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Taylor Swift is filled with “red” — or as the singer would describe the color — emotions.
With this week’s four sold-out shows at Staples Center for the Red Tour, the singer is getting much love from her fans in L.A. The concert’s theatrical production — from old school Hollywood glamour to a cast of dancers in stilts — has lit up Swift’s well-choreographed performances.
To help the 23-year-old’s love stories come to life on stage, Emmy-award winning costume and wardrobe designer Marina Toybina tells The Hollywood Reporter how she prepped for the show and the inspiration behind the designs. Toybina, who has designed for The X-Factor, and Katy Perry‘s and Carrie Underwood‘s tours, recently received an Emmy award on Aug. 14 for her costume designs for Swift’s opening number at this year’s Grammy Awards.
The Hollywood Reporter: Some of the costumes for Taylor’s tour looked like they required so much detail, especially the white Victorian dress she wore while performing “I Knew You Were Trouble.” How much work went into creating those more elaborate pieces?
Marina Toybina: Like any design project, you have certain stages of artistry that must be obtained in order to accomplish the unexpected. For me, production details, choreography, conceptual staging and of course, Taylor’s vision was key.
Once Taylor created her set list for the tour and the choreography was discussed, the design process was in full effect to incorporate Taylor’s ideas. After my designs were approved, sketches locked in and fabrics chosen, Taylor’s feedback was integrated with details tweaked. Draping, sewing, creating and handcrafting became beyond a full time job. It took my team and me a little over three weeks to put the entire tour together–difficult, but not impossible. The fittings went successfully, dress runs were exciting and then, it was showtime!
THR: What would you say was the inspiration behind all the outfits?
Toybina: Taylor’s songs, as well as our passion, art and individuality. It is the fire inside all of us that keeps the mind believing and the heart beating. My goal was to make sure each design told its own story and could serve as a visually, beautiful extension to Taylor’s stage presence.
THR: Considering that there were so many wardrobe changes throughout the show, what was challenging about designing 128 pieces–23 for Taylor and 103 for the dancers?
Toybina: Developing a show is a fluid process, so you have to be ready to roll with deadlines and creative changes. Adapting to wardrobe changes/alterations during tour rehearsals is not always easy or practical, but you get it done and you sleep after it’s all over.
THR: Hopefully you’re getting some rest now. What was your favorite moment working on the Red Tour?
Toybina: [Watching] the opening night [in Omaha, Neb.]. Nothing could be more rewarding than seeing your own work, alongside all the other beautiful masterminds, come alive. Designing is like a puzzle. As you build your art piece by piece, the determination starts evolving into its own masterpiece. It’s a feeling like no other.
See photos of Toybina designing for one of Swift’s costumes, below.
Photos courtesy of Lexicon Public Relations
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