All photos by Jeff Johnson
For Carrie Underwood's REFLECTION: The Las Vegas Residency, she collaborated with award-winning costume designer Emma Trask on creating looks with plenty of rhinestones and fringe, that embodied what the two deemed a "NashVegas" style. Here, Trask—also a celebrity stylist and founder of The Chrysalis Lab (which upcycles vintage fashion pieces)—discusses her inspiration and what Underwood will be wearing at Resorts World Theatre from June 21 to Dec. 16.
What was your approach to Carrie Underwood's costumes for her Vegas residency? What served as your inspiration?
Carrie’s directive to me was, 'More rhinestones, more fringe.' She wanted to combine the glitz and glamour of Vegas with the iconic style women of country have rocked for years. From this, a 'NashVegas' theme emerged, which served as inspiration for the show wardrobe.
Where did you source pieces and materials from?
From all over the world. In addition to the U.S., I collaborated with designers in France, Lebanon, Spain, Kuwait, the Philippines and the U.K. Some of the looks were made custom; others were pulled from archive collections, and we reworked them to fit with the show. We also shopped a lot of vintage and transformed these pieces into stage looks. Carrie is a vintage tee collector and we pulled from her personal collection to create several rock tee rompers, which have become one of her many signature looks.
What did you consider when choosing looks for different songs? How did you collaborate with Carrie and the team?
I needed to take into consideration all the songs in each act of the show—as she wears one look for several songs—so it was important to create something that made sense for all the songs, and [that] of course went with the set design for the entire act. Often when the run of show allowed, we could add or take off a layer, or use wardrobe as a prop within the act to create a song specific moment. I loved taking advantage of these opportunities! It was also very important to take into consideration what she would be doing performance-wise in each act—obviously in the finale there is a lot of water, so I needed to design around that! My team and I work very closely with Carrie, her choreographer, lighting designer and sound [designer] to make sure her costumes work for all aspects of the show. I’m usually still designing and fitting when rehearsals begin, so we can try out different things with Carrie and fine-tune each look to make sure it is perfect for show day!
Which are some of your favorite costumes? Tell us about a few looks and how you came up with them.
I think one of the strongest looks in the show is the 'Two Black Cadillacs' outfit which opens Act Two. I really wanted to go all-out and capture the drama of this song with her look. And as she enters on a glistening throne made from black cadillac parts, her outfit needed to be extra dramatic. I always love a cape for drama and I was lucky enough to find this amazing oversized cape from Spanish designer Ana Locking’s archives. We added black oversized cat eye sunglasses customized with gold filagree detailing as a nod to the original “Two Black Cadillacs” music video, and added a jeweled fringe bolero by L’Jai Amor to bring the bling. This cape is paired with three gold and black looks which Carrie alternates between shows, but my favorite pairing is the gold and black flared jumpsuit with tinsel detailing, which my talented design team made from unique vintage fabric I found.
Another favorite look of mine is the blue LaBourjoisie Couture beaded fringe mini dress which we customized with denim and rhinestone cuffs, a choker and cowboy-inspired high-heeled boots. I think this look is particularly stunning on Carrie and really epitomizes the 'NashVegas' theme, especially when during 'Before He Cheats' she pairs it with a customized vintage denim jacket with 'NashVegas' and all of Carrie’s favorite icons from both Nashville and Vegas hand-painted on and blinged-out with rhinestones. We also added lighting to the LaBourjoisie fringe dress so it glows pink in this act during her performance of 'Cry Pretty.'