Friday, September 21, 2012

PR: Kick It!

The Rockettes, y'all.  In silver heels. 
The designers' job is to make a costume for these ladies.  This is huge.  Naturally, the director/choreographer is there to give some guidance.  The costume has to be wearable year-round, has to be special, has to be contemporary, and has to read well from the nosebleed section.  And some spandex wouldn't hurt.  the designers get to examine some previous costumes...they get to TOUCH them.  That alone would be enough for me! 
At Mood, we have more than the usual fracas.  Picking danceable fabric is tricky, no question.  We saw that with, for instance, the Sasha Cohen challenge.  It is also, as Elena found out, more expensive than you'd think. Later, we have a little twist:  More money, another trip to Mood.  Some decide to stay behind, some jump on the bus.  I am interested to see whether those decisions have any effect on the final results.
The workroom is kind of funny this week, at least for a while.  I like it when people get a little funny with feathers and sequins.  Also, "wine is working," according to Dmitry.  So, "Put some glitter on it."
Side note: I am jealous of the rotary cutters these people have.  Mine does not work nearly so well.
Another side note: When Tim entered for critiques, the closed captioning said, "Breezy Music" was playing.  That it was!

Christopher created a New York skyline in silver, with a great deal of beading and sparkly mesh top.  The skirt isn't the greatest, but the top is a stunner.
Dmitry created a dark blue cut-out dress with fringed skirt.  The skirt is immaculate, but the top is a little see-through and the whole look is a bit too dark.
More on these two in a minute.
Elena's look is a disaster.  The fabric was not the cause; Elena couldn't get out of seeing it as a majorette's costume, and so the dress became that.  The skirt here draped poorly and the top fitted strangely also, though it had some merit.  The top in the back had a nice Art Deco thing going on that failed to make it through the rest of the garment.  My eye keeps returning to that skirt, which had no appeal at all.  Elena short-circuited herself here.
Fabio's outfit confused me.  I actually really liked his fabric, and that skirt had something going for it, very swingy and almost pleated looking.  The fabric of the shoulder/neck, though, was hideous.  Too thick, wrong color, and the straps were too thick and ropy over it.  I'm not clear on how someone can look at that fabric and think it would be all right for the sparkly Rockettes.
Melissa did that detached bodice thing again.  I really don't think it would work for a dance costume.  With the sweat, and the constant arm movement, it would ultimately get saggy and mashed up.  I like the graphic blocks Melissa was going for and also the fact that she picked a bright color.  There were, however, construction issues and, really, the hat and fascinator were the best part of the outfit.
Sonjia was going in a great direction with the feathers.  I know some will disagree with me on this, especially since feathers are tricky and also subject to sweat problems, but they are also classic dance girl material.  I admit I am a sucker for feathers, and they were purple!  Fun!  It's the bodice that bothered me.  It was slouchy and too modest for Radio City.  The fabric had potential, but the top ended up looking like an embellished pullover blouse or T-shirt, which is definitely not the Rockette way.
Ven's fabric was actually not bad at all, but his desire for simplicity made itself apparent from the start.  He avoided the origami technique, which was wise for would would become a full set of costumes, but the dress he ultimately produced was pretty, and only that.  There wasn't anything original to it that would make it special, onstage or off.  Ven ultimately goes home for this.

Now, the responses to the top fashions have been a little controversial.  Both would have needed some tweaking.  Some of my PR fellow fans feel that Dmitry's look would have been better from a distance, and Christopher's washed out.  I understand that viewpoint, but there are a couple of factors that make me feel that the right decision was made in giving Christopher the win. 
Dmitry's look is too dark, first and foremost.  It actually makes me think more of what should have happened in the aforementioned Sasha Cohen challenge.  A skater would look beautiful in this.  So would a Latin dancer.  If I were watching a kickline of Rockettes on the stage of Radio City Music Hall, or even my home theater, the Wharton Center, though, this wouldn't thrill me.  I would like to have one, just for fun, but if I were a Rockette (and I have actually danced with one in a workshop), this wouldn't give me the feeling of lift that I would want.  It would actually lower my center of gravity a bit.  I do think Dmitry could have sold this look a bit more with some fancier styling, but as is, it's not enough.
Christopher's look, on the other hand, has that feeling of special.  Yes, the body of the skirt is an issue to tweak, but the dress as a whole is much more on point as a Rockette's costume.  From the balcony of Radio City, yes, you would not necessarily see and recognize the skyline, but you would see some graphic shape and certainly sparkle.  In fact, this dress would look different but still pleasing at many distances.  That's pretty key.  It looks comfortable, it's well fitted, and as a dancer it would make me feel happy.  It also will work for yearround wear.  So, in the Rockettes costume challenge, Christopher's look met the conditions just a bit better.
A friend of mine raised a concern about the size of the Chrysler building for a bustier girl; that, however, is a matter for the costumers to size up as they put the dress into production, just like any garment.  It can be done!  This would be a similar situation to putting a more opaque backing in the top of Dmitry's.  Just something that has to happen to go from runway to stage!


Karen said...

New word of the day: "fascinator." :) Thanks! I'm putting it in my word-pouch, which, of course, I wear on my waist like a cruise ship passenger strolling the avenidas of Puerto Vallarta.

I think you and I saw this one in much the same way. I loved Christopher's look but didn't see it as a perfect choice for the Rockettes because it has more of an up-close appeal, and I would add that the skirt wasn't dancy enough. What a masterful rendering in a short time, though! I was captivated by the movement of Dmitry's look, and I think it would look fabulous on those towering Rockette frames, but the color and fringe say "nighttime" and "salsa" and "sultry" instead of "Hey, let's take the kids to Rockefeller Center for a matinee." They were very close for me.

For Melissa, I think it matters that you have a giant, unintended #1 on the front of your garment. I also thought the skirt was slightly too short. It wasn't a top design for me. I liked both Sanjia's and Fabio's better, but both had problems with the tops.

There's a good interview with Christopher on the PR site. He notes that his fellow designers seemed not to be fully aware of what designing for Rockettes means -- you have to go big, Chrysler Building big. He had good instincts using art deco references and silver. I may be shifting on this one. said...

Very informative and interesting post. Thanks for taking the time to share your view with us.

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