’t wearing this dress, the dress is wearing her.  Pam embodies what that dress was designed for – she owns it.  Even the elbow length gloves work with this dress and her hair…and her makeup.  Just gorgeous! And am I mis-remembering or is this another dress that was nearly full length and they’ve chopped it again??  Step AWAY from the scissors!

Courtney: Chynna has aged incredibly well, but the overall effect of this silver gown on her seems…bland.  She’s very pretty, yes, but there’s nothing about the picture that really jumps out at me – and I’m afraid that may be the theme for me with regards to Chynna & Tony this season :-( Whenever I’m rattling off the names of the couples, they always seem to be the ones I forget, maybe because there’s been relatively little media coverage of them.  Idk – maybe they’re deliberately flying under the radar so they can surprise everyone in week one.  Time will tell! But Pam, my little blonde bombshell of season 10 – she’s a total Marilyn in this one, down to the sex kitten hair, elbow-length gloves, and red lips.  *sigh* I miss Pam & Damian…

The winner: You don’t mess with Pam Anderson.

Battle of the black, lacey, fringey dress: Cheryl in the season 12 finale opening dance with Chris vs. Cheryl’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with Rob

Courtney: This must be one of those generic dresses they always seem to have on-hand in order to fit a particular color scheme, because nothing about it was really triggering a ”Eureka!” moment for me until someone mentioned that it could be Karina’s dress from the season 11 finale – of course it wasn’t, but it at least got me thinking along the lines of finale performances and that’s where I finally found this one.  It’s pretty, but unremarkable for me – Cheryl herself doesn’t even seem to be uber-excited to be wearing it in either picture.  I guess I’ll go with photoshoot Cheryl, because she’s at least smiling…although Rob still looks like kind of a putz to me.

Heidi: Blah. Boring. Both times. :-(  I think Rob IS a putz. It’s actually painful to have him in my DWTS List on twitter.

The winner: Zzzzz….oh, we were supposed to pick a winner? I guess photoshoot Cheryl…now let me sleep…zzzzzz

Battle of the gold lame/gold sequin romper: Kristin’s pre-season 13 photoshoot with Mark vs. Julianne’s freestyle with Helio in season 5 vs. Karina’s pro dance to Selena Gomez with Derek in season 9

Courtney: WARNING: this is NOT the same costume.  Well, Kristin’s is not – I’m convinced they bought that nonsense on the clearance rack at Wet Seal…or bought it at a costume auction after Take Me Home Tonight wrapped (BTW, good movie for a few laughs – well worth the $1.08 the bf & I paid for it at the Redbox ;-)).  In other words – I hate that gold thing and I have no idea why they decided to put such a pretty girl in such a tacky costume when they clearly have a bajillion suitable leftover costumes at their disposal.  *stamps foot* Seriously…whyyyy? Even the the very similar gold sequin romper that Julianne & Karina both wore would be an improvement over this…thing. And don’t even get me started on Mark’s shoes…although, if they were going for the 80′s theme with their photoshoot, he does look vaguely like Duckie from Pretty In Pink…except Duckie is wicked awesome and Mark is just kinda bogus, dude. </80′sslang>

Heidi: Pretty sure they give the dancers a selection to choose from. Just sayin’.  This is one gawdawful dress that made me think trailer park Saturday night when I first saw it. Maybe that’s harsh…but didn’t gold lame dresses go out in the 90′s. Or the 70′s?  Or both?? I mean, really, at least that gawdawful romper (and you all know how I feel about that cut around the legs) IS a romper.  Kristen’s is a dress that is cut up to THERE.  Seriously? You’re going there on day 1? Also, you do realize that Mark got those damn shoes bedazzled don’t you? Because we couldn’t see them well enough as it is – because it is much more important that we see Mark’s feet than his partner’s.  Or…the dude is just tacky.  Are we picking a winner here? I go with Karina because she’s suffocating Derek with her hair. :-)  Helio is cool too though.

The winner: Helio & Karina. And perhaps Jon Cryer.

And a special note on Peta’s dress…

We tried, kids, we really tried…but we (and the many PureDWTS readers I solicited both here and on Twitter) were clueless about this feathered thing Peta is wearing.  I (Court) swear I’ve seen her wear it somewhere OUTSIDE the dance floor (either in the audience of DWTS or another premiere or something), but for the life of me, I cannot recall specifics.  I even asked Peta on Twitter – no response. If you have seen this dress before and can tell us where exactly, we’ll update this post and give you credit :-) But until then, here is some commentary from Heidi & I…

Heidi: What in the hell was Peta thinking?  From the psuedo dress to the pose it’s just all the way wrong.  I think it might actually be the pose that really caps it off.  It kinda looks like Ron is carrying his child in her swimsuit on his hip.  Or you could go slightly porno if you want, but I’m trying not to think about that.  This is actually a horrendous picture for me – such a gorgeous woman but how did she get to this pose in this outfit??

Courtney: I’m sorry, but this seriously seems like the worst of this batch of promo photos to me.  The pose is just totally weird – can you believe that Peta’s leg is actually hidden behind Ron’s back? Believe it – Peta confirmed it.  And this dress just feels odd to me – like they just took a tank top and slapped some feathers on the bottom.  And speaking of bottoms…I hate that Peta’s is just kinda hanging out in this pic.  Add to that the strange pouffy hair, and I’m just left thinking, “WTF???”

September 7, 2011 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!

Dancing With The Stars Randall Christensen Helps With Macy’s MiracleSuit’s Swimwear Fashion Show

Randall Christensen is busy this summer too. Like the rest of the Dancing With The Stars crew including those behind the scenes, I’m sure his work never ends. The Dancing With The Stars Costume designer set his sites on New York City this week to help Macy’s with their MiracleSuit swimwear fashion show. Below is a picture of Randall helping the models get ready for the show….and having a little fun dancing backstage as well. You can view more pics at Randall’s facebook page. See any gowns you like? I like the two in the FRONT! :D

June 30, 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.

DWTS12 – ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Finals Costume Recap With Randall Christensen

The costume designer for our show, Randall Christensen, goals for the Finals was “to execute the celebrities’ most personal visions for their make-it or break-it dances” and he succeeded in doing just that….uhhh, well, except for Chelsea and Mark’s freestyle. But, not sure that is Randall’s fault as much as it was Mark’s (in my opinion). More below for how Randall and the dancers came up with their costumes from Stylelist.

Hines Ward and Kym Johnson: Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were the inspiration for the couples’ quickstep look, which included a classic top hat, tuxedo and tails for the Pittsburgh Steelers pro. Johnson’s sublime gown featured white sheer mesh encrusted with 12,000 crystals and hand-dyed-and-cut guipure lace appliqué work. For a contemporary twist, its sheer skirt was fringed with horsehair braid.

For their freestyle performance, Ward lived out his marching band fantasy in custom-made drum major regalia. Christensen’s team used velcro and gussets at the armpits to give Ward tear-away sleeves to crank up his dance moves. Meanwhile, custom costumes for the musicians that joined the couple on stage were ordered from Texas in Steelers’ black and gold and arrived “in the nick of time.” Johnson’s majorette “boots” were actually spandex spats slipped over her Latin dance shoes for ease of movement. Her gold fringe minidress was a sexy take on the majorette/cheerleader look.

Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas: Since she first slipped on Christensen’s fringe party in the U.S.A. pants during Patriot’s Week, the actress has been a fan and requested the style for her samba. For more fun, Christensen added fringe under a row of thousands of hand-beaded crystals on top. “It was tons of work, but hey it’s the finale,” he says. “And I have to admit it. No one wears fringe pants better than Chelsea.”

For their “Tron”-themed freestyle, the couple deviated from classic ballroom style and requested costumes that didn’t exactly match. Kane wore a turquoise bra-top and Ballas a lime-bedazzled suit. “That surprised be a bit since Mark’s suit was such a bright color, but I obliged them because I want to empower each couple and they should have what they want for this very important routine.” The battery operated shoes and gloves were installed by singer Chris Brown’s lighting team and “it was a wiring nightmare with all the lifts and choreography.” While the drama was spectacular the special effects were a fashion challenge: Kane said after the broadcast that one of the battery packs slipped off after her first big move and was dangling during her performance.

Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: The actress wore a minidress featuring Carnivale hues of bright orange, yellow and lime green accented with crystal infused fringe for her sexy, sassy samba.

For her freestyle to Pink’s “Perfect,” Christensen deliberately outfitted Alley in a monk-brown dress, which was torn off to reveal a formfitting black unitard that showed off the slimmed-down figure of the actress who has lost 60-plus pounds in the ballroom. The designer’s fashion message? “Hello world, here is the new Kirstie, hot and fabulous.”

“Kirstie has been transforming right before our eyes and what an eye-popping end to such a glorious journey. And that was all Kirstie with just a bodysuit and her magnificently toned body.”

So, who had your favorite and least favorite costumes this week? Kym and Hines were my favorite and I won’t go there again for what I thought of Mark and Chelsea’s. 8O

May 26, 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 Semi-Finals – Randall Christensen Talks about This Week’s Costumes Which Included A Silver-Crystal Encrusted Neck Brace

Would you believe Kym almost danced with a special neckbrace designed by Randall Christensen (the costume designer for Dancing With The Stars)? It’s true. Up until the last minutes of the show, Randall and his team were working on a silver-crystal encrusted neck brace which Kym almost wore during her dances with Hines. At the last minute, she decided she was strong enough to go on without it. He described last week as “an enormous challenge” with 12 costumes to get ready. See why below.

Kym Johnson and Hines Ward: Up until moments before they took the dance-floor for an emotional Argentine tango that received a perfect score, Christensen’s team was working on a silver-crystal encrusted neck brace for an injured Johnson. She was rushed to the hospital May 13 when football pro Ward’s full body weight came down on her neck as the couple attempted a difficult flip.

Johnson ultimately made the call that she felt strong enough to dance without the brace. Her formfitting tango dress with its cutout back and angled hemline was the most labor intensive costume of the night featuring mesh encrusted with “thousands upon thousands of pearls.” “Then we added the sparkle of 10,000 crystals wedged between the pearls,” says Christensen. “To make that costume in five days was a huge undertaking.”

Karina Smirnoff and Ralph Macchio: For their pimp-daddy inspired salsa, Christensen created a skintight bodysuit of leopard for Smirnoff, splitting it down the middle to reveal a red crystal-encrusted bra. “Who else could pull off such a sizzling catsuit but Karina Smirnoff,” says Christensen.

Padding obtained from Christensen’s “secret downtown [Los Angeles] source” was slipped into Macchio’s pants to give him a more prominent backside, an idea the actor and his partner came up with “for fun.” The catsuit was accented with thousands of hand-strung crystal strands and piles of hematite and topaz crystals.

Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy: Christensen says Alley’s transformation (she says she’s lost more than 70 pounds dancing) “blows me away each and every week.” And this week, he showed off her toned upper body in a sleeveless, strapless frock. Her dark paso doble look featured a crystal-encrusted bustier with a tattered black and purple organza neckline. “The draped front was not traditional, but kept with the theme of the dance, which is Spanish gypsy,” he explains. Black leggings were added in keeping with the edgy mood.

Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas: The Disney star rose to the top of the leader board again, thanks to her sizzling rumba which she performed in a deep mauve and lavender, midriff-baring frock that had its own dramatic backstory. The costume was originally cotton-candy pink, but the dancers asked for a new, darker look after show producers informed them clearance issues had forced a last-minute music change. “Being the pros that they are and knowing the kind of week the workroom was having, they were cool with my idea of dyeing her original look. We just dipped the whole thing and said a few prayers.”

You can read more at Stylelist.

May 18, 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 Week 7 – The Celebrity Contestants Put Their Own Spin On Their Costumes This Week

The costume designer for Dancing With The Stars, Randall Christensen, told Stylist that he let the celebrities put their own “flirty” spin on their costumes this week. Read below and at the link for what happened behind the scenes in preperation for week 7. Note how they had last minute issues with Karina’s costume and they had to rework it. Kirstie added sparkle to her leggings an hour before showtime. What a rush they must have had.

Wilkinson: “Tango is typically danced in black or red and many times lace,” Christensen notes, but he went with a completely different vibe for the reality star. “It was fun to put a spin on that classic silhouette and do a crystal-studded fuchsia bustier.” He added a red, silk satin hip treatment and tiers of red, organza ruffles for a Spanish twist. “The wow factor was hard to miss,” he says.

Alley: The inspiration for her big flirt jive look was the “Cha Cha” character from “Grease.” Her partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, ordered up the sparkling leggings for his partner. “We wanted to expose those naughty leopard bra straps and we covered her shoes in leopard on Friday,” Christensen says. After her first fitting, Christensen ripped off an over-skirt to expose the layers of tulle. Then, Alley asked for more sparkle on her leggings, which was applied an hour before show time. “Of course, I couldn’t deny her THAT.”

Hines Ward and Kym Johnson: The football pro channeled James Bond in a tango hall, wearing a white dinner jacket, while his partner wore an ultra-sexy, one-shoulder lace gown with a seductive rose fastened at the skirt’s leg-baring hip slit. “The black lace over the nude mesh was the ultimate tango dress. And Hines was Bond — suave, sophisticated and masculine.”

Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff: Climbed to the top of the leader board in a kelly green roaring ’20s inspired ensemble that produced as much drama backstage as it did in the ballroom. Christensen had to rework Smirnoff’s look hours before the live show after fringe for a planned skirt was sent out for dye and came back the wrong color. “It was a moss green, yikes,” says Christensen. “Karina was a real trooper trusting us to bring the newly conceived skirt idea to reality.”

Chelsea Kane and Mark Ballas: Her head-to-toe lace body stocking wasn’t exactly a typical Paso Doble look. Nor were the edgy goth details on partner Ballas’ jacket, but Christensen is game for the young Disney star’s desire for unusual costumes. “Traditional paso doble? No! Perfectly appropriate for her age, music and talent? Absolutely!”

The Dancing With The Stars Hairteam at Facebook has pics of some of the ladies costumes up close. Below is Chelsea and Karina’s costumes. The detail is amazing when you think about how fast they have to put these together. More at the link.

And below is Kym getting her make-up fine tuned before the show.

So, who had your favorite costumes this week? I was fond of Kendra’s, Kym’s, and Chelsea’s costumes the most this time.

May 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.

DWTS 12 “Guilty Pleasures” Week – Skimpy, Cut-out, Beaded Costumes Dominated The Dance Floor

Stylist takes us backstage with Randall Christensen once again to discuss this week’s costume highlights and how he and his crew were inspired. I love what he says about Kirstie and how they have to keep taking in her costumes every week. He addresses the costume issue in Karina’s fall too and more.

Kendra Wilkinson: For her booty-shaking Samba the reality star and her partner, Louis van Amstel wanted “to express “Livin La Vida Loca” and beaded fringe did it,” says Christensen. “Of course the cut of the dress — sexy neckline, bare sides, micro miniskirt — lent itself to those steamy nights in Rio de Janeiro.” The look produced the desired reaction: Judge Bruno Tonioli described the performance as “attack of the killer boobs” and Wilkinson earned her best score.

Kirstie Alley: The 60-year-old actress recently proclaimed she’s almost danced her way into a size 6 and the short, copper, fringe-accented Samba dress Christensen created was a celebration of her toned figure. “I love dressing curvy women and accentuating those feminine curves was a blast,” says Christensen who used short bands of fringe to smother Alley’s skirt with shades of copper and brown. “Kirstie is quite literally melting away and we are taking in her costumes every week. That beautiful transformation of slimming down by toning up is wonderful to witness.”

Ralph Macchio: Smirnoff told co-host Brooke Burke after a week spent worrying if Macchio could manage his dramatic paso doble cape, she tripped on it. Before performing in his royal blue, gold and hot pink opera jacket, “Ralph actually practiced with a cape skirt to familiarize himself with the extra movement the cape would make,” Christensen says. And the couples’ dress rehearsal went off without a hitch: “I’m always biting my nails during dress rehearsal — which is only two hours before we go live on the East Coast — to make sure the costumes function properly without interfering with the performance.” He gave Macchio kudos for his “chivalrous recovery.”

Chelsea Kane: Thirty-five yards of silk chiffon were used to execute Kane’s vision of a flirty, bedazzled “schoolgirl on a field trip” dress.

Romeo: For his “Titanic” themed waltz, Christensen created a flowing, feminine, turn-of-the-century inspired multi-colored ballgown for partner Chelsie Hightower, while dressing the rapper in a replica of Leonardo DiCaprio’s “Jack” costume. The ruched midriff and square neckline on Hightower’s dress were in keeping with the couples’ romantic vision.

The Miami Herald has a great new interview up with Randall as well this week. Below he addresses the wildest costume he ever had to design for the show, Kirstie’s shoe mishap, and more. Be sure to read the rest of the interview at the link because he also talks about why women over 40 are “so hot”.

What is the wildest outfit you ever created?
I would have to say dressing Toni Braxton in a Marie Antoinette “cage’’ gown . . . in four days! That was our biggest challenge and our most over-the-top costume. Another would be Joana Kruppa’s “Futuristic Paso Doble’’ and wiring the lights all over her costume, and keeping them working while she danced a strenuous routine.

Kirstie Alley had a shoe mishap. Is that common?
Losing a shoe is one of those freak accidents. When she was being spun across the floor, Kirstie made sure her foot did not come off the floor; thereby being penalized for doing a “lift.’’ She put a lot of pressure on her foot to maintain contact with the floor. Unfortunately, her toes slipped out.

How do you choose the high heels? Aren’t they hard to dance in?
Typically, a 2.5 to a 3 inch heel is the best height for proper balance and skeletal alignment. The shoes we use [made from a company in Beverly Hills] are specially made for a dance floor with suede soles. They are quite lightweight yet still have a strong steel shank to support the arch and heel.

Do celebs have any choice in what they wear?
Definitely. All of the contestants are in on each design session. They need to feel their most confident, and it is my job to get inside their head and find out what makes them tick, what makes them happy.

So, which costumes did you like the most this week? Once again, I have to give this honor to Chelsie and Romeo. Chelsie was gorgeous in purple chiffon. I loved Maks and Kirstie’s costumes too. I was hoping she’d choose something dark and with long fringes. They need to be careful about giving her bright colors.

More photos (like the photos above) at OnTheRedCarpet.com.

April 27, 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 Season 12 – Costuming and Make-Up For Star-Spangled Patriot’s Day

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.

April 21, 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 Season 10 – Finale Week Costuming

Randal Christensen had some “behind the seams dish” to dish about with Stylelist again. Here’s a take for what went on with the costumes for the finale nights. Be sure to read more at the link.

Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas: Christensen was amused when the teen activist tossed the tricked-out gorilla suit she wore earlier this season. “It served its purpose and was so last week,” he deadpans. “It was a funny moment and a fun jab at the last time they jived.” Besides, Christensen was more focused on the blinged-out blue jacket he designed for Ballas. “I was surprised we made it to the finale before he asked for it. He loves his bling-encrusted costumes.”

As for Palin’s sexy, lace freestyle booty short bodysuit, Christensen says the teen activist was in complete charge of her look. She asked for fringe to be added to the suit and loved her blinged-out boots and fishnet stockings. “It was fun seeing Bristol’s confidence grow each week,” says Christensen.

Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer: The teen stars freestyle “Tootsie Roll” rapper medallion was hand-made by a crafty member of Christensen’s team who used gold foil lycra layered over plastic which was tacked on to keep Massey from chipping his teeth while he danced. Really! As for their bright-yellow sneakers: “We’re lucky we are in Hollywood where you can still find that kind of ’90′s thing around,” he says.

Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough: Hough was so pleased with Grey’s lattice-backed paso doble dress he twirled her around to praise Christensen’s design on national television. The compliment was, “quite thrilling actually” says the designer, whose concept for the gown was to keep it sophisticated but theatrical with the daringly low back. “The splash of garnet silk satin was especially effective when it was ripped off to be Derek’s matador cape,” he notes.

Grey made a deliberate decision not to imitate her signature “Dirty Dancing” finale performance instead dancing to “Mashed Potato” another song from the iconic film. “We were quite seriously paying homage to ‘Baby’ while trying to put a bit of originality into the costume,” says Christensen. And while Grey boasts “rock hard” abs at 50, Christensen added a panel of nude mesh to her hot pink two piece to “make sure she was comfortable.” Scattered crystals finished the look.

I loved Jennifer and Derek’s choices. Jennifer’s gold fringe costume had “Champion” written all over it from the get go. So, who had your favorite costumes for the finale?

Randall Christensen also dished on his favorite Finale costumes of all time on the show so far. See what costumes he picked in a cool slide gallery >>> HERE!

So, I wonder what Randall Christensen will have in store for DWTS Season 12? I wrap this post up with this little memory I don’t think we’ll ever soon forget. lol

Len Goodman to Kyle Massey: It was as though you were engulfed in a huge feather duster and you kept popping out here and there.

November 28, 2010 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 11 – Which Couple Had The Best Costume For Week 4?

Heidi Note: Courtney and I (mostly me) are running a bit behind on the ‘Cake, so for your reading pleasure I give you Vogue. :-)

Once again, what a week in costumes. Randall Christianson, the shows costume designer, had his work cut out for him. He said the show might have been “unplugged” (though many of us beg to differ if it was actually an “unplugged” show?), but he wanted the costumes to be as “electric” as always. Here is what he explains to Stylist on these dancers costumes….

Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas: When StyleList saw 19-year-old Palin’s belted, long white shirt, we figured she had a change of heart about her threat to go sexier this week. Turns out the costume was her version of sexy! “Mark and I had wanted to do a dreamy chiffon, but the music didn’t lend itself to the look,” Christensen says.

Instead, the oversized shirt draped over a black sequined sheath channeled sexy in a new way. “You don’t have to bare it all to prove a point,” says the designer, adding that the super-short costume accented Palin’s “beautiful legs.”

Florence Henderson and Corky Ballas: Mrs. Brady’s “get-a-room” rumba made judge Carrie Ann Inaba blush. Christensen says his muse and her sexy dance inspired him to pull out a $300-a-yard, textured metallic European fabric he’d been saving for the “right person.”

“She’s proving that a woman at any age can be fun, flirty, and yes, sexy,” he says. The shorter, more fluted drape of the dress “was not your typical rumba costume, but a great contrast to the other costumes.” After an Oct. 8 fitting, Christensen added slits on the side and more fullness, which gave the dress a “sassy, flippy” quality. “Awesome, wasn’t she?” he asks. We thought so!

Sorrentino and Karina Smirnoff: Christensen once told us that flashing the reality star’s abs might be “too predictable.” But, “It’s week 4. C’mon don’t you think it was time for the real Situation to be revealed,” says Christensen of the reality star’s split-open bright red shirt.

Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough: It was perfect 10s for Grey and her black lace dress over nude mesh, which was Christensen’s (and StyleList’s) favorite look of the night. “Argentine tango screams black lace and skin!” he says.

Grey’s decision to drop fishnet stockings from her costume and instead show tanned legs with nude heels was supported by the designer, who says it enhanced the look. “Jennifer was smoking hot… and I’m still reeling from the performance.” The slight flounce at the hemline (included after her Oct. 8 fitting) “only added to the intense footwork and flicks she did.”

While we’re on the subject costumes and for something related, you can see some of the dancers and celebrities getting ready in Make-Up for the first three weeks at this LINK at Facebook. No doubt this has to an interesting process and a lengthy and maybe stressful one at that at times? I remember when Margaret Cho tweeted how stressful it was and how you could cut the tension with a knife.

Also, here is Hollywood makeup artist Joanna Schlip giving helpful tips on Access Hollywood for how you can get Audrina Patridge’s shimmering look on the show.

So, which couple did you think looked the most amazing this week? Along with your comments, be sure to vote in the Poll below too (special thanks to CK410 for the Poll idea last week). Let us know in comments for which costume you liked the least as well.

My favorite for costumes: It’s so close between Audrina and Tony and Jennifer and Derek. Both were so breathtaking. But, I’m giving my vote to Derek and Jennifer. Did anyone else love Derek’s shoes too like I did?
My Least favorite for costumes: Mark and Bristol. As soon as she stepped on stage, I was like “What the ???” Same with every week so far. I wish someone else would seriously help them in this department. If she would have worn a really sexy, gorgeous, jaw dropping dress, it might have helped their package?

October 13, 2010 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.