I recently had the pleasure of being asked to design, style and make the costumes for Reeson's music video for her newest single 'Take It Off' which is to be released in November. The brief was very '2001: A Space Odyssey', and the director Robin Schmidt and Reeson's Manager, Natalie wanted the concept to be all about the evolution of man (or woman!) from naughty monkeys to sexy cave girls and boys.
The main vision they wanted from the costumes, was that there were tear/rip away monkey costumes that could be ripped and peeled off the body like a skin, to reveal the bodies of the cave girls beneath, as if they were evolving and shedding their skins. Obviously this set my creative brain into a whirl, and we went through many different ideas, such as latex, and lycra, and tear-able silk... But the problem was, the dancers has to perform a full and vigorous dance routine whilst wearing these monkey costumes, and so they had to be structurally sound. I found that a 'power mesh' fabric that is often used for ballroom dance costumes to look like skin worked really well, and would tear when needed, but that was stretchy enough and sound enough to make the costumes wearable while dancing.
To keep the monkey costumes cheeky and sexy, without drowning the dancers in fur and covering the line of their body, I made full mesh bodysuits in brown, and then just applied black fun fur to form a 'bikini' for the girl monkeys, and 'pants and leg warmers' for the boys, as well as full fur backs for both sets. This gave the costumes enough of a 'Monkey' vibe, when worn with a full face monkey hood mask, but showed enough of the dancers bodies to allow the tongue in cheek, sexiness of the whole concept to read. They also looked rather like old 60s Sci-Fi/King Kong/Planet of The Apes movies, which was great for the retro vibe!
I put the backing dancers all in black and brown 'Chimp' like monkey designs, and put Reeson as the lead, in a foxy ginger fur coloured 'Orang-u-Tan' costume to make her stand out! Her partner in crime in the video was the awesome Super Massive Raver and as he was the 'King of The Jungle' I made him a silver backed Gorilla! Complete with in character 3D Specs and Raver accessories!!!
Once the monkey's had torn away their costumes to reveal their
Cave People persona's, we switched to full on sexy ripped and torn cloth costumes, customized with lots of lovely cold mud!! Much to the dancers's dismay, I used REAL mud for extra authenticity! It was cold, and I think they werent too pleased at me smearing them in chilly wet dirt!
I made up some really simple loin cloths for the boys, with lots of skin on display! and some short and skimpy tops and skirts for the girls! All made from super cheap and easy to tear calico. Once the boys and girls were dressed and made up by the amazing Make Up artist Marcela Honda and Hair Stylist Seval Mustafa, I then just applied mud and the age old Costume Breakdown trick of tea and coffee to stain and dirty up the costumes in true Caveman style!
For the leading lady Reeson, I wanted her to look super hot and sexy and stand out from her backing dancers, but still in the same concept and colours that were within the theme. So I designed and made her a Cave Girl dress in a shiny rust coloured lurex fabric which picked up the amazing colour her Hair Stylist Seval had used. A halter neck always suits her amazing figure, so I cut it as a low plunge neckline and a thigh high leg split to show her killer pins! I then teamed with with a real leather underbust corset, for which I used the raw edges of the leather hide to give it a real authentic Cavegirl look and match the raw edges of the ripped costumes.
Teamed with some awesome sourced jewellery, a pair of wicked knee high wedge lace around fur topped boots, I think you'll agree its a pretty killer outfit! IN fact, the whole cast and crew were left speechless when she emerged from her dressing area in full costume!
We worked right until it was dark, and shot some amazing scenes against the jungle setting the crew had created. The dancers from Winters School Of Dance were incredible! The Parkour and Free Running Boys were doing somersaults and flips that were darn impressive!!
All in all it was a fantastic shoot to work on, and the whole cast and crew put in an incredible effort to get it looking amazing! Its all in the hands now of the editing team! Cant wait for the realease so I can see the full and final product! Keep your eyes and ears peeled for REESON coming to a dance floor near you! All the pics from behind the scenes can be seen here: on Reeson's Facebook Page, taken by the amazing Assistant Director Martin Wan.