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DWTS Season 12: Week 9 Costume Critique

Posted by Deborah Nelson on Mon, May 23, 2011 @ 09:05 AM

© Deborah J. Nelson/Satin Stitches Ltd.

How many costumes do you think the costume department has created, so far this season for Dancing With the Stars? It has to be HUNDREDS and hundreds! As I watched this week’s shows, I marveled at their creativity! Have you noticed much duplication? It’s incredible that they can continue to churn out scores of new and exciting costumes each week!

DWTS Season 12, Week 9 Group Photo

If I lived in Los Angeles, I would LOVE to be on the design/drape/pattern/cut/sew/embellish team with such high-profile deadlines each week! I thrive on deadlines, as I assume their costume department does.

This week I felt that there were only ‘winning’ costumes, with no ‘losers’. I scored all the costumes with at least an 8-out-of-10 mark, with several 9’s and one 10. No duds, this week!

My 10-out-of-10 goes to Kirstie’s reprise costume (one of the rare, nearly duplicate costumes of the show) from Week 1. She closed out the show this week, wearing a purple dress that only differed in color from her first costume (which I LOVED, by the way – perhaps others did, as well?) It was a scoop-necked dress that skimmed over her mid-section and hips and flared out, slightly, at the hemline, dipping longer in the back. It was a perfect dress for Kirstie. The neckline featured extra rhinestoning to call attention to her face, and single strands of beaded fringe and additional rhinestoning were added near the hemline. The fringe added movement and draws your eye down to Kirstie’s legs, and away from her more ‘problem’ areas of her figure. These ‘problem’ areas have really disappeared – have you noticed? The real straps allow for proper foundation garments to keep her silhouette totally smooth. Maks wore another of his ‘shrunken’ tuxedos, with sleeves pushed up to his elbows, and surprise!…no shirt. He coordinated with Kirstie but did not outshine her.

My main disappointment this week, was too many of those ‘nude’ toned elastics on many of the costumes. It is a design cop-out and it takes away from the classiness of a costume design. It can turn a style from a gown to a ‘costume’. I won’t say that ‘nude’ toned elastic is NEVER a good idea, but most of the time, a decorative strap or band can ENHANCE a dance costume design.

And speaking of enhanced designs, Brooke looked FABULOUS this week in BOTH of her gowns. I loved both looks for her. Congratulations on 2 for 2!

Ralph and Karina started off the show, dancing an Argentine Tango. Ralph was dapper in his black velvet suit with black satin lapels and tuxedo pant side-stripes. He also donned black accessories and a bright red shirt. This was an outfit that ANY guy could wear, no matter what size or age.

Karina was channeling the 1940’s with her red HOT, tight slinky dress. Her feathered hat, gloves and bracelets were welcome additions to her costume. I LOVED the front drape of her asymmetrical dress, complete with a glitzy black belt at her waistline. The only thing I didn’t love, was the excessive bare-naked skin below the belt. Fill in that area, creating a more modest dress and many women would look great in her design.

Kirstie and Maks dance the Viennese Waltz. Maks again, coordinated, but did not totally ‘match’ or outshine his partner. He wore a gray vest and trousers with a silver charmeuse shirt. With a good tailor, any guy could look great in this dance outfit, too.

Kirstie wore a ‘pretty’ dress – it was a pastel aqua and silver satin charmeuse. I would have preferred a slightly darker or brighter color for her and the entire gown of the same color. Light and shiny fabrics are not the best, for camouflaging a larger body. It’s best to do one or the other – light OR shiny, but not both, as the combination makes you look larger. The silhouette however, was perfect for Kirstie’s body type. The sunburst pleated skirt with horsehair hemline floated over her hips. The bodice had a very nice, flattering neckline with the white scalloped lace detailing – framing her décolletage. The rhinestoning accented her upper bodice and ¾ length sleeves. The cummerbund shaping is a great way to show off a proportionally small waistline. The flaw on this costume? If you noticed the view of her back, you unfortunately saw some rolls, most likely caused by a tight bra, instead of an all-in-one shaper. If smoothing out support is NOT built into a dress – then the proper undergarments need to be enlisted for a no-rolls, totally smooth look.

Mark wore a subdued (except for his silly spats) tuxedo ensemble for his and Chelsea’s Argentine Tango performance. His traditional black suit with white pin-tucked shirt was accented with a proper black tie and red flower boutonniere. His jacket had droopy, exaggerated shoulders, that not all ages and body types can wear.

Chelsea was exquisite in her white stretch lace costume (lined with nude). I loved the double diamond look, with her beautiful back (with the diamond shape) accented with the high collar and sleeves. Then the hemline of her tight skirt created a diamond shape, with the high slit on her thigh being the top of the diamond. The red flower accent seemed too large and 3-dimensional, to me. I’d have flattened it out and made it smaller.

Kym’s white Argentine Tango costume was totally different from Chelsea’s. Her costume had some rhinestoned glitz, but was mostly decorated with white pearls, of all different sizes and shapes. It also had a beautiful silhouette, but with those nasty ‘nude’ toned elastic straps (that didn’t do their job, as there was a ‘costume malfunction’ that revealed a stick-on, modesty product). There were no ‘nude’ toned elastic straps or malfunctions with Chelsea’s costume!

The base of Kym’s costume was also ‘nude’ toned. There were hand placed strands of beaded fringe on the lower section of her costume, which kept the silhouette slim, but added lots of great movement that enhanced her dancing.

Hines was wearing a regular black jacket and trousers, a regular black shirt, with a regular white necktie, and black Fedora. Need I say more?

For the Latin dance part of the show, the costumes were not as beautiful as for the Ballroom portion of the show. Ralph was cute in his sleazy brown satin shirted, Salsa outfit, complete with Mafia pinstriped pants and lots of ‘Jersey’ chains and white ‘wife-beater’ T-shirt, and leopard printed collar. Karina was suitably slutty in her tight leopard printed ‘catsuit’ with red, stoned brassiere. The hand-placed beaded fringe added lots of movement to their gyrations! Their outfits were great – so fun!

Kirstie and Maks danced the Paso Doble. Maks wore a sheer black shirt with pin-tucked open front, black cummerbund and trousers. Ooh la la! Kirstie looked fabulous in her all black ‘show girl’ costume with leggings. Her satin corset-look bodice with fun neckline ruffles was rhinestoned. There was a hint of purple to give a subtle pop of color (some bracelets and an under layer of the neckline tulle ruffles). The front skirt drape with back skirt was flattering and with the addition of the leggings increasing the camouflage of Kirstie’s hips and thighs, and giving a real ‘edge’ to the costume. I LOVED it!

Chelsea and Mark danced a sensuous Rhumba, in pastel pink and either lavender or silver-gray – I wasn’t sure, different monitors showed different colors. The dolman-sleeved drape was rhinestoned chiffon, worn over an encrusted bra-top. The draped skirt was double-georgette, which isn’t as sheer. It was more of a tailored look, and worked nicely for her. Mark wore a matching georgette shirt that was worn open, as it was cut to hang – it wasn’t cut to close. It matched the tailored, sexy look of Chelsea’s costume.

Hines was totally boring again, in his bright red satin shirt, to coordinate with Kym’s ruffled Salsa Costume. I enjoyed the yellow-to-orange-to-red organza ruffles. This color progression is one of my favorite color combinations! The horizontal lines of her ‘ruffle-butt’ skirt should only be worn on a slim figure. The added width would overpower and extend wide hips. On Kym, of course it looked great. The top mimicked the skirt ruffles but created lots of diagonal design lines. The dyed-to-match orange lace was a pretty accent on her bra-top and dance brief. A pretty, and effective Salsa Costume, if you have the figure for it.

DWTS Season 12, Week 9 Group Photo

Oooooh, and then Hines changes to an apple green shirt (and black pants)! Luckily Kym looked fabulous in her Cha Cha Challenge costume. REAL halter AND back straps were nice and solid (no slipping or stretching out of place for these). The not-too-long fringe still showed her stunning shape, and the diagonal lines of her costume were very pleasing to the eye. I loved the embellishment and simple bracelet accessories. Nice costumes!

Karina and Ralph stayed with their brown color palate, with black pinstripes for Ralph. Karina’s brown, rhinestoned boyfriend jacket covered her simple black leotard underneath. Both were simple costumes, that can easily be pulled together for those new to costuming. Both jackets were lined in yellow-the color of Ralph’s shirt. That’s the give-away. You know men’s apparel is custom, when the lining matches a skirt or dress, not just the color of the outside of the jacket.

Mark was back to his high-water pants to show off teal sox and so he could wear his spats again. Oh well….Chelsea’s costume looked a little weird, when she stood still, but looked great when she began to dance. The cross-over vertical fringe drapes were odd. The very short skirt was made of ruffles that reminded me of current bridal and evening skirt details. They didn’t seem to move, and they simulated large peony flowers. Not a great look for someone with full hips, but perfect for skinny-mini Chelsea! Mark wore a scarf under the jacket, to pull in the color, but why was it necessary? Then he took off his jacket for the final dance. I didn’t enjoy the raggedly cut off tux shirt sleeves.

Satin Stitches Stevie Nicks Inspired Wedding Dress

My ‘ah-ha’ moment was in the Results show with Stevie Nicks performing. She has always been known for her distinctive look.Stevie Nicks Performs on Dancing With The Stars Years ago, at Satin Stitches, we created a couple of wedding dress looks, based on her style. Lace, leather and chiffon were ‘her’ fabrics. Long sleeves, a skirt peplum and filmy uneven hemlines was her silhouette. Another Stevie Nick’s moment was on American Idol with Haley singing an incredible rendition of a Stevie song, this week.

It’s always fun to see fashions (and music) recycle, so I dug out a photo from years gone by – to compare with Stevie’s performance costume this week. What do you think? This was a duplicate of an actual wedding dress that we created, shown on a Satin Stitches employee/model. (Nora loved this outfit’s silhouette so much that we then adapted it for her recent wedding and then we dyed it for another event for her.)

Great fashion silhouettes never die – they just reappear in a slightly different form, over and over again!


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