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DWTS Season 23 Finale Costume Critique

Posted by Deborah Nelson on Wed, Nov 23, 2016 @ 13:11 PM


I enjoyed this 23rd season of “Dancing with the Stars”, did you? At the start of every season I’m unfamiliar and unimpressed with the cast lineup. And it seems that every season, I grow to know and love most of the ‘Stars’ (well, nearly all) and truly enjoy hearing their stories and watching their actions on and off the dance floor.

Did we suspect that Laurie and Val would win the ‘Mirror Ball Trophy’? Yes, but it still was a very fun journey. It is always very impressive to see just how many dance costumes are created for the show, for eleven weeks, and especially how many are incredible. Yes, there are some that aren’t up to my standards (as a professional costume/fashion designer who has created thousands and thousands of dance costume designs over the last three+ decades) but WOW, what a fine job the show’s costume designers have done. Bravo! 

I wasn’t blown away by any of this week’s costume designs, but they were definitely all ‘above average’ with no ugly ducklings. I did note that all three “24 hour Fusion Round” costumes were somewhat underwhelming.

Calvin-and-Lindsay-from-the-Satin-Stitches-DWTS-Blog.jpgCalvin and Lindsay started off the Judge’s Redemption Dances with their performance of a Viennese Waltz in very beautiful costumes. Calvin was oh, so dapper in his light pink (or silver gray…it was too difficult to see which color it really was on my monitor and with the show’s lighting) suit. I loved the stoning on his lapels – such an elegant yet glitzy touch that all guys should incorporate into their costuming, in my opinion. Lindsay’s light pink woven, double-georgette gown with multiple skirt layers, and cascading circle ruffles featured on both front and back, at her waistline was frothy and flirty and also very elegant with plenty of rhinestoning.

Jana and Gleb danced a Tango in red and black. Gleb’s black suit had a touch of red rhinestones on his lapels. Jana wore a very simple fluid, tailored dress that was very elegant with minimal rhinestoning (none on her skirt).

Laurie-Val-and-Jana-Gleb-from-the-Satin-Stitches-DWTS-Blog.jpgI loved Laurie’s Paso Doble costume, although my photo of it doesn’t do it justice! I LOVED the 3-D gunmetal-toned lace collar. It really was a stunning focal point on her simple black charmeuse satin dress. Val stayed simple with his black mesh shirt, suspenders and high-rise waisted trousers.


James and Sharna presented a Fox Trot with James playing the ‘nerd’ card and Sharna trying the same (unsuccessfully – she just doesn’t look like a ‘nerd’ to me) with her sexy librarian costume. Gray glen plaid, woven fabric was used for James’ suit and Sharna’s long, full skirt. James’ lapels were oddly trimmed with a plaid, rhinestoned pattern. I enjoyed the sexy lace and rhinestoning touches to Sharna’s blouse and teddy.

The Free Styles are always the highlight of the DWTS Finale, and the four remaining couples didn’t disappoint! Jana and Gleb were beautiful in light aqua chiffon. Her asymmetrical costume was delicately trimmed with turquoise rhinestones. I enjoyed seeing the use of her ‘modified French cut’ legline on her leotard, as this legline is very flattering, as opposed to the retro shorts legline or a semi-vulgar French cut with cheeks showing. Gleb’s sheer shirt consisted of a double layer of chiffon, for a less-sheer look.
Calvin-and-Lindsay-Free-Style-from-the-Satin-Stitches-DWTS-Blog.jpgCalvin and Lindsay danced in more simple, less ‘costumey’ outfits with Calvin in khaki, fresh off the department store shelf-pants, paired with a simple blue shirt and rhinestoned bedazzled red blazer. Lindsay wore a short, cute red dress with big blue bow at her waist, AFTER her costume transformed. I have to say ‘ho hum’ to her transforming dress, as we (here at Satin Stitches) have made about a half dozen of these custom, transforming dresses for high school dance teams in the last few years, with two more in our production schedule, right now! (Yes, we have mastered this transforming concept!)

Laurie and Val also wore minimally ‘costumey’ outfits with Val in a sweater vest, basic shirt and khaki pants. Laurie was a ray of sunlight, in her bright yellow costume which was modest, and featured neckline circle-ruffles and of course the requisite rhinestones.


James and Sharna were elegant and sophisticated in their white costumes. No glitz for James, but minimal glitz for Sharna, with also a metallic silver coating on some of her skirt panels. Beautiful, basic costumes for the pair, that definitely danced well, and were suitable for their theme. 

For the second evening of this season’s Finale, fun black, white, silver and red costumes were created for a Christmas-themed presentation by the entire cast (with Calvin in an off-white suit and Laurie in gold). The Troupe danced a segment with gift-wrapped packages that is similar to choreography that I’ve seen during some High School show choir performances! All in all, ALL the fill-in dance performances gave me a smile, reminding me of our upcoming Christmas season, especially with our newly fallen snow, here in Minnesota.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, all the ’24 Hour Fusion Round’ costumes were somewhat underwhelming, but were lovely, none-the-less. Sharna’s Foxtrot/Viennese costume featured sheer, sun-burst pleating for her skirt, bodice Bridal lace appliques and semi-odd buttons down her back which didn’t create a sophisticated costume, in my opinion. It was a little ‘too much’ with disjointed features. James’ classy tailored silver gray suit featured rhinestoned lapels, as many men’s suits this season have featured.

My favorite costume of this section of the show was Lindsay’s Jive/Quickstep costume with stunning rhinestoning on her asymmetrical stoned, mesh bodice and sleeve, with short ostrich feather fringed skirt in three colors. Calvin wore a tailored, glitzy sport coat with matching stripes on this trousers.

Laurie and Val were golden in their Foxtrot/Argentine Tango costumes. Val’s lame` sport coat reminded me of the 1950’s with its black trim, shirt and trousers. Laurie’s asymmetrical simple, tailored costume featured scrolling applique designs on lined lace. It was attractive except that it seemed a bit short on one side, revealing her attached briefs.

Whew! Visions of glitzy dance costumes are still dancing in my head. Until next season…I’ll share a saying I picked up somewhere: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

Tags: Past Seasons DWTS Costume Critiques


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