Performers and Designers: A True Marriage of Passion and Practicality

Jun 29, 2014 | 7:09 PM



Elton John

Elton John, who may have started it all


With a new album slated for release in early September, my life will now focus on live performance so I can spread the word and build up my fan base.


You may think I’ll spend most of my time working with my band and practicing moves with my choreographer, but that would be forgetting how much time I’m going to devote to working with one of the most important players in any live-performers pen: the costume designer.


If you’re in the right outfit, what you wear should say it all. At a glance, your audience should know what kind of show they’re in for, be it grunge rock, Vegas glitz or a million things in between.


Shirley Bassey = Pure, Old School Glamour


The Rolling Stones = Rock and Roll!!!


KISS = Glam Rock


Curt Cobain keeping it “real”

Finding a designer, or stylist, who “gets” you, is, indeed, an important pursuit if you care about making a statement on stage. Luckily, history has provided us with many wonderful examples.


Where would we be, culturally speaking, if David Bowie hadn’t found Freddie Burretti?

David in Freddie Buretti


Or Yamamoto?


Yamamoto jumpsuit


Where would Liza be without Halston?



Where would Madonna be without Gaultier?


Madonna in Gaultier


I honestly shudder to imagine life had Mitzi Gaynor and Cher not found Bob Mackie.



Mitzi in Mackie



Mackie designs for Cher

Cher in Bob Mackie

Cher in Mackie

I’m not going to lie. I’m supremely jealous that Shakira has great Roberto Cavalli designing her on-stage wardrobe for World Cup. Turn on the TV! Maybe you’ll catch her in one of these babies!


Shakira outfits for World Cup by Cavalli

And there’s good old Beyonce, ditching her mother’s designs to rock it in Versace.

Beyonce in Versace


beyonce i versace

I’m a huge Gaga fan, but there are some people who think she HAS such a big career BECAUSE of her costume choices. Gaga is one of the few people I can think of who wears costumes on and off stage. She takes her persona VERY seriously and it’s gotten her far.



Lady Gaga Performs At Madison Square Garden



At this point, Gaga’s stylist and costume designer, Nicola Fornichetti, is almost as famous as she is!!


gaga and formichetti

Gaga wearing and WITH Nicolo Fornichetti


I have to hand it her: the fact that Lady Gaga can MOVE and SING in those creations is praise-worthy. I’m sure you’ve noticed that all the other outfits on this page feature designs that make for easy movement (if you discount how hard it is to do anything in 5 inch heals let alone command a stage and dance!).


I’ve surely got my work cut out for me! But I’m not starting from scratch. I have an amazing stylist, Lisa von Weise Shaw.


photo 2

Lisa and me at a Christmas party together


Here’s one of my favorite “Lisa” creations for me:


Image 32

Live at Le Poisson Rouge


So? What do you think? What should I wear on stage? A gown? A sequined bathing suit? Pants? Who has worn YOUR favorite costumes?


I always love to hear from you. Don’t be shy!





4 thoughts on “Performers and Designers: A True Marriage of Passion and Practicality”

  1. Bruce Thomas     Reply

    I love the gold out fit from the red fish. And the green outfit has to make an appearance, but follow your heart. Sit with designer and the new album. The designs you desire will spring forth!

  2. guy spagnoli     Reply

    Wonder shots and all of great persons I’ve grown up with and admiring. Also glad to see Liza in the mix.—–GUY

  3. Jan     Reply

    Whatever your choices you’ll look fabulous Isabel.
    Heck – you could wear a sack & still look great !
    As can’t come see you live, looking forward to new video uploads.
    J x

    • Isabel Rose     Reply

      Thanks, Jan!

Leave a Comment