Pret-a-Reporter

The Costumes of 'Smash'

How designer Molly Maginnis created screen-siren looks that can also shake and shimmy for the new NBC hit.

On Smash, the two Marilyn Monroe wannabes have to do far more than just that famous wiggle. "It's a huge element to make dresses that they can dance in," says costume designer Molly Maginnis of her work on the show, which stars American Idol alum Katharine McPhee and Broadway vet Megan Hilty as actresses vying to star in a musical about the icon.

Attending dance rehearsals is a must for the costumer. "Usually we have the kids come in and put on the costumes and say: 'Dance! Go full out!' so that we can see if something is going to rip," says Maginnis. "You have to know a lot of construction tricks. Do you put a slit in the dress? Do you add godets [a circular section that lets the garment flare]?"

Maginnis confesses she went after the job with the same fervor as a starlet hot for a plum role. "I pursued it madly," says Maginnis, who has worked on Broadway shows, television (Bones) and movies (Broadcast News, Little Fockers).

For this project, Maginnis says she focused on "trying to create our own magic," rather than duplicating outfits. The results range from gorgeously slinky beaded gowns to an intense purple wool-crepe number for an upcoming episode. "I wanted the color to pop, like in the early days of Technicolor," she says. "We must have gone to 40 stores before we found the fabric." Both actresses told Maginnis their costumes helped them find their inner Marilyn: "When you put on a dress that has been constructed to give you an hourglass shape, you feel like Marilyn would have felt. She knew that she had to be uncomfortable to be sexy, to be the ideal woman."

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GET THE LOOK: New Marilyn Monroe makeup line from MAC

Exclusive: mac cosmetics has unveiled plans to launch a limited-edition makeup collection inspired by Monroe's glamorous beauty. The line includes nearly 30 products -- eye shadow, lipstick (think retro red and hot pink), nail lacquer and eyeliner -- and will arrive in stores in October. "Marilyn's an icon, plain and simple. Her look not only defined a generation but also is relevant today," says MAC senior vp James Gager, who sees Monroe's presence everywhere, even 50 years after her death, from Smash to the Oscar-nominated My Week With Marilyn. -- Carol McColgin

 
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