Behind The Seams: Incredible Couture In Celine Dion’s Wardrobe Room
The backstage space where dancers used to rehearse for Celine Dion’s first Colosseum show, “…A New Day” is now where the masterpieces for second show, “Celine,” are housed. Touring the backstage area, the dresses are displayed—and treated—like works of fine art. Personal dresser Glynda Conway, (who also gets Shania Twain stage-ready) says it takes her hours in the wardrobe room to prepare for a show.
“We come in at 1 p.m., and steaming and sewing takes half the day,” she says. “She finishes sound check at 6 p.m. and then it’s ready so we take the two clothing racks upstairs. Once it starts, its go go go.”
Powerhouse musician Dion is a huge fashionista herself, and looks like perfection in just about anything thanks to her tall, model-like physique. Naturally when it came time to think about wardrobe planning for her second Colosseum at Caesars Palace engagement “Celine,” which begins a new round of shows on Feb. 18, she wanted glamour and big name labels all the way. (Think a gold leopard head Cartier ring and one-of-a-kind couture.) Dressed to kill (audiences, that is) every time she steps on that grand stage, Dion goes through several glam ensembles in 90 minutes. “Give her a dress and she’ll work it,” Conway says.
From her opening silver stunner to her ocean blue chiffon closer, here’s a peek at Queen Celine’s fashionable rundown.
These must go through a lot of wear and tear.
Cynthia my assistant and I spend hours and hours checking and mending. The level of these dresses is insane. Maintenance is very high for this show, but it’s all worth it because she looks gorgeous out there. And we want to make her look perfect. We have the roll racks upstairs with her costumes we go with the costumes for the first half, so our kits are with us because you just never know. We had an instance with Titanic one night, on our 100th show. We got her dressed, zipped up ready to go. She was like “I can feel air here”. The whole zipper broke. Chaos ensued, we got it off of her, I grabbed the other one, we put her in shoes and all and she just walked on stage singing and the audience never knew the difference. That was our 100th show zipper. Our biggest thing is going through under the magnifying glass, getting snags out.
Tell me about some of the big outfit changes.
Her opening is Armani Privé with silk, mesh, clear sequins and Swarovskis. It has become so iconic I don’t know if they are ever going to be able to change it. In the James Bond segment, the black sequin gown is by Balmain. It looks like nothing on the hanger but when you put it on her body, it takes on a whole life of its own. The white, one-shoulder Atelier Versace is a knit fabric and it’s followed by the gold jacket, which is all metal and fringe so that’s why it’s so heavy. It’s so “Vegas” and she wears it with the black Reed Krakoff pumps with a gold chain. She wears the Atelier Versace blue Titanic dress for her last number, and her Sergio Rossi crystal shoes underneath.
How were these clothes created?
All these clothes were custom for the show so you’ll never be able to find them. I think how the whole thing worked in the very beginning was Celine and her stylist Annie Horth got together and came up with all the different ideas for the looks. Then Annie approaches the design houses with what they’re looking for, and they come up with sketches and designs. This was a huge undertaking and I think it was one of Annie’s dreams to do the couture looks that Celine pulls off so well and put them in to a show.
Take me through the clothes and how they match the mood of the song segments.
The opener dress is almost fairy tale-ish, with the way the curtains open. It’s definitely the wow factor. The next delicate Elie Saab one works really well because she has a lot of jazz in that section, so the chiffon and the lace is really sexy and flows with the music. The James Bond number is super sexy, very sleek, and a little bondage look with the strappy shoe. The classic white dress is more her love segment. She’s in the audience, more personable with everyone. It’s very romantic with the holograms, the memories of the singers, and she sings her new “Loved Me Back To Life” song in it.
Then we go into sexy-crazy where she is getting everybody up and dancing, having a party in her gold short dress. You’ve got to hit glitz in your finale. It’s almost like the gold is her finale and the “Titanic” number is her encore. She has to end on her classic, “My Heart Will Go On.” Then with the water and everything, it’s visually gorgeous.
How many duplicates are there?
She has two of everything. And some of the dresses we are on to the third, being that we are going in to the third year. The only one she doesn’t have identical is the gold Balmain one, because it’s a masterpiece one-of-a-kind.
What else do you help her with?
She does meet-and-greets every night as well, so she brings something of her own from the closet and then another pair of shoes. We steam and I get her ready for that. I have been doing this for three years and I think I have seen her in the same thing maybe once.