Daisy Jones & The Six
The stadium spotlights may be focused on the steamy chemistry between co-lead singers Daisy Jones (Riley Keough) and founder of The Six, Billy Dunne (Sam Claflin). But right behind them, Warren Rojas (Sebastian Chacon) steals the show with his nimble drumstick acrobatics, positive energy and laid-back yet electrifying rock ‘n’ roll style.
“He was the peacock,” says costume designer Denise Wingate. About to kick off the band’s first — and last — nationwide tour in 1977 to promote their chart-topping debut album Aurora, Warren presumably blew his residual checks on his stage wardrobe. His rotation of leather, fur-trimmed and patchwork vests — worn insouciantly, sans shirt — reflects his easygoing disposition and upbeat gratitude for success. “Warren just wants to have a good time,” says Wingate. “He wants to hang out with his friends, get drunk and that’s it. He doesn’t want to get involved in the drama. He’s a grounding personality for the band.”
But the vests also speak to the physicality necessary to keep the kinetic beat going. Wingate’s inspiration boards consisted of legendary rockers who forewent shirts, like guitarist Carlos Santana shaking maracas at Woodstock in 1969 and Mick Fleetwood, circa 1977. “A lot of the drummers wore vests because it’s just easier for them to play,” says Wingate, who also styled The Bangles on tour in the ’80s.
During the pandemic-prolonged prep and rehearsals, Chacon honed his professional-level drumming skills while cultivating Warren’s indefatigable performance style. Simultaneously, Wingate developed his rock-god aesthetic, ensuring that his vintage form-fitting but pre-spandex-era pants allowed enough flexibility to power-pedal the kick drum and hi-hat. “He’d be like, ‘The shirt’s too tight, and I can’t move,’ ” says Wingate. “So we really worked with the vest idea for him earlier on.”
Toward the tour’s conclusion, Warren remains high on life and willfully oblivious to deepening fractures within the band. The crowd goes wild as he pounds the drums in red velvet jeans and a striking gold-threaded vest. “I found it in a shop in New Orleans. I just loved the mirrored bits and embroidery,” says Wingate, who never repeated Warren’s looks. “He was also a total over-accessorizer,” she adds, pointing to layers of colorful beaded necklaces and leather cuffs. “We thought he was a guy who picked up pieces along the road when he was on tour. Little talismans.”
The opening of the New York Chippendales — complete with early-’80s gilded decor, a plush VIP section and a standby line nearly 400 deep — kicks off with a bang. As thunder booms, the MC, “Dr. Hunkenstein,” clad in a silver leather apron, entices the eager audience. “In a mysterious castle, somewhere in the deepest, darkest Mansylvania,” he intones, while foreshadowing the upcoming extravaganza with a suggestive manspread.
“I wanted it to be very golden, glittery and you’re really drawn to look at it,” says costume designer Peggy Schnitzer. Across the country, away from the scrutiny of club founder Steve Banerjee (Kumail Nanjiani), choreographer Nick De Noia (Murray Bartlett) orchestrates his Rocky Horror-inspired musical extravaganza — and also sets the stage for jealousy and resentments to dangerously unfold. “There were a lot of darker colors in the dance pieces in L.A., and we wanted to stay away from the very classic Chippendales black-and-white,” says Schnitzer. “This was a spectacular show. It’s Nick’s entrée into New York, basically.”
Back in New York, Dr. Hunkenstein joins two guards onstage, in shimmering silver lamé versions of medieval knight chainmail hoods and satin short-shorts. The trio then unveil a mad scientist’s laboratory, as dancers wearing clinical-white mesh crop-tops and hot pants enthusiastically gyrate, thrust and hoof it.
Dr. Hunkenstein exultantly sings, “With chunky, chewy body parts, I’ve built a perfect 10!” as the dancers vigorously rip away their shorts — in one balletically agile swoop — exposing mirrored-metallic G-strings at the moment he reveals his Frankenstein, or “Man-ster,” a centerpiece hunk in a sparkling gold thong. The crowd goes wild. “It was a portrait of [Man-ster], this creation,” says Schnitzer.
The skin-baring briefs never move out of place, even through all the spirited jump squats, twirls, kicks and lunges. “Every dancer had a fitting for G-strings and for the pants,” explains Schnitzer, who, in a feat of costume engineering, custom-made all elements of the theatrical ensembles. Two versions of pants/shorts comprise the secret sauce behind the rip-away reveal: a stretch pair for dancing and another in a structured, similar-looking fabric, rigged with snap tape. Through trial and error during rehearsals, Schnitzer and the dancers honed the design, eventually only securing the snaps at stress points, like the hip, buttocks and thighs, to achieve the breathtaking breakaway with gusto.
George & Tammy
“The fabric in this blazer don’t match the trousers,” grumbles an agitated George Jones (Michael Shannon) during a wardrobe fitting with his wife, Tammy Wynette (Jessica Chastain). As the two country musicians prepare for a 1971 Las Vegas debut, Tammy looks on confidently, and approvingly at herself in a beaded red halter gown. George — pulled out of domestic bliss and precarious sobriety — seethes in a frilly taupe tuxedo that is, in fact, a mélange of natural silk and polyester. “George would latch onto this clash in the fibers to lash out about,” says costume designer Mitchell Travers, because the sartorially sensitive singer is accustomed to performing in bedazzled Western shirts and suits with swagger.
Travers imagined that George would face pressure from management and hangers-on to change as an artist for Vegas, increasing his trepidation and resentment. So, the costume designer took inspiration from the slick style of ’70s crooners, like Burt Bacharach, Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. “I made it a little too shiny, the collar a bit too long, the bow tie a bit too big. The sidestripe on the tuxedo a bit too strong,” says Travers. “So it just gave George something to reject anywhere he looked.”
In the dreaded tux, George faces his demons: insecurity about being overshadowed by his partner, fear of professional irrelevance and a loathing of being forced to perform on demand, originating from his abusive childhood. “They’re going to laugh at us,” says George, confiding to Tammy.
So, he heads to the tailor to the country stars, Nudie Cohn, for a white suede suit, fluttering with fringe and resplendent with rhinestone dice: a metaphor for the couple’s gamble with Vegas fame, as well as George’s, as he gazes at a bourbon bottle. “It’s totally overcompensation to try to go back to his roots and deliver what he thinks his audience wants — not what Tammy’s audience wants,” says Travers, who connected with tailor Jaime Castaneda, Nudie’s former suit and shirt maker, to build three ensembles, which go through the wringer as George spirals.
Eventually arriving in Vegas to take the stage with Tammy, George resignedly dons his silk and polyester tux, aided by “a few nips,” as he says. “You feel the boisterousness of the white suede suit, and then … the work uniform,” explains Travers. “This is a job. This is not passion. He’s forced back into the cage.”
This story first appeared in an August stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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