Designer updating Twain's most famous looks for new show
Shania Twain makes her official arrival at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, Jason Bean)
Nick Patch, The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, December 1, 2012 7:23AM EST
LAS VEGAS -- Just outside the venue in Caesars Palace where Shania Twain will be performing her new show "Still the One" for the next two years, a series of glass cases display some of the eye-catching ensembles that the 47-year-old wore in her most memorable music videos.
There's the hooded animal-print number with matching bikini top that Twain wore in "That Don't Impress Me Much," the form-fitting leather and lace get-ups from "Gonna Getcha Good," the elegant nude evening gown from "From This Moment On" and the sharply tailored black suit and bowler hat (with veil) from "Man! I Feel Like a Woman."
Costume designer Marc Bouwer is the man behind Twain's forward-thinking fashion, having collaborated with the Canadian country singer for roughly 15 years.
And for her new Las Vegas show, Bouwer was tasked with bringing those designs into the new decade, an opportunity he relished.
"It was so great to be able to revisit all those iconic looks that we created so many years ago," Bouwer said Friday following Twain's news conference at Caesars.
"You always think you can do something better, and I don't know if they're better, but they're definitely different."
He pauses for just a moment, changing his mind.
"They are better," he adds, laughing. "It's great to revisit them and take them to another level when you have new technologies, new fabrications (and) the budget for the show is also a much bigger budget than you would have for a video. So it's just been great."
Still, preparing the costumes for Twain's ambitious new production was a taller task than simply updating some old designs.
The costumes for the Vegas residency, which is set to include 60 shows per year through 2014, had to combine some of the sizzle expected from the Strip with a down-to-Earth intimacy that fans would want from Twain's first public gigs in nearly eight-and-a-half years.
For Bouwer, that meant walking a fine line.
"It is a Vegas show but we didn't want to make it so Vegas that it was in-your-face glitz and glam -- feathers and smoke and whatever," said Bouwer, who was raised in South Africa but lives in New York.
"Obviously, there is beautiful, glittery stuff, sparkle, but in a very modern, strong way. And the show is really bam bam bam -- one great scene after the other, and there's a part of the show where things calm down a bit and it's quieter and you see a more intimate side of Shania.
"She's dressed down a little bit -- a little bit -- and then, bam! Back to the big guns."
Some of those costume changes require Twain to be quick on her feet, with less than two minutes to completely overhaul her outfit before she's required back onstage.
It's fortunate then that she and Bouwer have such a close working relationship. The designer says he has much admiration for the way Twain can turn on the glamour when she normally might prefer more modest clothes.
"There's the down-home, relaxed, simple life Shania -- sweatshirt, loose comfortable pants and some sneakers, no makeup, hair up in a ponytail or a clip. And then there's the transformation she goes through when she becomes the Shania we all love and adore ... that sexy fashion icon.
"It's great to see that transformation, how she can just turn it on and become this incredible superstar."