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Ooooooohhh...On The TLC Tip
Mijares: Two at the minimum of each thing.
FF: And the costumes you did for the recent concert in Japan?
Julieanne Mijares: Those I have to tell you about, because they started out as you see them. And I ended up doing them in neon colors. And I switched the styles around for each girl. So Chilliís ended up a florescent blue; T-Bozís was fuschia, hot pink. And Left-Eye was the florescent orange. And Left-Eye had the florescent lime green one that I was rotating between her and Tionne. So they ended up being florescent colors, those three outfits.
FF: And made out of what kind of fabric?
Julieanne Mijares: Vinyl for the overskirt, very shiny vinyl, and then a thick nylon parachute-y fabric for the pants, and a cotton spandex for the part that was around the butt and the hips.
FF: And are the shoes similar, or have they changed as well?
Julieanne Mijares: The shoes were similar, but a little bit higher platform, not so flat. Because I like to give them a little height.
FF: And the US tour costumes for Scene Five, which are black and sparkly ...
Julieanne Mijares: Yeah, lots of rhinestones ...
FF: Oh those are rhinestones, neat.
Julieanne Mijares: And itís like a black lamť fabric.
Julieanne Mijares: And mixed in with black satin, lots of rhinestones and very sparkly black lamť.
And those costumes have incredible coats -- black patent leather raincoats. The girls are in a virtual rainstorm on the stage Ė itís on the video screen behind them. So they wanted to have raincoats. And I thought it would be really cool to have a watery effect.
Julieanne Mijares: You always ask me how I get inspired. Well, here in LA thereís a water truck company that comes and delivers water, big jugs of water, right to your house.
And on the side of the trucks, there are blue wavy things with little metal pieces. As the truck drives down the road, it shakes, and it looks real watery. And I thought, Iím going to make them the raincoats, and I want to have that effect on the inside of the raincoat.
So I thought, what if I put silver paillettes on the inside of black patent leather raincoats? But I want them to be dangly, not sewn down tight. And so thatís what I did. And they came out really great.
So instead of having it on the outside, when they open their coats and theyíre running around the stage, they have all these wavy silvery things going on in the inside of their coats.
FF: That goes against expectation, which makes it that much more interesting. And then Iím also looking at the Lady of Soul Awards outfits.
Julieanne Mijares: Left-Eye has the pocket pants on.
FF: They look great.
Julieanne Mijares: She likes them.
FF: And what are they made out of?
Julieanne Mijares: Left-Eyeís pocket pants are made out of a combination of white leather pockets, and I think the other fabric was a blend of Spandex cotton I think. Like kind of a denim-y stretch.
FF: And so once you get your idea, at what point, even if itís before you have the illustration done, do people start bringing you fabric swatches? How does the process happen?
Julieanne Mijares: The process is very spontaneous. Iíll get an idea as Iím driving in my car, and Iíll call Linda -- the lady at LSO Designs -- and Iíll say I have this idea. Put it in your thinking cap, and see what fabrics you can think of that will be conducive to this idea.
And then it might be one or two in the morning, I might drive over there. It could be any time of the day or night. And weíll sit on the floor, and weíll go through fabrics, and Iíll say I like this, no this wonít work. And then she may not have anything, and then weíll have to go on a search from the East Coast to the West Coast looking for what I have in my head.
FF: So then people just start calling wherever ...
Julieanne Mijares: You know, itís crazy.
FF: I guess LSO keeps the same sort of hours you do.
Julieanne Mijares: They absolutely do. Theyíre so wonderful. All the people who work with me give their input. They are all part of the whole process. Itís not me; itís definitely much more the people around me than me.
FF: And tell me about your staff.
Julieanne Mijares: My right hand and savior of everything is Laurie Chang; sheís been with me about four years. I couldnít function without her. And she keeps me focused and centered and on time. And she does everything, and makes everything happen the way itís supposed to happen. And then, depending on the size of the job, I have another assistant, Zoe Battles, and another one when Iím in New York, Karim Donayre, and several others that work with me. So it can go anywhere from one person on one job, to usually about three people in addition to myself.
And those are just people working on the job with me. That hasnít anything to do with the people who are constructing the costumes.
FF: And do you have a studio you work out of?
Julieanne Mijares: I have an office in my home that I work out of.
And just because of the nature of the business, Iím hardly ever here, so Iím working either out of a hotel room, or in my car. Just running.
FF: When TLC is on tour, youíre usually not with them. Right?
Julieanne Mijares: Right.
FF: But is there ever an occasion, either an emergency or somethingís come up, and you know you need to be there -- does that sort of thing occur?
Julieanne Mijares: Absolutely. Normally, when the tour starts, Iíll go initially to the dress rehearsals, go to the first couple of shows, and do spot checks. But there are highly experienced wardrobe people on the tour with them right now, so I feel very comfortable that itís in their hands, and we keep in constant communication.
FF: I saw TLC during the fall on the Leno show. You know, I was blown away by the costumes. Were those costumes made specifically for that appearance?
Julieanne Mijares: Yes. I made them specifically for that show. And I was so surprised that you saw that. Even though itís a national show. And it was so amazing, because Cher was on the show that night, and I was so honored, because after that show, she called me, too.
FF: Your work isnít lost on anybody. I particularly loved the pants with the leafy feathery effect, from the way the fabric bits were sewn on the mesh pants. I just thought those were fantastic.
Julieanne Mijares: Thank you.
FF: I wanted to ask you about the Waterfalls video. The pants with the sort of sash-scarves wrapped around. Theyíre dyed a very beautiful way, and they look gauzy and very delicate. What were they made of, and were they hand dyed?
Julieanne Mijares: TLC told me about the Waterfalls video, and that they were going to be on water, and I just thought, whatever they have on has to look very dreamy, with the sky in the background. I wanted it to have a fluid, translucent look to it. And so I had that in my mind immediately. And I went to a store one day owned by a designer who specializes in hand dyeing. And I asked him to help. And he said yes. And he just did a great job.
They were a drawstring, low, hip-hugger pant, and I wanted those big sashes to tie over them.
FF: Yes. I love them. And tell me if you have any other plans for the future, aside from what youíre doing now, or the expansion of what youíre doing now.
Julieanne Mijares: I donít, thatís the whole thing. Iíve been approached several times by various people about doing my own line of clothing, but I canít ever stop for two seconds to think about executing it. So I guess when I have time to slow down, Iíll be able to think about what the next project, or the next stage of my life -- what direction itís going to go in.
FF: And when you do have down time, do you travel, or do you just rest? What do you do when you get to take a break?
Julieanne Mijares: Collapse.
FF: Collapse, right, thatís what I do.
Julieanne Mijares: And I just want to sit and do nothing.
FF: I know. Itís all consuming, isnít it?
Julieanne Mijares: But I just havenít had any down time. Iíve planned two vacations this year and had to cancel both of them.
FF: Oh gosh.
Julieanne Mijares: So ...
FF: When we first began to chat, you told me you were surprised, in your early years as a designer, that people from the hip hop world were seeking you out to style their clothes and create their looks for them. Why were you surprised about that?
Julieanne Mijares: Because when you see me in person, I donít look like a hip hop girl at all. You wouldnít think I would know anything about it, or be able to get what theyíre doing. And thatís why I was surprised, because I thought, why would they think that I would be able to really get what theyíre about in all the hip hop videos and in their music. And one time, I asked a guy, why would you want me? And he said, because you have flava. And I never forgot that. I thought that was really cool.
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