Wednesday, March 19, 2014


By this time everyone has read the news that Bob Mackie regretfully had to bow out of providing the wardrobe for Cher's latest tour, "Dressed To Kill."  Some are saying that this is her final tour. Personally I'm not buying it. As long as you can glue rhinestones to a wheelchair there is still a chance for a follow up tour.
I won't bother copy/pasting the tweets and statements into this post. It is obvious that both Bob and Cher are disappointed in the circumstances, we all are.  Oh what Mackie visions could have been...
But life goes on and there is no use dwelling. Cher is in good hands with Hugh Durrant since he's worked with her in the past. 

Although the tour will be sans Mackie my ensemble will be paying homage to both divas. I am doing this for solidarity, tradition and mostly because I've already started and I'm not one for looking back. 

Until then let's enjoy some epic Mackie-Cher Realness. 

-Philip Eatrada

Monday, January 6, 2014

Lesage: Broderie D’Art

This post is long overdue and that is my fault since i'm a slacker.  
The fiancĂ© and I took advantage of the long weekend for Thanksgiving and jetted off to Paris!  It wasn't really as last minute as it sounds. While I was there I was able to take classes at Ecole Lesage.  Since this was our first visit to Paris I only had enough time to take the 2 day, 12 hours of class time.  It was FASCINATING to properly learn the sequin and beading techniques I taught myself. The instructor was impressed with my proficiency and praised my speed. Since I attended the classes I also had the opportunity to purchase the actual stretching frames Lesage uses. What a world of difference?! The fabric stays stretched much better than my jerry-rigged system.

Paris was a feast for a designer's eyes!  Since returning I want everything in my life to be Art Nouveau designed. It was also very inspiring being at Lesage, the place where so much unsung fashion history happened.  To think of the countless gowns that were embellished for Christian Dior or Pierre Balmain. It induces chills.  It makes me smile even more because the building is so unassuming and humble. 

Embellishment by Lesage

Embellishment designed by Balenciaga for Princess Grace Kelly - 1953

This is where the Lesage workrooms were. 
(Top two floors)
They have since moved closer to the Chanel offices just outside Paris.  

This young lady, from London, was finishing her professional level training. 150 hours in class and an additional 150 at home.  I wish I had that much time to spend in Paris.

A French student working on her sampler also at the professional level training. 

This little fella is the project I completed during my time at Lesage.
He was eventually cut out,  and had a pin applied to the back so he could be worn as a brooch.  
His name is Lester.

I can't wait to go back to Paris. Not only for the beautiful sights but to take more classes at Lesage!

-Philip Estrada

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sadie Doyle

The Thrilling Adventure Hour rencetly launched a successful kickstarter campaign to fund a concert film DVD.  I had the pleasure of designing and constructing the gown for Miss Paget Brewster in the role of Sadie Doyle in the "Beyond Belief" portion of the show. 
If you are not familiar with Thrilling Adventure Hour you have been missing out!

I'm so lucky to be the designer of a character beloved by so many fans around the world. I hope I lived up to everyone's imagination! 

Paget Brewster shines on stage and the gown did a great job assisting. I can't wait for the DVD to be released so we can all see this gown in action. 

Photo generously provided by Liezl

My costume sketch for Paget Brewster's character Sadie Doyle

Gorgeous Photo by: Allan Amato

Frank and Sadie's signature 'clink.'
Gif generously provided by Liezl

-Philip Estrada

Friday, October 4, 2013

Restoration Hardware

*** CORRECTION *** - And a video!

I was mistaken when I mentioned that there was an airplane in stage during Hallelujah Hollywood. That was in Hello Hollywood Hello, a different Donn Arden production. Too many show to keep straight! Hallelujah Hollywood featured production numbers celebrating the MGM musicals such as "Kismet," "The Pirate" and "Meet Me In St. Louis."   The finale was a tribute to The Zeigfeld Follies. A big thanks to Grant for helping to keep the history straight!  

Also I wanted to include a video of the restored Bob Mackie in action. Grant Philipo did an amazing job making sure the costume still functioned as originally intended.  I'm could watch her sparkle for hours!! 

*** Original Post ***
By now, my affinity for showgirls should be quite obvious. As it turns out though I'm not alone, there is a Las Vegas Showgirl Museum! How I have managed to NOT visit this place is beyond me, but it is on the top of my to do list!
Grant Philipo, a former performer himself, runs and curates this haven for headdresses out in Las Vegas. In addition to displaying many costumes the museum also houses a collection of photos, videos and assorted show memorabilia.
The respect that Mr. Philipo and I share for all things showgirls sadly isn't a worldwide phenomenon. Many of the costumes for the curtained Vegas shows have been discarded, improperly stored and/or have fallen into disrepair. 
Grant recently finished restoring an original, circa 1978, backpack from"Hallelujah Hollywood" designed by Bob Mackie.  They have taken to calling her "The Golden Cage." It took him over two years to get her on display, but it was well worth the wait considering how far she came. 


In Process

After - Take that daytime talks show make-overs!

The original design sketch by Bob Mackie is housed in the collections at The University of Las Vegas. 

"Hallelujah Hollywood" ran from 1974-1980 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas (currently Bally's Hotel and Casino) and celebrated all things Hollywood. This included the signature MGM roaring lion, a Ziegfeld style finale and even a 747 on stage!  Because why not?! 
The show was closed to make way for "Jubilee!" which still runs to this day at Bally's Hotel and Casino. 

This is how the costume appeared on stage during the finale.  Not a lot of photos from this show are circulating anymore.  

Here are links for more information on The Las Vegas Showgirl Museum. I can't wait for my next Vegas trip. All showgirls all the time! Sorry Ryan...

Facebook Page- FACEBOOK

All photos courtesy of Grant Philipo

-Philip Estrada
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