Our Blog

DWTS-Season 11: Week 10 Finals Costume Critique

Posted by Deborah Nelson on Wed, Nov 24, 2010 @ 11:11 AM

© Deborah J. Nelson/Satin Stitches Ltd.

I tuned it for the finals, wondering what Brooke was going to wear this week, and was under-whelmed to see that she was wearing a long gown made out of silver squiggled, mini-sequins on white fabric. This fabric was a great performance fabric, but not really a refined, glamorous gown fabric (in my opinion). I finally saw a full-dress shot, and thank goodness her dress had an interesting hemline! BUT, unfortunately, 95% of her shots show her only down to her hips. And this dress was just too PLAIN-JANE for those close-ups!

Dancing with the Stars Season 11 Week 10 Costume Critique

On to the competition! First of all, all three couples performed their ‘Redemption Dance’ which was a chance to show the judges (and the audience) that they could do a decent performance with their worst dance performance of the season. Of course they all did well!

We got a glimpse of all of their costumes, at the beginning of the show. There were two black-themed looks and a baby-blue couple. Can you guess who was our baby blue darling?

I LOVED Kyle in his dashing gold lame, window-pane plaid dinner jacket with its black vertical banding, positioned on one side of the jacket, with black pocket and lapels. Worn with traditional black tuxedo pants, black tie and white shirt, his outfit was oh, so suave! The bright, larger-than-life plaid pattern suited Kyle’s exuberant personality!

And Lacey – I LOVED her gown! It coordinated beautifully with Kyle’s outfit, for a youthful and edgy Fox Trot ensemble. It moved well, coordinating black chiffon panels over a liquid gold, tissue lame under-skirt. The sliced out sections on her rhinestone-studded bodice were filled in with nude fabric only noticed when studied, up-close (the best option for nude fabrics in a costume). The 3-D asymmetrical neckline was beautiful, except for the orange-toned ‘nude’ elastic straps. I’d have pulled in spaghetti gold lame straps for a more elegant finish. As a pair, Kyle and Lacey were beautifully matched and very elegant! Bravo!

For REAL ballroom and studio costumes, if you incorporate nude straps and fabric sections, it is generally OK, if it looks good from ‘performance distance’. The difference on this show, is the constant use of close-up camera shots. They bring those nasty, annoying structural trappings right into our living rooms. And if you have been reading my blogs, you know that I would MUCH prefer a pretty strap or fabric section to be seen, during these close-ups. And it can be done – it’s a matter of design!

A visual reference – a beautiful bride walking down the aisle – would you really like to see a nude-toned bra-strap across the back of her low-cut wedding dress? I THINK NOT. In my opinion, the same principle applies here! If you need support for your costume – use decorated straps that enhance the design instead of straps that we are supposed to visually ignore.

Bristol and Mark had no where to go, but up, with a re-dance of their Jive – with Bristol originally dressed as gorilla! For their Redemption Dance, they dropped the animal costume and Bristol turned in her bubble-gum pink dress for their baby blue costumes, which were encrusted with matching blue rhinestones.

On my television screen, Mark’s blue jacket didn’t quite match Bristol’s blue dress. That’s what can happen when you don’t use the same exact fabric – they might look the same, or oh-so-close under certain lights, but under other lights (or different television cameras) they don’t match. It is better to choose coordinating fabrics that you know don’t match, rather than choose fabrics that ALMOST match. The almost matching is visually bothersome, where let’s say – a light and a medium blue can look great with no one thinking they were suppose to be the same, but without success.So if you can’t match perfectly, don’t try to ‘almost’ match.

Dancing with the Stars Season 11 Week 10 Costume Critique

Bristol’s cap-sleeved, scoop-necked T-shirt was modest and seemed to suit her style. Her Jive skirt matched her top, with several frilly blue and white layers with wired hems, for very stiff apple-peel ruffling. Once again, Bristol added her signature wide white, rhinestoned belt, to accent her costume, along with some bracelets and blue rhinestoned tennis shoes.

Mark wore his requisite short black pants, dorky black bow-tie and white shirt with his rhinestone-studded baby blue dinner jacket and sox. It seems to be his ‘uniform’ for any Jive or similarly themed dance. Not real creative, but it works!

Jennifer and Derek wore black, and at first glance, their outfits seemed really boring. But looking closer, they became more interesting. Jennifer had seemed to go ‘Bristol’ with long sleeves, high collar and full-length skirt. BUT, once she turned around, she displayed a deeply cut-out back, with black straps criss-crossing from the collar to the very low back. It was done very nicely, and was a nice contrast to the chest showing on Derek’s costume – with his Matador jacket (yes, it was for their Paso Doble Redemption Dance!) sans a shirt. So, when watching the pair dance, you saw one or the other with skin showing, in contrast to the solid blacks of their costumes. In the high school dance team world, this would be referred to as a ‘front-to-back color change’ – but with using skin.

For the sake of the Paso Doble, a black satin over-skirt with red at the center front, was incorporated into Jennifer’s look. It was there to be ripped off and used as a cape for a couple of beats of the music. This seemed unnecessary to me, but can be a nice effect, or costume trick, for a performance.

Derek’s jacket, though all black, had lots of detail on it, when you viewed it close-up. It had epaulettes and faux front closures, along with some passamenterie braid on the sleeves. I’m happy to say that I’m thrilled with the show’s costume designers deciding to ditch the hokey trimmed Matador outfits of previous seasons. I like the modernized versions with minimal trimming.

Their outfits were classy, sophisticated, and elegant. Did I LOVE them? No – but they were nice. They just didn’t have the spark that Kyle and Lacey’s gold and black costumes had.

Next – the Free Style round. Kyle and Lacey started off with a very high-energy ‘old school hip-hop’ routine, as Carrie Ann described it. The couple dressed very ‘juvenile’ with simple lime green and yellow striped fabric and denim shorts. Colorful caps, sox and shoes completed their look. It was very child-like and wasn’t a favorite of mine, but it suited Kyle, his style and personality, and this dance performance.

Bristol and Mark did their Free Style to music from the movie/musical ‘Chicago’. I was surprised to hear that Bristol had never been to a Broadway show or had not seen the movie Chicago, or even HEARD of it. Wow. But I suppose she might be surprised to hear that I’ve never ice fished or deer-hunted, right? I guess we all have our own interests and hobbies. I’ll stick to loving Broadway shows and movie musicals, thank you!

Bristol looked chic in her all black (yes, AGAIN!) outfit with high collar and long, sheer lace sleeves. It was modest, but sexy. I would like to say that you CAN be covered and still be sexy – appropriately sexy – not trashy/sexy. I wish more ballroom dancers and youth studio dancers would realize this. You have to work at it, but it can be achieved.

The boots she wore, added toughness to her look. All the rhinestones and beaded fringe added just enough glitz! Mark wore a dapper black tuxedo with what looked like black velvet trim. They were a stylish pair.

Dancing with the Stars Season 11 Week 10 Costume CritiqueJennifer channeled her Dirty Dancing with her Free Style performance. She started with a pink and white flowered dress with sweater, which Derek ripped off her, with gusto! Derek stayed simple, with a minimally-rhinestone accented white T-shirt and plain blue jeans.

Jennifer’s under-covered costume looked raspberry or lavender on my television screen. In any case, it was a sort of hot pink. The off-the-shoulder short sleeves with a low-cut top was attached to the flippy little skirt, with a middle-connect, nude mesh piece. It wasn’t noticeable for most of their dance performance, but when they stood still, you saw it. I wasn’t sure if it was to keep the outfit from falling off or becoming discombobulated or if it was to hide some older, possibly wrinkly skin. This and the orange-nude elastic straps took away from the look of the outfit.

If I could pretend that I didn’t see these parts of the costume, I could say that the outfit was really attractive, beautifully stoned, and that I really LOVED it. I guess I think it was the later option, and was preferred, by Jennifer, to covering up more. To me, this wasn’t the best choice. Close-up, the nude mesh section, just wasn’t attractive. What would I have done? I would have made the entire midriff section – a mesh and made it part of the costume.

Watching the finale, last night, the red and black outfits at the beginning were all really nice. It seemed like a long time since we’ve seen all the voted off STARS from this season! And Brooke’s gown was MUCH better, suiting her style. Her midriff cut-out, accented with green rhinestones provided a perfect focal point on her black dress.

All the gold costumes for the Burlesque performance were great. They showcased Christina admirably. After seeing this performance and another on the American Music Awards on Sunday night and all the movie trailers, I am so psyched to see the movie! I have been a fan of Cher for DECADES, so what could be better? I know the costuming is top-notch, and I’m hoping the dancing, singing and plot are wonderful, too!

For the rest of the entertainment last night, well, The Hoff was ‘interesting’…and oh my, some weird looking sports-inspired outfits for Rick and Kurt. The guys ‘jersey’ tops were OK, but the lady’s dance duds were STRANGE. Of course with actually costuming NBA and NFL arena dancers, I guess I’m just used to the real look of arena dancers!

Then Margaret reprised her rainbow-fringed costume, this time with jewel-encrusted tatoos (and thankfully just a blue shirt on Louis!). And then Florence came out in a YELLOW costume. Definitely YELLOW! But the yellow-and-orange ostrich feathers were INCREDIBLE – over-the-top beautiful! These were Vegas Show-girl quality feathers.

For the last set of dances for this season, the costuming for the STARS was a let-down for me. I guess I have to say it was ‘interesting’. For the ‘Instant Cha-Cha-Challenge’, my husband asked what Lacey’s outfit was all about. My answer? Over-done.

There was WAY TOO MUCH going on! I can’t even talk about it – what a MESS. Distractingly ugly. And Jennifer and Bristol? Who ever thought that fringe all down both legs AND the torso, was a good thing? I repeat – Over-done. Bristol’s signature wide belt and Jennifer’s nude-mesh torso piece didn’t add anything positive to their costumes’ designs.

Jennifer’s costume had potential, but it seemed that the costume designers had just gotten tired, and had a big supply of fringe on their supplies shelf, that they felt they needed to use up. And they must have had some left-over black patterned lace that they decided to cover Lacey in from neck to ankle! Well, let’s hope the show’s costumers rest up for next season, and are able to start fresh with new and attractive costumes for the next set of STARS and professional dancers. I’ll be ready!


We would love
to see your
costume photos!

Send Photo!
Visit Satin Stitches on Instagram Visit Satin Stitches on Facebook Visit Satin Stitches on Twitter Visit Satin Stitches on YouTube Stay up to date with Satin Stitches

Latest Posts

MN Dancer Blog

Satin Stitche's Deborah Monthly Column in Minnesota Dancer