Not everyone should wear everything; for that we have jeans and T-shirts.
For those whose motto is “Too much is not enough,” though, check out the costumes from “Priscilla Queen of the Desert – The Musical” on the 65th Annual Tony Awards Sunday, June 12, on CBS.
Based on the 1994 movie, with disco classics as the score, this follows two drag queens and a transgender woman across the wilds of Australia.
Maybe, just maybe, it is possible to be a drab drag queen, but why bother?
These costumes are so fab that when the actors walk onstage, the audience cheers for their outrageousness. They raise the question: Is too much ever enough?
“God no!” says Lizzy Gardiner, who, with Tim Chappel, won an Oscar for the movie costumes and in a memorable red-carpet walk, wore a dress made out of gold American Express cards. “Given the chance, we would go further. In all my experience, which is a lot, no, you can never go too far.”
Her favorite costumes in “Priscilla” are the dancing cupcakes. Naturally, these aren’t off the rack.
They employed specialists to sew the more than 500 costumes, including Tricorne in Manhattan, Seamless Costumes in Toronto, and from the U.K., John Sheward and Phil Reynolds. Milliners Lynne Mackey and Rodney Gordon of Manhattan and Sean Barrett of London made the hats.
Though these are professionals, the materials they use are available. Gardiner and Chappel buy from B&J Fabrics, Rosen & Chadick Fabrics, and Spandex House.
Not surprisingly, feathers are scarce due to the risk of avian flu and tougher customs regulations, this show isn’t lacking for them, and they are found at Dersh Feather.
Gardiner says being a drag queen starts with “getting the boobs right. It is really hard. It takes a lot of boob wrangling.”
And whatever shape one takes, that sprinkling of glitter is a must. Be prepared: Glitter is a permanent substance. One can never quite get rid of it.
“Sometimes you can blow your nose, and you blow out glitter,” Gardiner says. “It comes out of my nose, my ears, my eyes.”
Gardiner maintains that some of the looks are not beyond the typically creative drag queen.
“Drag queens are endlessly inspiring,” Gardiner says. “Of course they are brilliant at these sort of things.”
After years of designing for men and women, Gardiner realizes something interesting about the gender difference.
“Men are much better about wearing high heels than women,” she says. “They don’t complain. They go, ‘Higher, higher!’ Working with actresses, they say, ‘These shoes are torture.’ They are Jimmy Choo. Men never say that. Never!”
Rather, Gardiner says, once the guys get their balance, the next question is: “These are fabulous. Can you get them higher?”