"Dancing With the Stars" costume designer Randall Christensen had a challenge for the show's first ever TV-themed episode: Should he go literal, tossing a "Rachel" wig on singer Brandy for her top-ranked quickstep to the "Friends" theme song or put his own spin on iconic television?
"You want to pay homage to the show," he says, "while at the same time incorporating your sense of style and bringing out the personalities of the couples."
So Christensen made the night's costumes as eclectic as the theme songs the contestants were interpreting. While Florence Henderson wore a true replica of her Mrs. Brady duds to dance to the "Brady Bunch" theme, Christensen also pulled out gorilla suits, bedazzled bikinis, and Marlene Dietrich-inspired gowns.
Christensen gave StyleList a behind-the-seams look at some of the week's best costumes. Come along as we hit the dance floor.
Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough: Grey's retro-fabulous look was both StyleList's and Christensen's favorite. Her "Love and Marriage"-themed fox-trot was a tribute to "Donna Reed/Mrs.Cleaver/Mad Men"-era women and involved a search for a vintage, striped cream-and-avocado fabric "that almost drove me to drink," Christensen confesses.
"My cutter was texting because she was ready to sew and I was still shopping," he says. "But the very last studio I went to had the perfect fabric." Even Betty Draper would smile.
"The challenge was finding ready-made suits in a day because they had to rehearse in them," says Christensen. The designer retro-fit the campy costumes with Velcro so they could be ripped apart mid-dance to reveal Palin's voluminous bright pink skirt "which was everywhere in that suit." The designer's favorite touch? "The adorable rhinestone bananas on Ballas's vest."
Audrina Patridge and Tony Dovolani: The Bongo model's sexy, bedazzled rumba bikini was an ode to the Southern California beach culture that was the backdrop for "The Hills," the show that made her famous. The sparkly pink look was also a nod to the pool where she first met her costume-conscious dance partner. "Tony suggested we go for it," Christensen says of the barely there swimsuit, which was covered slightly with a flowing wrap that "added the sexuality and dramatic touch needed for such a sexy dance and costume."
For more "DWTS" news, read what Jennifer Grey says about her decision not to get Botox for the show.