You Think You’re Under Pressure to Sew

Most of us have been there: There’s a special occasion and we want to make a special outfit. Visions of grandeur and sophistication at the beginning are reduced to finding how to shortcut…maybe even seeing if you can get your NG members to help hem. Or even Cinderella’s mice and bluebird friends.

Well, the next time you feel you’re in a crunch, here’s an article that might make you feel better. Randall Christensen is the designer of the floaty creations on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”

Randall Christensen design for Dancing with the Stars

Black lace and red smooth fabric worn by Stacy Keibler dancing the tango. (Image source: Randall Designs website)

“For Randall Christensen and his wardrobe team at ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” the next 10 weeks are going to be a crystal-encrusted, chiffon-wrapped blur.

“Dancing” is known as much for its dazzling costumes as its disco-ball trophy. Every week, celebrity contestants and their professional partners step out in costumes ranging from glamorous to outrageous; from swingy dresses reminiscent of Ginger Rogers and old Hollywood elegance to skimpy spangled hot pants.

Each outfit is one-of-a-kind, handmade and custom-designed with the dancer’s personality, figure and ability in mind. They’re couture pieces, cut and assembled by veteran costumers and seamstresses from fabrics selected specifically for each performance. Every feather wisp is glued on individually, each rhinestone and sequin carefully sewn on by hand. And the entire episode’s attire is conceived of, styled and stitched into reality in about four days.”

Ummm, did that article say FOUR DAYS?! Ok, even with a team of cutters, seamstresses and embellishing pros, that’s still amazing. Wait, there’s more: “…if it’s gaping somewhere, we have to take that dress off, rip the stones off, put a dart in, re-sew it and re-stone it.” RE-STONE IT? Ok, so now I don’t feel as bad when I need to rip a seam back.

seamstresses work on costumes for the show 'Dancing with the Stars,' backstage at the show's offices in Los Angeles

(AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Read the rest of the article for more interesting tidbits. And to think…they have to fit different body sizes, too. Whew! I think I’m tired already.

Check out Randall Designs Gown Archives, which includes some of the “Dancing With The Stars” dresses.

Yellow beaded bracelets used for costumes

Yellow beaded bracelets used for costumes (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Chicagoan Borris Powell Designs Oscar Dress


Borris Powell Designs Oscar Dress

Designer Borris Powell with his winning Oscar Designer Challenge Dress (Image source: Chicago Now)

Congratulations to Chicago designer Borris Powell! He won the Oscar Designer Dress Challenge. Did you vote for his winning design? Valentino told Borris that he liked Borris’ design — how cool is that?!

Rock The Oscar Vote For Chicago Designers

It’s election time in Chicago. Not the mayoral race, but the Oscar race. More specifically, the Oscars Designer Challenge 2011 where nine up-and-coming designers are vying to have their original gown worn by an Academy Awards escort on the red carpet Oscar night, February 27.

Among the nine designers are three from Chicago! Miriam Cecilia Carlson, James De Colon and Borris Powell.

Miriam Cecilia Carlson Oscar Designer Dress Challenge 2011 James De Colon Oscar Dress Challenge 2011 Borris Powell Oscar Designer Dress Challenge 2011

Rounding out the rest of the competitors are: Angela Avanesyan, Los Angeles; Katelyn Bischof, New York; Octavio Carlin, Los Angeles; Zoe Hong, Oakland, California;  Natalia Romano, Los Angeles; and Clay Sadler, Los Angeles.

To vote, go to the Oscar site, look through the individual designer clips at the bottom of the page and vote for your favorite. Voting is open through 1:59 p.m. Tuesday. So, do the Chicago thing: Vote early and vote often!

The winning design will be announced first during “Oscars Red Carpet Live.”

Also beginning on February 16, “Oscars Designer Challenge: Behind the Dress,” a Web series documenting the competition, will be viewable on daily through February 20.  A recap episode with an interview with the winner will be viewable on February 28.

Previous participants included Chicagoan Maria Pinto.

Image source: L.A. Times Online

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