Face coverings aren’t just worn during a pandemic; they’ve also been a staple of “The Masked Singer” since early 2019.
With a new season in development, the show’s Emmy-nominated costume designer Marina Toybina talked creating multiple designs at once, collaborating with artists and executing the burlesque cat in Variety Artisans presented by HBO.
Most times, Toybina juggles five to six costumes at once, from creating body pieces to designing the gloves. Over three seasons, she has mastered the craft of executing her designs by hand under extreme time constraints. “On average, the design period, including doing the artwork and prepping all the characters on a virtual concept and then actually being to design — I have about three to four months, if we’re lucky,” she said.
One of her favorite pieces, the burlesque kitty, required her to hand-bead every part of the head piece. “I wanted to feel as period as we can go without still aging the talent that was inside the costume,” she explained. “What was very important for me to work with a burlesque mask is to create the bow and head crown that’s set on top of the mask, and that was a tricky part to do, because we had to maintain the weight and not let it overtake the actual frame of the mask.”
She also spoke of taking into account the artist inside each costume. For the burlesque kitty, she wanted to let Jackie Evancho, a relatively younger performer on the show, to still feel young and playful.
The designer adds her work comes to life on stage, through the performers and fans who celebrate them. “What’s so great about all these characters is the second they stand on stage, they let them speak for themselves,” she said. “So for me, if I can tell a story through a costume and then let the audience enjoy the moment and environment that they’re in, that’s the best part.”