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What do Flashdance, Blade Runner, Fight Club, and now Burlesque have in common? Well, the first three have inspired countless designer fashion collections—Alexander McQueen found inspiration in Blade Runner; Donatella Versace and Marc Jacobs in Fight Club, and Flashdance references are pretty much inescapable in the industry—and all four share the same costume designer: one Michael Kaplan. Despite his far-reaching influence in high-fashion, changing the way the world dresses isn't something Kaplan thinks about when he's creating movie looks: "I wouldn't be doing my job if I was thinking about the effect of the movie on fashion. I do what I think is right for the character," he told the LA Times. "I want them to look like they exist in the world."
Kaplan recently spoke to the Times about the looks he created for Burlesque—starring Christina Aguilera and Cher—which is opening next week.
"That's a costume from a number called 'I Am a Good Girl.' I wanted Christina to kind of look like a dessert. There's feathers, there's satin, and she's all pink and peach and adorable. Like some kind of sorbet." "That was one of Cher's working outfits. When she's in the club, she doesn't wear period clothes, she's just Tess running her club, with her beautiful blue-black hair. I wanted Cher to have her own color—and I felt the character Tess should be in black. That was her color. Cher always put her imprint on everything she was wearing. I'd put clothes in her room every day and she'd walk out combining them in a different way than I thought she would. Cher and [her character] Tess are not that unalike—both are show business troupers."
"All of the costumes [in this dance number] have a little bit of surrealism in them, that was kind of my departure point—you could say Magritte from the hat. And other costumes have a little bit of Man Ray. She has beaded hands on her breasts and a set of hands on her butt, so there was some humor, some sexiness. There's also a skirt made of just garter belts that moves wildly [with the] dancer. It was a lot of fun to do that one—it was one of my favorites."
"That's Christina in the finale wearing a costume I made of gold chains. All the costumes, on all the dancers [in this number]—and there were quite a few—were made out of gold chains, all handmade and linked together, link by link. Gold chains and Swarovski crystals.
"I invited Nadja Swarovski to see the finale of the movie. I guess she loved what she saw because she said she was very moved. And a few days later she called and asked me if I would design a line of jewelry for Swarovski, which I just completed."