Backstage at Crazy Horse Paris: meet the nimble-fingered ladies of the costume department
Their names are Roselyne, Amélie and Céline and they are responsible for the fabulous creations that show the Crazy Girls at their very best. We chatted to these amazing women at work in their studio.
One of the Crazy’s best kept secrets!
How did you come to be making costumes at Crazy Horse Paris?
Roselyne: I have been in charge of the Crazy Horse Paris costume department for 16 years. I had always wanted to work at this legendary club because I like things on a small-scale: grand opera costumes are just not my cup of tea! The materials and techniques are quite different: here at Crazy Horse Paris I work with leather, diamante, beading… it’s very delicate and minutely detailed.
Céline: I joined the team at Crazy Horse Paris permanently after working on a number of the club’s shows. Like Roselyne, I like making things on a small scale and Crazy Horse Paris is a cosy and friendly place to work.
Amélie: Before I became Roselyne’s assistant 8 years ago, I had worked in the fashion industry, including haute couture. What I especially like about Crazy Horse Paris are the techniques, the huge variety of pieces we create and the materials we use. It’s a complete process, with plenty of great projects that require rigour down to the minutest detail.
How do the costumers contribute to the glamour that’s in Crazy Horse Paris DNA?
Roselyne: When you make a costume for Crazy Horse Paris, your aim is always to show the Crazy Girls at their very best. To achieve this, the approach is the complete opposite of a standard costume: you have to explore and highlight the body’s shapes and curves, which means hours of work to produce the perfect result.
What specialist skills do you need in your work at Crazy Horse Paris?
Roselyne: My daily challenge is to find the right concepts and techniques to ensure the outfits are hard-wearing with the minimum of material, as well as chic and beautiful. The movements and dancing in the shows really put the costumes to the test. Comfort is also essential: if the Crazy Girl feels good in her outfit and as if she’s wearing nothing, then we have done our job properly, without leaving anything to chance.
Céline: At Crazy Horse Paris I have really learned how to work with leather: its suppleness requires specific techniques. I think my specialist skills are demonstrated by the costumes themselves, which look so delicate and yet are designed to wear well and to last.
What is it like working with the designers?
Roselyne: It’s a special time, when the designer’s creative vision has to be adapted to the Crazy Horse Paris style. We start with a sketch, moving on to a more finished design used for the prototype. The designer is with us every step of the way, and it’s at this point we see if the costume is right. This artisanal approach is essential: we are creating a fantasy that has to work with the body shape and movements of each dancer.
How long does it take to make a costume?
Roselyne: From the design phase to the point when a costume is worn on stage, it can take anything from a week to several months! And when you’re designing for the group numbers, you are making quite a few: up to twenty dancers may be involved. And each outfit is unique, adapted to the Crazy Girl who wears it.
Each stage outfit requires between 35 and 40 hours’ work. It depends on a number of parameters, principally the availability of materials. The most complex outfits, that take the longest to make, are the ones for the numbers “Attitude”, “U Turn Me On”, and of course “God Save our Bareskin”.
What are the qualities that make a good Crazy Horse Paris costumer?
Roselyne: Crazy Horse Paris is a living world, in constant movement. To get the most out of working here, you have to allow the place and its soul to permeate your spirit, that’s essential! And you must also be able to deal with stress: when the outfit you have created and made is worn on stage for the first time, we all get a knot in our stomach, because it absolutely must not move! But naturally, we focus all our professionalism and minute attention to detail on making sure that never happens.
Amélie: A costumer at Crazy Horse Paris has to be patient, meticulous and precise, and understand what is beyond explanation: the atmosphere, the place, the spirit. And of course they must be completely in tune with Crazy Horse Paris DNA.
Céline: Our daily life is made up of a multitude of little jobs, of details to sort out. You have to be very adaptable and reactive.
Which is your favourite costume?
Roselyne: I rather like the one for the “Glamazones”, designed by Antoine Kruk for the “Désirs” show. This costume transforms the Crazy Girl into a magnificent Amazon: a surprising, striking, very contemporary outfit.
And the outfit that Amélie, Céline and I like best of all, because it’s legendary and because we love making it, is of course the British guardsman costume from the famous opening number “God Save our Bareskin”!
Experience the full impact of our amazing costume department by coming to see our show “Totally Crazy”!
Photo : François Goizé