This weekend, Michael Douglas is going to blow all of our minds by portraying the human discoball that was Liberace. Based on HBO promos for Behind The Candelabra, we can already tell that he steps into the bedazzled platform shoes seamlessly; but credit must be given where due and in this case the film’s costume designer deserves some acknowledgement.
Ellen Mirojnick took Michael Douglas — the original Gordon Gecko, husband to sexpot Catherine Zeta-Jones — and molded him into the flamboyant Candlelight crooner who went by ‘Mr. Showmanship’. She also had to make Matt Damon the Sonny to his Cher (or, the Scott Thorson to his Liberace). She told Style.com how that happened:
“There was a magical element that occurred with both men, and it had to do with the rings [they wore... and] In Michael Douglas’ case, putting on the white fur iconic coat. As soon as he put that coat on and his body started to move, he molded into Liberace beautifully. And in the case of Matt Damon, as soon as he put his jewelry on, he melded into Scott Thorson.”
We (and Beyoncé) know very well that putting on a ring can change everything, but in the case of a Hollywood production in which one character makes sixty costume changes, there’s a lot more involved. Mirojnick told Style that she did not undertake replicating exact costumes from Liberace’s repertoire, and tried to avoid campiness while recalling certain iconic looks. She said, “in my interpretation, palatial kitsch is one thing, but it doesn’t have to do with camp.” When her interpretation delivers a 20-pound coat (only so ‘light’ because it didn’t used the same punched stone technique as the 75-pound original), we’ll hold our comments on what comes out looking camp.
Of course sequins were her excalibur, making all that magic happen, and she needed loads of ‘em. “This probably was the most massive amount of sequins or stones I’ve ever used on a project,” she said, and “I love to see that sparkle in the light.” But don’t expect her to keep up the paillettes personally, “on the other hand, I dress in black mostly all the time, and I don’t have any adornment on my purses.”
See her handiwork in the trailer below and give in to glitter all over again with this all-gold runway curated by Carine Roitfeld.