Period pieces are a personal passion and combining a period piece with the Magical Arts and Artists in The Illusionists has been an enormously pleasing endeavor. Nothing is as it seems... certainly not stage with The Illusionists when they perform at the Palace Theatre on Broadway. It was particularly special because it was in this very theatre where Houdini performed his death defying feats in the early half of the 20th century, and ultimately inspiring us all. Often times a good deal of the magic is in the costumes as well; not only do they have to look the part, they also have to support the artist in a variety of ways depending on their particular brand of magical art.
Photographer Jose Pepe Leon
It’s always the dream to get involved in something big while it’s still just an idea. Circus 1903 is being performed all over the world, but it started out as a concept shoot where the only boundaries were our imagination. An museum quality location, period props, and wonderful performers all made the costumes and in fact the touring show Circus 1903- The Golden Age of Circus come to life.
Creating costumes for a period circus was a dream come true...and so much work I thought I would never get a night’s sleep again! It took a year from concept to completion. It was a process of historical research, mood boards, sketches, world wide fabric sourcing, fabric testing, face aging, overseeing custom built costumes in many states and several countries followed by fittings and rehearsals and an opening. More than 80 unique costumes were created and opened on the stage at the Sydney Opera House in December of 2016. Since then the show has toured the United States in wonderful houses like Los Angeles's Pantages Theatre and enjoyed a 6 month run in Las Vegas's Paris Hotel. As this show continues on it's world tour the costumes remain an integral part of the story of Circus life in 1903.
This project started out as a two day styling job in Las Vegas. Today, seven years later, with 4 tours happening world wide simultaneously, it's turned into an odyssey that has appeared in front of hundreds of thousands people all around the world and has effectively expanded my repertoire to include theatrical costuming specifically for the magical arts.
The Illusionists was the first show to bring grand theatrical magic back to Broadway, London’s West End and the Sydney Opera House. A big show requires strong character costumes for the illusionists, their assistants, the dancers and even the band. Each cast member has a totally unique look and a bespoke costume to match their individual talents.
The Illusionists is currently Broadway's highest grossing magic show in history. It has been playing to packed houses for more than seven years now and I’m still happily supporting and creating for every iteration of this highly successful show.
Experience shows that circus can be the greatest challenge to a costume designer. Not only do you have to make costumes that are beautiful on stage, they have to be beautiful all the way to the back rows, they have to be beautiful in every spectrum of lights, they have to be able to move with the performers and they have to last for thousands of shows. Thankfully six years on, the sequins are still on, and Le Noir is still on stage pleasing audiences everywhere it goes.
Directed by Jesse Dylan
Jason Schwartzman celebrates John Baldesarri for Art Week LA. This assignment was a great experience all around. It was a fun enviornment to work in and the talent kept us in stitches all night.
A short film directed by Albert Uria
A charming short film about realizing that in this life it's Now or Never. With more than 50 festival selections and 5 awards, one going out to Zebedee Row, this project lives up to its promise.
Working in New York is always intense but a lot of fun, especially when limited in time and budget. Many of the cast were senior citizens acting professionals and unusually, we were invited into their homes for the fittings. It made me realize how every day and every person is different in styling and nothing should be taken for granted. It also left me with a tip for all my fellow professionals: No matter how great the giant, unwieldy hot dog costume is...don’t drag it from LA to New York on the plane, send it UPS.
Directed by Stephen Stickler
A Fox Searchlab project inspired by true-life events shot throughout East Los Angeles. The most special thing for me about this project is that I was brought into the circle and educated by cholos in the styling hallmarks of Latino street style in LA. In a lesson for all stylists, they too know it’s not just what you wear, but how you wear it. For them it's all in the nuances of how things fit, how things are pressed, and how items are paired together that set the style. Working on Chuco was definitely a project to remember and even more so now that director Stephen Stickler is no longer with us.
Directed by John X Carey
Some projects are about transforming talent into larger than life characters with hair, make-up and costumes; with Brighter Yesterday it was the opposite. The assignment was to create an intimacy between the subject and the observer by working to make everything else disappear. Wardrobe that doesn't pull focus is an art form in and of itself.
The term "Variety" is just that. The Unbelievable's is a wide variety of acts including a comic, a ventriloquist, a sword swallower, an aerialist, a diva and a band just to name a few. Everyone's act is different and their costumes need to reflect their individual styles. This show also includes world class, competition ballroom dancers which allowed me to delve into the world of costuming for DanceSport which is a marvelous world indeed. Various dance styles included Waltz, Tango, Paso Doble, Charlston, Jive and Lyrical.
The Unbelievable's opened at the Sydney Opera House in December of 2017 and is currently on tour in Australia.
Over the years I have worked on several appearance spots on America's Got Talent but costuming Thommy and Ameile for their journey to 2nd place 2016 was my first time working with contestants. The time lines were short and the tensions were high as we advanced through the real life drama that comes with being an AGT finalist. The project was a great deal of fun and let's face it, not too terribly taxing as everything looks fantastic on Amelie Van Tass.
Adam and I have been working together for several years now. Collaborating on multiple projects and really getting to be there through the evolution of this truly amazingly talented human being has been fantastic.