Ellen Mirojnick Describes Costumes for Behind the Candelabra

Costume designer Ellen Mirojnick has rightly been praised for her work on Behind the Candelabra. Her intricate research and attention to detail helped create a believable world for Liberace (Michael Douglas) and his lover Scott Thorson (Matt Damon), both on stage and off. Here, exclusively for Clothes on Film, she describes five of her recreated stage ensembles alongside official illustrations (some with with fabric swatches) by Christian Cordella. Click on the images to enlarge.

Liberace’s White Iconic Fur Coat with 16 ft Train

Faux white fox lined completely with silver sequins. The skins are separated by triple rows of rhinestone bands that are mitred into a chevron design at centre back down through the train.

White jumpsuit and Jacket

White silk brocade fabric with silver leaf overall pattern encrusted with white crystals and white rhinestones. The front panels of the jacket have large peacocks embroidered in tones of silver metallic thread embellished with white rhinestones and crystals. The birds beaks meet at the waist and their tails wrap around the side seams onto the back. The shoulder and yolk treatments are created by embellished diamond shape appliqués made of crystals, pearls, white rhinestones and bugle beads. The vest is trimmed at centre front with banded rhinestones; the same trim runs down the side of the pants. A triple layered lace bib front tuxedo shirt has matching double layered cuffs. The bow tie is totally encrusted with rhinestones. At centre front sits a large diamond brooch. Boots are custom made – silver leather encrusted with rhinestones, and have a Cuban heel.

Red Lasagna Ostrich Cape

White ostrich skins tipped in red at the hem. Cape fully lined in a stripe pattern with gold and red sequins. Yolk and framed collar is layered with gold/red raised tattersall braid surrounding ruby red crystals.

Red Lasagna Suit

Suit is embossed ruby red paisley silk brocade with contrasting metallic paisley vest, predominately gold/silver with ruby. The jacket’s lapel is the same detail as the yolk of the cape; the jacket’s centre front detail is embellished with encrusted gold stone appliqués that have been over-layered with bullion embroidery. The edging is scalloped gold over embroidered lace, the tuxedo shirt is triple layered lace ruffles with cuffs to match. The boots are gold leather studded with gold rhinestones.


The Neptunium Inspired Fantasy

An opalescent seashell layered cape with scalloped collar edged in a mixture of pearls. Pearl embellishment pare on each scallop as well as Aurora Borealis (AB) iridescent stones . The back of the collar is total pearl and aurora stone seashells. The body of the cape is a seashell pattern on clear sequins and an AB iridescent base. The inside of the cape is an underwater fantasy. The wave patterned sequins merge with coral branches, oyster pearls and sea grass.

The suit fabrication has been created by screening seashells over the entire AB metallic iridescent base scattered with AB stones. It is then covered in tiny pink and white pearls reinforcing the seashell motifs. The shirt ruffles at neck, and wrists are iridescent sheers lined with baby pearls. The bow tie at the neck is an exaggerated bow accented with more AB stones and large multi sized aurora white rhinestones and AB stoned brooch. Boots are silver leather studded with rhinestones.

Scott’s Chauffeur Costume

The chauffeur costume is created in both White and Baby Blue Gabardine. The plastron front jackets are embellished with silver and white rhinestone embroideries and appliqués. The stand collar has scrolled silver embroidery accented by white rhinestones. The cuff detail has both crystal appliqué and embroidered elements. The silver metallic leather riding boots were custom made by Maurizo at Western Costume.

All jewellery worn was moulded from the original pieces designed for Liberace and Scott Thorsen.

Images copyright Claudette Barius/HBO. Illustrations by Christian Cordella.

With thanks to Ellen Mirojnick.

You can watch Michael Douglas in Black Rain (also costumed by Mirojnick) at LOVEFiLM.com.

© 2013 – 2014, Lord Christopher Laverty.