Welcome to FrockTalk, the web’s only costume-based movie review site. The goal of Frocktalk is to shed light on the magnificent artistry of costume design in motion pictures. Reviews on this site are written by working costume designers in the entertainment industry – people who know, better than anyone, what it takes to make it all happen. The focus of FrockTalk is not to comment on the big flashy costume dramas, but to call attention to the seemingly ordinary costume design work in film that silently and persuasively moves the audience toward understanding the characters. Costume design for motion pictures is an art form that deserves more recognition than it usually gets. Fancy, pretty costumes do not always equal effective, appropriate costumes. The art of the costume is in letting the audience know who the character is, before the actor even has a chance to open his mouth. Read on, and enjoy. ** CAUTION: ALL REVIEWS CONTAIN SPOILERS! **

Julie Robar and Kelly Chambers: America’s Best Costume Crew!

Costume Supervisor Julie Robar (L), and Kelly Chambers

ABDC's Costume Supervisor Julie Robar (L), Lizette Kilmer and Kelly Chambers

By Anthony Tran, special correspondent to Frocktalk.com

America’s Best Dance Crew (also known as ABDC) is a dance competition show that airs Thursday nights on MTV. Produced by Randy Jackson, the show pits dance crews from across the nation against each other. The teams battle for the eventual title of “America’s Best Dance Crew”, and a $100,000 grand prize. It’s kind of like American Idol for dance groups. 2010 marks the fifth season of the show, and we caught up with costume supervisor Julie Robar and costumer Kelly Chambers to tell us all about it.

AT: Tell us about “America’s Best Dance Crew”-

JR: Kara Saun is designing. She was on Project Runway. She was a Costume Designer before she was on that show. ABDC is seven days a week. There are people working every single day to get the job done because it’s so involved and so quick – everything is custom made. Kara Saun is really amazing at organizing everybody into a specific job to realize her design vision. Literally in a week. We design in LA at Warner Bros. so it’s a fast-paced show. It feels more like live theater than TV.

KC: We have a dress rehearsal and a shoot date so it is very much like theater.

FT: How much input do the dancers have in terms of their costumes for the show?

JR: I think most of the design vision comes from Kara Saun. Every week there is a theme to the show. She knows what the theme is, but no one else does. So she designs around the theme that the show gives her and everybody just trusts her to go with it.

FT: How do all of those costumes get done in a week?

JR: We have custom-made people (cutter/fitters, stitchers, tailors) who work with us. We don’t send costumes out; we do it in-house. These are actually union people that work on the show. They are there, in the moment, with the fittings. They can immediately restructure and add things – they can make things from scratch, right there.

FT: Tell us about the intricacies of making clothing for dancers –

KC: You adapt normal street clothes a little bit, specifically if they have a tumble or a split.

JR: Yes we deal with things like making sure their pants stay on and hiding kneepads so that they still look fashionable and can dance without splitting their pants. Once the dancers have the costumes on, they are able to say, “I need more room right here.” The custom-made people (cutter/fitters) are able to adjust it right there so the movement happens.

FT: Any advice for the aspiring designer?

JR: Contact as many people as you can on a daily basis. Don’t worry about what people think. Just go for it. If you let anybody’s negativity affect what you want, you’re going to be held back. You just need to go forward and only think about the positive things. Because you’re going to send like 100 resumes or inquiries out there and only 1 person will respond. You just have to know that before you do it.

Thank you Julie and Kelly, for the info and the inspiration! We all look forward to ABDC on Thursday nights!! Good luck with the show!

— AT

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