Publicado por Gemma Mondéjar : SECRETOS DE VESTUARIO: DETRÁS DE ‘THE CHEETAH GIRLS’
In January I discovered that our amazing Fashionista Resa McConaghy was soon to be interviewed by Gemma Mondéjar with the fabulous “Escribe La Moda”. To my delight the interview has taken place and can be read it in its entirety below. I apologize for not including the Spanish version of the interview but I was pressed for space. Read it all you Resa McConaghy fans and enjoy! Congratulations dear Resa, you are fantastic.
Cause we are sisters, we stand together… It’s hard to read it without singing it, isn’t it? This is not the first time we talk about Disney productions (nor will it be the last), but the occasion deserves it. Aesthetically, Disney Channel movies are very well crafted, although we have to admit that there is one that stands out from all the others: ‘The Cheetah Girls’.
Let’s face it, ‘The Cheetah Girls’ is the wonderful culprit that many of us are in love with animal print and it’s no wonder. Those of you who grew up watching this movie, already know what I’m referring to:
We could spend hours talking about how spectacular the outfits of Galleria (Raven-Symoné), Chanel (Adrienne Bailon), Aqua (Kiely Williams) and Dorinda (Sabrina Bryan) were, but I think it’s much better to know firsthand how these looks were created. To that end, I had the pleasure of talking to Resa McConaghy, the costume designer for ‘The Cheetah Girls’.Resa McConaghy was in charge of creating true works of art for this film, but it was not the only one. ‘The Good Witch’s Destiny’, ‘The Good Witch’s Charm’, ‘The Best Laid Plans’, ‘True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet’, ‘Hendrix’, ‘Keep the Faith, Baby’, ‘Sensitive Skin’ and ‘Michael: Every Day’, are some of the productions that can be found in the artist’s portfolio.
The designer continues: “Third were the actors’ visions of their character. The girls were all very thrilled, filled with ideas and they were very inspiring to me. Not only did I have fittings with each girl individually, but we had group presentations and brain storming. Fourth, I had to keep them young looking. They are aMer all young teens. Yet, the girls themselves were already fairly sophisticated. For this purpose I used lots of colour, and lots of fun in styling“.
As we have already mentioned, accessories were a very important part of the cheetahs’ wardrobe. Not only because they gave personality to each character, but also because they made the looks even more unique: “Accessories were very important. The first accessories I bought for the girls were in Soho, New York City. Each Cheetah girl had a special touch. I remember Aqua loved hearts. I recall one day Kiely came to me with a sparkly heart she bought, and asked if Aqua could wear hearts. Being from Texas, she wore faux cowboy boots. Galleria, being the leader of the group wore stars. She had a great Star buckle, star necklaces and earrings. Chanel was more anything goes, as she was the shopper. She liked big hoops and big rings. Dorinda was from a poor family. She was styled in a fun young biker look. She had a lot of cuﬀs and belts with studs or chain like feel“, the designer tells us.
he outfits worn by the protagonists in their day-to-day scenes are a real wonder, but the looks from their performances are completely iconic. If you have noticed, in each performance there is a common aesthetic thread, something that makes them all wear the same style but adapted to the personality and taste of each one, which is what makes these looks so special. This fact leads us to an inevitable question: Were these outfits created especially for them? Resa’s answer is clear: “Yes!”. Pay attention to the details that the artist gives us about each performance:
TOGETHER WE CAN
“I designed each outfit especially for each Cheetah. Of course I worked very closely with the girls to ensure their characters remained true. The outfits were made in our studio. The Cheetah print was bought on Canal Street, New York City. Of course the boots were bought, as well as the stockings. They were bought in Toronto. All of the accessories were made in our studio”.Girl Power”This was a mix’n’match styling and building job. Chanel’s skirt and head piece were custom made, Galleria’s jacket is a Versace. It was so cool, that I couldn’t resist putting out the money. I added the sparkly ‘Cheetah Girls’ to the top under it, and her sash was made in our studio. Aqua’s skirt and sash were custom made. Dorinda’s outfit was entirely made especially for her, except the motorcycle boots”.https://www.youtube.com/embed/V9IKHFHA9DA
Believe it or not, it’s been 18 years since the film was released, which brings us to the last question: What trends would the cheetahs follow if the film were shot in the present day? “I would go more with sustainable fashion trends. It’s one of the ways we can help our planet for the future. So, this would mean as many fabrics as possible that are without synthetics. We like to think that we are recycling when we donate our old clothes to charities, or put them in a shop’s bin for repurposing. It’s not working out very well. Of course the ideals of this idea could not overrun the look of the Cheetah Girls. Yet, it would be fabulous to leading the way to a greener future. After all, I always saw the Cheetahs as youth cultural leaders. I would also use paint. I would paint Cheetah print and other designs on some of the clothes, make art out of them. I would make it so cool, that the pieces could be cut up, framed and become art you could hang on a wall”, Resa explains.
Knowing how some of the outfits that have been a reference for a whole generation were created is something indescribable. The fans of this film and of Resa’s incredible work will agree with me when I say that the costumes in this production are not unique, it is unrepeatable. The cheetah girls would not have been the same, nor would they have reached the soul of so many people without those outfits so original and full of personality that helped many of us to find our identity and get out of our comfort zone. Undoubtedly, and although we will continue to talk about the costumes of some more Disney productions, there is (and will never be) a wardrobe as iconic as the one Resa McConaghy gave us.