Author Archives: mcgrewsadmin

About mcgrewsadmin

Big fan of all art forms, systems theories, cultural studies, fantasy and sci-fi, costume and fashion history, monsters, essays, novels, biographies, films, politics and most music.

Barf Pockets

Definitely as awesome as they sound. Sometimes all a costume needs are the final detailed additions-- in this case, new POCKETS! Heroically, two pairs of khaki trousers sacrificed themselves to become the new pockets and dropseat we added to Bill's existing coveralls.  Now he is the essence of "Barf" from Mel Brooks' hilarious Spaceballs film. Thanks, Bill for having us make your new pockets and for sharing your photos. May the schwartz be with you! Photos: Mark Loertscher Photography Bill_Cartmell_as_Spaceballs_Barf1Bill_Cartmell_as_Spaceballs_Barf_2 barf_custom_pockets_spaceballs_cosplay1barf_custom_pockets_spaceballs_cosplay2 barf_custom_pockets_spaceballs_cosplay3barf_custom_pockets_spaceballs_cosplay8barf_custom_pockets_spaceballs_cosplay7barf_custom_pockets_spaceballs_cosplay6barf_custom_pockets_spaceballs_cosplay4          

Custom Pageant Gowns: 16th Century Miss Italy

Custom 16th century dress for the lovely Jami Solveig Cirone, Miss Italy/Miss Multiverse 2015. http://missmultiverse.com/    The pageant's historic/cultural segment showcases the contestants in costumes that pay homage to their national and cultural heritage. This dress we made helps Jami honor hers.     Miss_Italy_Miss_Multiverse_16th_century_custom_gown   The gown has more than 12 yards of burgundy velvet in it plus a number of silks and laces. We cartridge pleated five whole widths of velvet (more than 260" total inches at the waist) onto Jami's teeny 23" waistband. We made two petticoats and a hip roll to develop her incredible silhouette and topped it with a hand embroidered bodice. She has hanging sleeves plus quilted sleeves that lace onto her bodice. Within her bodice we installed quite a number of steel stays, lacing stays and grommets. Our hand detailing on the outside includes numerous brass beads and jewels, freshwater pearls, fabric flowers, lace trimmings plus exquisite custom brooches by artist David Powell: @POWELLARTSWORKSHOP on Instagram.   16th_century_costume_sleeve_detail3_miss_italy_multiverse 16th_century_costume_sleeve_stomacher_detail2_miss_italy_multiverse 16th_century_costume_back_miss_italy_multiverse16th_century_costume_sleeve detail1_miss_italy_multiverse Together we looked at many examples of period dresses, hairstyles and ornamentation in museum costume books plus portraits of notable Italian women. 16th_century_costume_references_miss_italy_multiverse   16th_century_costume_front_miss_italy_multiverse David's wax carvings, ready to be cast in bronze. lost_wax_casting_custom_brooches1_16th_century_costume_miss_italy_multiverse Prepped to cast multiples at one time: lost_wax_casting_custom_brooches2_16th_century_costume_miss_italy_multiverse Freshly cast bronze brooches before they are cleaned up and polished. lost_wax_casting_custom_brooches3_16th_century_costume_miss_italy_multiverse Photography session with Simon Blundell:  http://simonfoto.com/ bts_simon_powell_photography_16th_century_costume_miss_italy_multiverse Brilliant hair and makeup by Amber Pearson. http://amberpearson.net/ bts_hair_makeup1_16th_century_costume_miss_italy_multiverse bts_hair_makeup_16th_century_costume_miss_italy_multiverse 16th_century_costume_front4_miss_italy_multiverse On display for a time in the parlour of our Pierpont Avenue location. 16th_century_costume_front3_miss_italy_multiverse  

Incroyables Coat: Rock Star Clothing

Custom tailoring for Douglas Hunter, a Salt Lake music legend and one of PorchFest's founders.  An Incroyables coat in electric blue corduroy with blue leopard fur.
We adore Hunter and the way he looks here in Simon Blundell's photos.
Douglas_Hunter_rock_star_clothing8 Les-Incroyables
Costume historians differ a bit on the subject of the Incroyables, but generally agree that the wild fashion trends of this hipster-punk subculture developed in reaction to the Reign of Terror, 1793–1794, when even aristocrats' servants and others merely associated with aristocrats could be and were being executed.  We are told that the giant lapels, shaggy haircuts, bows and scarves of the Incroyables should be understood as an exaggerated mockery or aping of aristocratic fashion.  Wikipedia reminds us that "Incroyable was an 18th-century French nickname for a yo-yo, then a fashionable toy." The women's (Merveilleuses') fashions spawned even more talk and scandal.
Douglas_Hunter_rock_star_clothing7 Douglas_Hunter_rock_star_clothing6 Douglas_Hunter_rock_star_clothing5 Douglas_Hunter_rock_star_clothing4 Douglas_Hunter_rock_star_clothing3 Douglas_Hunter_rock_star_clothing2 Douglas_Hunter_rock_star_clothing1    

Mini-Me

We tailored a custom suit for Mini-Me. Yes, that Mini Me. Mr. Verne Troyer himself.

 
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Utah computer hardware giant Fusion IO hired Verne to help them announce their new product at a major tech convention, and they wanted him costumed thusly.
 
However, Mr.Troyer did not own a Mini Me costume. The Austin Powers films by this time were already over 11 years old and any costume pieces that might have been saved from those movies were long gone, unavailable for rental.
 
So Fusion hired us to create one. A custom jacket and trousers.  I was super excited, expecting to have Mr. Troyer in the shop with us to hang out, sign some headshots and take a bunch of fun selfies, etc. But that never happened.
 
The only thing the producer gave me was a sheet of measurements. They were fairly complete but also absolutely unbelievable. I couldn't find out who had taken them or when they were taken. There was no shop info or tailor's phone number in L.A. to call to confirm anything.
 
Nervewrackingly, I made the outfit, duplicating the iconic Mini-Me costume from the films, scratching my head the whole time, saying, "this can't be right, this can't be right." But it was.
 
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The producers picked it up, paid their balance, and went on their way. I checked in with them about a week later and they told me the suit looked fantastic, that Mr. Troyer loved it, and that he wanted one of his own to wear in case he was asked to appear again as the Mini-Me character.
"Great," I said, could you put me in touch with his management?" And they said they would, and then things got busy and well, yeah it never happened.
 
I wondered why they didn't just give Mr. Troyer the costume as a thank-you takeaway. Like, who else would it have possibly fit? The measurements corresponded to a few standard toddler sizes but there would definitely have been some issues. I've always wondered if someone at Fusion took the costume home and dressed up their kid as Mini Me for Halloween! I guess I'll just never know.
 
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Fusion IO's YouTube video was shot live. It's a film inside a film.  The video's aspect ration is vertical and doesn't showcase the great technical details and fit of the costume. We never did get any still photos of Mr. Troyer wearing it. But we are nonetheless very proud of this project.
 
Through custom tailoring and styling, my staff and I have dressed many celebrities and models. We're usually quiet about these events, honoring the trade we are in and its long tradition of discretion.  I don't think I've publicly talked about the story of Mr. Troyer before.  Dredging up files from old hard drives results in this sort of reflection, as well as other thoughts.
 
And these involve telling you a sort of cautionary tale about how you should be careful what you ask for.
 
Around 2004, I was moving our original Pierpont Avenue studio from its loft space to downstairs into a newly available storefront. It was pretty exciting. On impulse one day at a second-hand store, I bought a babydoll with a squeeze feature in his tummy. He'd say one of several pre-recorded things. "I love you." "Nighty-night." Or, "hehehehehe." It was, in truth, a little creepy and visitors sometimes freaked when they saw or heard him. He hung on a peg in fairly plain view, and the key to our basement was attached around his little neck.
 
My idea was that we needed an official key that everyone could always identify, find quickly, and that wouldn't get accidentally locked downstairs or get lost. This little doll was like our hall pass.  "Grab Verne and follow me," I'd shout sometimes, "we have to go find those doublets or that file or whatever in the basement."
 
We've since moved from our Pierpont Avenue shop. At our new location, our shop's basement doesn't have a lock at the top of its stairs. But I still have Verne. He's a keepsake. He's worn a number of different costumes over the years, including a tuxedo vest first sported by a bottle of fancy whisky, given to us by a client.
 
Our Verne is silent now, his squeeze-y talking device batteries long depleted, the whole apparatus dissected from the zippered opening on his back long ago. A few years back, Sora, one of our most awesome interns, lovingly sharpied in his third eye. Our old basement key is still attached around his neck. He still hangs on a peg. This time in my office.  I've reflected often over the years about the vagaries of sympathetic magic, but have never experienced a better example of its wily nature.
 
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Clinique Mascots

Custom mascot costumes for Clinique.

In face-hiding as well as face revealing varieties, at the preference of each store's regional manager.

Katrina Kirkland, Naia Folidei and Rory Sepulveda pose in costumes designed as popular Clinique Cosmetics products at the grand opening of the Meier & Frank in Riverdale. The one-story department store is the eighth in Utah to open and is expected to generate between $200,000 and $300,000 in annual sales tax revenue to the city. (Robert Hirschi/The Salt Lake Tribune)

Katrina Kirkland, Naia Folidei and Rory Sepulveda pose in costumes designed as popular Clinique Cosmetics products at the grand opening of the Meier & Frank in Riverdale. The one-story department store is the eighth in Utah to open and is expected to generate between $200,000 and $300,000 in annual sales tax revenue to the city. (Robert Hirschi/The Salt Lake Tribune)

  Clinique_cosmetics_mascots1 Clinique_cosmetics_mascots3   Clinique_mascara_1   Clinique_mascara_mascot_2
To 'hide' or to 'reveal' is always an interesting consideration when you plan to create a walkaround or mascot for your business or product. The face-revealers interact the most purposefully with shoppers, passing out free samples during a department store grand opening.  The anonymous mascara-wearer is far more mischievous and sees through a scrim of metallic fabric.  For all twelve of these costumes we used high density closed cell foam and replicated the Clinique logos with pretty satin-stitch embroidery over appliques.
 
Katrina Kirkland, Naia Folidei and Rory Sepulveda pose in costumes designed as popular Clinique Cosmetics products at the grand opening of the Meier & Frank in Riverdale. The one-story department store is the eighth in Utah to open and is expected to generate between $200,000 and $300,000 in annual sales tax revenue to the city. (Robert Hirschi/The Salt Lake Tribune)

Katrina Kirkland, Naia Folidei and Rory Sepulveda pose in costumes designed as popular Clinique Cosmetics products at the grand opening of the Meier & Frank in Riverdale. The one-story department store is the eighth in Utah to open and is expected to generate between $200,000 and $300,000 in annual sales tax revenue to the city. (Robert Hirschi/The Salt Lake Tribune)

Art Direction and Costuming: Punk’s Dead

Punk's Dead: SLC Punk 2 (2016)

Our shops and personnel provided art department & costume services for director James Merendino's sequel production to his cult classic SLC Punk.
Art Director/Associate Producer Hraefn Wulfson provided production design services including specialty prop and set design, plus sourcing and builds with the help of our teammate Russ Adams. Assistant Costume Designer Jennifer McGrew and her crew provided patternmaking, costume construction, tailoring, fittings and alterations for visiting designer Fiora Boes.
Crowdfunded in part through its Indiegogo campaign, Punk's Dead demonstrates how effectively an already-loved commodity can be marketed to its fan base plus attract new audiences. The film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and was purchased for distribution. Live theatrical premieres around the U.S. were followed up by the film's release in digital format where fans everywhere can purchase and view this sequel about the original film's next generation.
Punk's Dead IMDB page, with photos & posters plus complete cast and crew listings.
View trailers and more on the Punk's Dead Youtube channel.
Follow Punk's Dead on Facebook.
Follow writer/director James Merendino on Facebook.

Weddings with Tradition

Custom wedding attire for the wonderful Karl and Rebecca.

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We engineered Rebecca's four-piece dress to match her illustrations (she is a very talented artist and author). We created a suit for Karl, too.  His is an elegant grey wool frock coat with matching trousers, plus colorful vest, period shirt and a custom hat we had JW Hats make for us, here in Salt Lake City.

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When it's ungathered, the skirt we made for Rebecca is over 10 feet long! Eight seams with casing and cord inside her skirt gather it all up into the lovely Austrian folds, topped by an elegant bustle. She also wears a custom corset we built to go underneath her custom bodice. Everything is white satin with very little trimming or embroidery, as per guidelines for Temple weddings.  We stabilized both her corset and outer bodice with steels to create a smooth, hourglass silhouette. We love how Karl and Rebecca look and we adore them both:) Very proud of this custom tailoring/dressmaking project.

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