Dancer Sharna Burgess and actor/comedian Andy Dick. Photo credit: (ABC/Adam Taylor).

“Dancing with the Stars”

April 5, 2013

For Costume Designers Steven Lee and Daniela Gschwendtner, preparation is key when designing for a show like ABC’s hit “Dancing with the Stars.”

“We basically learned on the job,” Lee says. “Like any show, there is a lot of research on the subject and growing with the production.”

Every costume is custom made, fitted and altered to both the dancer’s and celebrity’s bodies. Lee and Gschwendtner have to work on a fast deadline as the costume choices and selections that they make for each dance are strongly influenced by the song and the mood as well as the individual celebrity’s personality and body type. With new songs and dances every week, it means quick turnarounds and creative concepts on the fly!

This season, the show seems to be taking a different direction—away from the traditional ballroom look and towards a more “music video-inspired,” stylized feel. With new professional dancers from shows like “So You Think You Can Dance,” the looks are becoming markedly more creative, modern and edgy.

“As a show, [“Dancing with the Stars”] continues to grow, and is transforming more and more. Lately we have a lot of themes, so it heavily affects the look we create,” Lee and Gschwendtner explain.

One look that reinforces this transformation and evolution is the “Mad Hatter-inspired” costumes that Lee and Gschwendtner designed for Andy Dick and his dance partner, Sharna Burgess. For Sharna’s skirt, the team had to build a crinoline and make sure that it was constructed in a way so that it would still allow for movement and would not get in the way of her dancing. When it came to Andy’s bold striped pants, it was a bit tricky to find just the right print. Thankfully, the on-set tailor used Lycra and was able to sew in a lining for additional support. The end result is so spot-on, there is no mistaking the theme.

“Dancing with the Stars” airs live every Monday at 8pm/7pm c and Tuesday at 9pm/8pm c on ABC.


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