Costume Design

Katy Perry's Tour Costume Designer Dishes on 'Prismatic' Concert Outfits

Background dancers dressed as walking Egyptians and dancing cats? You can thank Marina Toybina for that.
Katy Perry and her background dancers on the "Prismatic" world tour.
Getty Images

When it comes to wildly colorful costumes, few people know how to make a more jaw-dropping statement than Katy Perry. From her "Birthday" music video, which featured five wacky outfit changes, to wild animals roaming around in the jungle-themed "Roar" video, the pop star is never one to disappoint onscreen or onstage.

With her Prismatic world tour currently traveling through Europe (the first show kicked off May 7 in Belfast, Northern Ireland), Perry and her background dancers' onstage costumes have been as quirky as one would expect -- think walking Egyptians and dancing cats. To help bring the singer's vision to the stage, the tour's costume designer, Marina Toybina, started conceptualizing and executing the designs as early as mid-February.

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"Once the creative concepts and sketches were approved by Katy, the design process began almost immediately," Toybina, who also designed for Taylor Swift's Red tour, tells Pret-a-Reporter. "The prepping and sourcing of proper elements, vendors and materials were in motion even during the conceptual stages."

Perry was involved in every design decision, giving Toybina clear artistic direction of how she wanted her background dancers to dress. "Her creative involvement was daily, down to us deciding together on trims, final prints, specific materials and the color spectrum for any and all digital artwork," says the Emmy-winning costume designer.

So exactly how many costumes did she design? Over 275 -- 80-plus original outfits for the dancers, 170-plus duplicates and 21 one-of-a-kind looks for the band -- were made. For Perry's costume, Toybina designed what she calls "the fish-bone dress," which the performer wears during the "Catoure" part of the show.

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"A majority of the materials ended up being custom fabricated, which included graphically engineering prints, and building original artwork, patterns and designs to mimic the sketches identically," explains Toybina. To ensure all the details had a stage-worthy presence, she worked with printing mills, special effects studios, sewing and costume houses, jewelry makers and digital and electrical and graphic designers.

The concert, which is broken down into six themes -- "Prismatic," "Egyptian," "Catoure," "Acoustic," "Throw Back" and "Hyper Neon" -- also shows Perry wearing designer duds throughout the show including a butterfly-print Valentino Couture gown and Moshino-designed outfit that features a happy face bra and capri leggings with peace sign prints, among more unique pieces.

Before the Prismatic tour heads to the U.S. on June 22 in Raleigh, North Carolina, and makes its way to L.A.'s Staple Center Sept. 19 and 20, check out Toybina's sketches, below.

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