Why You'll Love the Costumes in the Rockettes New York Spring Spectacular

Why You'll Love the Costumes in the Rockettes New York Spring Spectacular
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If you’re bummed that New York Fashion Week isn't back until the fall, the New York Spring Spectacular featuring the world-famous Rockettes will cheer you up. Within the show, the Rockettes change eight times, each costume more elaborate than the last, and one section of the production even features a full-out runway show with pieces by Zac Posen, Diane von Furstenberg and Isaac Mizrahi. (Plus, we promise it’s the friendliest, least pretentious fashion show you will ever go to—kids are even welcome!)

The man leading the charge behind the looks is Tony Award-winning costume designer Emilio Sosa, who you may remember as an alum of Project Runway. We caught up with him over the phone earlier this week to get the inside scoop on his designs. “I wanted to show a love letter to New York with the costumes,” he told us. “And since it’s spring, it’s about color. There’s so much spectacle with the costumes, you can’t stop smiling and clapping throughout the whole thing. I wanted to give the audience an experience they’ll remember.”

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As a result, Sosa led his creative team to create over 300 costumes during a process that started last July. There are 32 dressers getting the cast ready during each show, 15 of which work exclusively with the Rockettes. "As New Yorkers, we are very unique in how we present ourselves, and I wanted to make sure that I represented New York in the best light, but also in a realistic light," said Sosa. Below, he explained a few of his favorites.

The Pulse Look

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“This is for the opening number, and we wanted the ladies to be tough, but sexy, energetic, strong, fierce women. That’s why we chose the black and white with a splash of red. It’s the first time that the ladies are dancing in combat boots and not a heel. That's a huge departure for them, but that number is about the energy, the pulse of New York. When you’re in New York, what you have on your feet is so important, so we definitely wanted to translate the energy of New York, not just from the colors, but also from the shoes that they wear.”

Laura Benanti’s Power Woman Look

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“Her character she’s all about business. She sings about billionaire. So her clothing had to say power, and nothing says power better than a beautiful red dress. We created this amazing red dress with a belt that gives her shape at the waist and a strong shoulder. She’s still sexy, but powerful.”

The Singin’ in the Rain Look

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“We created cute yellow rain slickers inspired by the iconic movie poster for Singin’ in the Rain. Then we added a really beautiful little flirty skirt on the rain jacket and custom-made rain boots with microphones inserted into the shoes. They’re tapping live on stage so it’s really about the sound. When you see all those ladies in the same yellow slickers and umbrellas, you can’t help but to just go ‘Wow.’ When the Rockettes do all these amazing formations under the rain, it really does take on a life of its own.”

The Isaac Mizrahi Look

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“We thought about what was most iconic about Isaac Mizrahi, and we landed on the most amazing poppy print dress. It says everything about Isaac. It’s about New York, it’s about flirting, it’s about spring, and it’s about being pretty.”

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The Zac Posen Look

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“Zac is a master of shape and statement. We went to his showroom and I was just blown away by the marvel that goes into his dresses. He designed the most amazing leotard bustier with an overskirt that screamed Zac Posen. First, the ladies come out in Zac Posen gowns, then they transform into this bustier look and you can hear audible gasps. Then they do the dance and you just lose your mind because it’s such fun. New York City is the capital of the fashion world and that number really solidifies it.”

The DVF Look

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“When you think of Diane Von Furstenberg, you think print wrap dresses. This is a beautiful homage to DVF’s brand. When you look at it, it looks like a simple wrap dress, but when the ladies start to move in the choreography, it’s amazing because then it has that theatrical element.”

Derek Hough's Angelic Look

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“Derek plays an angel, so we had to figure out, what would a modern angel look like. He’s always in white. We wanted to bridge that gap so you could still sense that he is from another world, but he can blend in to the world that we created.”

The Glittery Finale Look

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“This look is for the finale and it’s meant to leave you with shine. I would see the Rockettes walking in the hall in the dresses, and they look like they are electric. When you put them under the light, it’s just mind-blowing. When they come up at the end and do their final kick line—I’m not an emotional guy but it does bring a tear to my eye.”

The New York Spring Spectacular runs through May 3. Find your tickets at newyorkspringspectacular.com.

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