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Julieanne Mijares: They are. Theyíre made of a really soft chamois, deerskin.

FF: I love the way you shirred the pants for Chilli. Is that what they are? Are they shirred?

Julieanne Mijares: Yes, they have drawstrings that go all the way up the side of the leg, and on the inside as well.

FF: Incredible. I donít know how you come up with these things. And the belts around the knees. What gave you the idea for these costumes? I think they are just thrilling.

Julieanne Mijares: Thank you. Well, Chilli always tells me that her favorite costumes were the ones I did for their first MTV appearance, which were made from deerskin. And also, black cutout costumes that TLC wore to the Blockbuster Awards a few years ago.

And those were always her two favorite outfits. So I told her what I was going to do would be to go to a new version of those two costumes, since they were her favorites. And so the chamois costumes for Dear Lie were the 1999 version of the deerskin outfits I had done for their first MTV Awards.

And the outfits TLC just wore to the MTV Awards this last time, the black cutout ones with the beads, were the newer version of the Blockbuster Awards.

FF: Letís talk about the costumes for No Scrubs. I guess this video was planned to be somewhat futuristic.

Costume illustrations by Tito from Empire for Julieanne for the No Scrubs video.

Julieanne Mijares: Yes. When Fanmail came out, thatís the girlsí CD, when you listen to it, there are a lot of computer-generated sounds. Thereís a girl named Virtual Vicky on the CD. Sheís a futuristic, robotic girl, who talks in the segues between the songs. And it sounds very futuristic. So the girls had the idea that they wanted to look that same way on their album cover. Then, after that, the first video came up. They wanted to go forward with the same feeling. They asked me what ideas I had, and I said I want to make them little super heroes, these sexy super heroes. And the girls liked the idea. And thatís what we came up with.

FF: And the outfit, the sort of cobalt blue outfit with sparkles in it that Left-Eye is wearing, what is it made out of?

Left-Eye on the set of No Scrubs.

Julieanne Mijares: Well, thereís a little chrome metal helmet hat, with two things coming out of the sides. And then the cobalt blue sparkly fabric is a vinyl that I padded, and then I had some other metal pieces made to go over that; a breastplate. Thereís a mechanical arm piece that goes all the way to the hands, and then thereís a bikini part that goes over, and then leg guards that go from the knee down. Those are all metal.

FF: Where did you think this up? Itís the most amazing, original thing Iíve seen. The hand element alone is amazing.

Julieanne Mijares: Often youíll be changing the TV channel, and youíll see a cartoon, and you can be inspired by that. And thatís exactly what inspired me. I was watching a cartoon. And I was in a magazine store one day, with my friendís little boy, and he was looking at Japanese comic books. And I looked at them, and I saw all these really great anime characters.

And I just thought, thatís it! They have to be these sexy super hero girls.

FF: In the same video, the girls wear beautiful white outfits that have feather elements. Itís an interesting sort of juxtaposition to the very futuristic costumes. Tell me how that was decided, and how you developed that idea.

Chilli on the set of No Scrubs.

Julieanne Mijares: Remember when I was telling you how things just happen on the spur of the moment; you just have to think of something? I knew I had to have another performance outfit. And I knew I had the two futuristic costumes, the silver and the black that were very spacey. And I wanted to think of something that was softer, that would still fit in with the set, that was ultra modern.

Left-Eye on the No Scrubs set.

And so I thought of white outfits against the silver set, and I saw this great Issey Miyake fabric. And I took it to Linda Stokes of LSO Designs. They made all the clothing for No Scrubs. And actually, they had the fabric; they showed it to me. And we went from there.

T-Boz on the No Scrubs set.

And there are different fabrics mixed in. Thereís leather, Chilliís pants are leather. Thereís leather and silk in all of those costumes.

FF: Iím looking at the picture of the 1996 Grammy Awards, and Iím looking at the fabric of the pants on the three girls. Itís really interesting, because T-Boz is wearing a white fabric that has sort of a criss-cross.

Julieanne Mijares: Are those the hobo tuxedos youíre looking at?

FF: Yes, yes.

Above, hobo tuxedo costumes illustrated
by Tito from Empire for Julianne.

Julieanne's daybook page from the 1996 Grammies.

TLC backstage at the 1996 Grammies.

Julieanne Mijares: Those are mostly silk. All of their costumes are different fabrications of silk. And those are one of my favorites.

FF: The sketches are beautiful.

Julieanne Mijares: I have a wonderful illustrator. His name is Tito, from Empire.

FF: Iím also curious about your accessory treatments -- the fingerless gloves and arm bands and wrist bands -- all of the pieces you design. Theyíre also so gorgeous. Are those made by someone else? How do you decide to incorporate them? When do you think you need them, and when do you think you donít need them?

Julieanne Mijares: I make all those decisions once I see what the initial design is. And then I look at it, and I consider whoís wearing which costume, and what their personalities are.

There are so many people I work with that I enjoy working with, but TLC is just such a huge thing by themselves, you know. Iíve wanted to just stick with them, because theyíre so wonderful, and theyíre such a great canvas to work with.

And so Iíll just speak with regard to TLC to answer your question. Iíll think of Chilli; you know she likes very simple, understated things. So I wouldnít put gloves and arm bands and things like that on her. But Left-Eye thrives on them. Sheíll go anywhere you want to take her. T-Boz is the same way. She really loves to try new things and different looks. Obviously, with her hair, itís different all the time.

FF: I love her hair and makeup in No Scrubs -- the crimson color.

Julieanne Mijares: Right.

FF: Itís gorgeous. I wish I had the nerve to do that.

Julieanne Mijares: I know, me too. But all three of them are so individual, and thatís how I decide. I look at which girl itís for, and where I can go with them, and whatíll be the best for each of them.

FF: Thatís so much fun too, that theyíre all so open to it. Theyíre different, and they also have perfect bodies, and beautiful faces.

Julieanne Mijares: Perfect bodies, beautiful faces. And regarding the gloves and the accessories, sometimes Iíll have the gloves made by a glove maker. Most of the time the arm pieces and all the accessories are made by the same people making the costumes.

FF: And what about the shoes?

Julieanne Mijares: Same thing with the shoes. Depending on how much time I have, Iíll have the shoes custom made. If I donít have time, and I have to get something quickly, like for a photo shoot, Iíll get something from a store.

FF: And do you have dressing forms for each girl, so that you can eliminate fittings, or do your seamstresses have them?

Julieanne Mijares: They do.

FF: And for a tour, how many duplicates of costumes do you create, in case something rips during a performance or whatever else can happen?

Coming up, TLC's current tour in support of Fanmail....