10 Qs: Marco Marco On Creating Britney Spears's Costumes For Vegas

1.21.2014

By Connor Durkin

The costume designer answers Popnography's 10 burning questions

The only way to top designing Katy Perry’s cupcake bra was to create costumes for Britney’s Vegas residency. Marco Marco did just that. From Cher to Selena, all the top girls in the business wear Marco on stage. He's also rounded up girls and guys alike for his out-there fashion shows. 

Now, Marco takes on the Popnog 10, explaining what it's like to dress Ellen, who his dream client is, and why he would marry Cher

Out: Did you bring a different twist to the show? Did you add some extra flair because it's Vegas?

Marco: I mean, Vegas is always a good opportunity to make it a little bit more wild. There're opportunities to be maybe sexier than you would be outside of there, and there're also opportunities to create outfits that are maybe a little larger than life.

Throughout the entire process, what for you is the most exciting moment? When your heart is beating fastest, would you say?

It's exciting to hear how the audience is going to react to certain moments in the show. She does a quick change on stage from a white angel to sort-of gothic, fallen angel, I guess. Every time the dancers open their wings, and she's standing there in all black. She was just in all white five seconds ago, and she's sitting there in all black and her hair is a completely different color. The audience just roars.

That was a great moment, but I also love the sketching process. I love the beginning when anything is possible and anything is on the table. So you can really just put your ideas on the floor and say, "This would be amazing and this would be amazing!" Just sketch it all out.

At that very beginning of the process, what is that thing that inspires you?

With this show in particular, I wanted to create something that felt new, but I didn't want to start from the Britney brand. Do you know what I mean? She had so many iconic moments already that I wanted to touch on those. That was an inspiration to me: Her whole epic career thus far and all of the different places she's gone with fashion.

And also just trying to think of the audience and trying to think of — you know, Britney's fans are not like other people's fans. When I would be making a costume, I would be thinking about these people that just live for her and who are just going to be in a panic over her, over every moment that she's on stage. 

Well you've pretty much worked with every pop star. Which of them do you think has the craziest fans?

Oh my gosh… Every artist has an incredible following, you know? I remember Fergie and the Black Eyed Peas would be in Japan, and they would just be crying and shaking.

I don't know if I've every met a more vocal and hands-on bunch of fans like Britney has. They’re just a whole other animal. They're amazing. They really devote themselves to her in a way that is I think unmatched.

One of my favorites of yours was Ellen DeGeneres's Sofia Vergara costume. How was making a costume for Ellen different from making one for Britney Spears?

You know in a lot of ways it's not that different. They require the same kind of things logistically. Ultimately, they have a performance to give, whether it's dancing for two hours on stage or being funny for a live audience.

They have to be comfortable. They have to be able to move. They have to be safe. You can't make something they are going to trip on. They have to feel good in it. They have to feel like the costume they are wearing is portraying them the way that they want to be portrayed.

Whether it's true or not, it always seems stars are feuding. Do you as a costume designer ever get caught in the middle? One girl wants the other girl's costume at some point?

No, that's never happened. I'm very careful about that kind of stuff. [laughs] When I'm creating something for an artist, that's where that piece lives and dies. I'm not going to like bring it home and try to give it to someone else.

With the Piece of Me tour, we made a lot of costumes that you see and we made a lot of costumes that you may never see. Those are still hers. They're all in her closet in Vegas. If one day she wants to wear them, she's more than welcome to.

Talking about your collections, you said you're working on your third. Is there anything different from this one that sets it apart from the first two?

I think the first one was really me just putting my feet in the water… I didn't know really how it would be received and what it was I was trying to do or say. I think with the second one, I felt a little more brave.

I had this incredible cast of girls and boys that really inspired me to make something fun and exciting. It inspired me to create a collection the exhibited dare and outlandish confidence. I loved that about them and that's what I wanted to do.

Dead or alive, who is the one person you would want to dress?

You know who I love right now? That redheaded woman from American Horror Story: Coven. What's her name? [Frances Conroy playing Myrtle Snow] She's so amazing! Her lines just blow me away and her hair and the way that she puts the outfits together. 

I heard someone that she was based off Grace Coddington. I would pick either one honestly. They're just so amazing. There's just such an insanity to that fabulousness.

What would you say your spirit animal is?

My spirit animal is definitely a hummingbird. Hummingbirds have been around me my whole life.

In my studio in Hollywood, I have a morning glory bush that grows in the alley in the back, and I got a pair of hummingbirds. I don't know if it's the same pair, or they're having babies, but I've been there for twelve years, and two hummingbirds come to visit me every morning there.

Would you being willing to play a quick game of “fuck, marry, kill?” Cher, Anna Wintour, and then Jonathan Groff, the star of Looking.

Oh, this is so unfair! Jonathon Groff: fuck, Cher I'd marry, and Anna Wintour, kill.

I just think about Kathy Griffin when she talks about her time with Cher. She's like, you know, "Cher, let's order pizza!" And she's like, "Order pizza? I'm Cher bitch. I don't know how to do that!"

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