As Harmonizers around the globe know, Fifth Harmony just kicked off the summer leg of their Reflection Tour, and went all-out, wardrobe-wise.
Costume designer Marina Toybina has been working with the five ladies since they were contestants on X Factor and teamed up with them again for their bright blue performance outfits. We spoke to her about coordination, the design principles for each girl, and more.
MTV: Hi! So, can you tell us about how you and Fifth Harmony first linked up?
Marina Toybina: I used to be a costume designer for X Factor—all three seasons—and the girls were on the show as contestants in season two, so that's when we met each other for the first time.
MTV: Cool! Did you guys work together after X Factor at all, or is the Reflection Tour your first time reconnecting?
Toybina: I've been in contact with them since the X Factor, but we hadn't be able to work together. Now that we've been reconnected, though, it's been amazing.
MTV: In designing for a tour, you obviously have to keep in mind them moving around and dancing, are there any tricks to having the wardrobe help them out?
Toybina: For me, the main thing is making sure the comfort and functionality is there when they're standing still, as well as moving around. The key for on tour is the fabrication and the way that we build things. So, making sure that the bases are made of stretch, everything has a movement—that can move along with the body, can absorb sweat, absorb heat—and then at the same time using proper threading, to make sure we can limit as much wear-and-tear as possible.
MTV: How many costumes are on this tour?
Toybina: This time around we did one look, just for this leg of the tour. This is a pretty high energy tour, so I think avoiding quick-changes was the way to go, just to keep them on stage as much as possible.
MTV: Did the girls give any input into what they wear on stage, or are they down to go with the flow?
Toybina: I have such a great relationship with them because I've known them since the very beginning, so we have very open communication. I know what they're into and what they're about, so when it came time to do the tour costumes, we collaborated. I'd have my ideas based on their individuality and who they are and what I know of them. Then I'd sketch down a few designs and send them back and forth until we were sure the fit and the style was perfect.
MTV: Yeah, that's actually one major thing we were wondering—how do you make sure each girl sticks out as an individual while also, obviously, being cohesive as a group?
Toybina: The cool thing is because they are five completely different personalities, they're already representing themselves as individuals, whether it's through their personalities or through their personal styles. To keep them uniformed or cohesive as one group—for the tour, especially—I went with one color that ties them all together. As far as the actual design of each costume, that's when I make sure each girl stands out in her own way, based on body shape, silhouette, and personal references and preferences that they had.
There are performances where I tie them in through a color, and then there are performances when each one looks completely different and they can pull off pretty much anything at this point.
MTV: When she was designing for Destiny's Child, Tina Knowles revealed that she would always highlight Beyonce's legs and Kelly's arms and midriff. Are there specific design elements for each girl that show up frequently?
Toybina: Absolutely, I mean, they know who they are better than anyone else, so they know their bodies, and their silhouettes, and what they like and don't like, and they guide me through it. It's little things, like for Camila we always try to do a high neck, some kind of interesting sleeve, and go separates on the pieces. For Lauren, for instance, it's more of a sleeker fit, so we went with a corset. Normani's a bit on the edgier side, so we did cutouts to accentuate the body. I do take in their personal life and what they're comfortable with, and from there design something modern, new, and innovative, but then also bring it in to center them as a core group.