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April 16 2014

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3 posts tagged "Michael Schmidt"

Diamond Girl: Behind the Scenes of Rihanna’s World Tour Wardrobe

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When your world tour is called Diamonds, the wardrobe had better sparkle. Luckily, Rihanna had stylist Mel Ottenberg on hand to ensure that her looks do just that. Featuring a total of—count ‘em—seven costumes, each of which was custom made by a megawatt designer (think Riccardo Tisci, Raf Simons, Alber Elbaz, and Adam Selman—Rihanna’s River Island collaborator), the pop star’s onstage wares boast everything from holographs to “orgy” embroidery (courtesy of Givenchy, naturally). “The most amazing thing about Rihanna is what a chameleon she is,” said Ottenberg, who’s worked with Riri for two years. “She’s always up for something new. She’s fearless, she knows what she likes, and it’s fun to see which ideas she’ll jump for.”

The Diamonds lineup begins with a bespoke black Givenchy Couture cape, embroidered coat, shorts, bra, and boots, and ends with a shimmering tailor-made Lanvin jumpsuit. “Riccardo blew it out of the park,” said Ottenberg. “And Givenchy went above and beyond with the level of customization, and dealing with all the pop-world craziness.” (Adding to said craziness was the fact that the entire wardrobe had to be put together in the middle of fashion week.) “And with Lanvin, I knew that, more than anybody, [Alber] would just murder a strong sparkly look to work with the idea of Diamonds.” Each outfit, Ottenberg tells us, plays off creative director Willo Perron’s multi-themed tour concept. For instance, one section, during which Rihanna sings “Rude Boy” and “Man Down,” has a hip-hop-cum-dance-hall vibe. This is where Raf Simons’ graphic oversize T-shirt dress (which is worn with Louboutin boots and a Michael Schmidt nameplate necklace) comes in. For a more rock ‘n’ roll section, Selman created a red-and-yellow leather bra and pants ensemble that’s finished off with white Manolo Blahnik boots. “It was eighties David Lee Roth bouncing around on stage mixed with a sleek Lamborghini/Ferrari situation,” Ottenberg laughs. And Selman’s much-talked-about holographic money-print dress and coat—which Rihanna wears during a rave portion of the show—actually began with a pair of Pierre Hardy sneakers made just for the tour. “The whole thing is very Thug Life Tupac mixed with nineties candy raver,” Ottenberg explained. Forget the music (well no, don’t—it’s pretty great). Rihanna’s tour is a sartorial odyssey not to be missed.

Click for a slideshow of performance snaps and exclusive sketches by Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci, Dior’s Raf Simons, Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz, and Adam Selman.

Dita in 3-D

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“I can get out of a lot of things, but this dress is not one of them,” said burlesque star Dita Von Teese of the gown she donned to last night’s party at the Ace Hotel. The dress in question was the first fully articulated 3-D printed garment, which was conceptualized by designer Michael Schmidt. And the party, which drew the likes of Debbie Harry, Bob Gruen, and Andrej Pejic, served to toast its unveiling. “I was interested in finding the middle ground between the world of mathematics and the world of ephemeral beauty,” Schmidt told Style.com. The L.A.-based designer, who has crafted looks for stars like Madonna, Cher, and Lady Gaga (the latter wore his glass-bubble costume on the cover of Rolling Stone in 2009), conceived Von Teese’s frock with Fibonacci’s Golden Ratio in mind.

With the help of computational designer and architect Francis Bitonti, Schmidt used 3-D software to realize his space-age gown (think cinched waist and steroidal shoulders). The dress began as a digital rendering, which was then engineered in powdered nylon by high-tech collaborator Shapeways. “As an architect, it’s all about dealing with facades, and this was just about making a curvy one,” mused Bitonti. The body-skimming dress featured an undulating mesh silhouette of three thousand articulated joints fashioned out of layered nylon powder. As if that weren’t complicated enough, it also boasted twelve thousand Swarovski black crystals, which were painstakingly placed by hand after printing. “It’s obviously very futuristic, but I tried to retain a level of old-world glamour that was befitting of Dita,” added Schmidt. Indeed, the Blade Runner-meets-Bettie Page ensemble was worthy of the millennial pinup. “It’s superlight,” Von Teese mused later that evening after slipping into a demure Roland Mouret shift. But was it comfortable? “The only uncomfortable part is that I needed to be very cautious about how I walked. I had to make sure my heels wouldn’t get stuck in the hem.” Even in the future, glamour’s got its obstacles.

Photo: Jeff Meltz

Meet The Man Behind The Sequins

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Fergie took the stage last night on American Idol in a spangled bodysuit fit for a particularly glamorous superhero. Routinely topping the Top 40 charts has its perks. But ask us, and the real superhero is the guy who painstakingly crafted the damn thing: the undersung costume designer and stylist Michael Schmidt, the go-to for celebrities looking for a few (thousand) scales, sequins, and sparkles. Fergie’s Idol suit and boots are covered in 8,500 metal scales and Swarovski crystals, each one hand-sewn. The process took three months. But no sweat for Schmidt, whose clientele (Madonna, Cher, Dolly, Janet—the glitteriest of the glitterphiles) routinely go to him for showstopping couture. Not that it’s all girls. Schmidt also designed a rope-knot sculpture for the Palm Springs branch of the Ace Hotel in 2009, and the VIP rooms of NYC’s Palladium club, where he installed black leather floors and hand-studded them in silver—spelling out in Braille (why not?) the lyrics to Iggy Pop’s “Nightclubbing.”

Photo: Vince Bucci / PictureGroup / FOX / AP Photo