Gavin Miguel talks to MW on what it was like to design the costumes for Disney’s Beauty And The Beast musical, which is in its second run in India.

How were you approached for Beauty And The Beast?

I was flying in from Singapore, and just before boarding my flight I got a message from my team saying “Disney wants a meeting with you” and I was thinking “They must have got it wrong. I make couture gowns and bridal wardrobes, what could Disney want?” Once I got into the studio and understood the magnitude of the project, it began to sink in. The vision the Disney India team had for the musical from day one was huge, and something that our country had never witnessed before.

What attracted you to a production like this?

It was a great chance for me to experiment with theatre. I have been a part of many live shows, with actors performing on a stage like IIFA, but this is, and will be, by far the most awesome experience to date. Also, Beauty And The Beast was truly for my daughter Zaria. She lives and breathes this fairy tale in particular. She inspired me to take up this project, and she was very involved. She used to explain and reason out on the wardrobe of each character, and I would show her all my sketches of what I was proposing. Her “Yes” and “No” did make a huge impact on me tweaking some looks. I am glad that she was part of this awesome journey.

How is the process of designing for a musical different from designing for the ramp or for a fashion line?

It was a totally different experience, and a welcome change. Unlike a ramp show, where models have to wear the garments for a few minutes only, in the musical the performers have to sing, dance and run on the stage in the costumes for hours, and hence comfort was an important aspect. The story has some very interesting characters like the wolf, the objects and the Beast himself. There is a lot of technicality that went in for every kind of costume where I had to keep in mind quick change time, wear and tear of the garment and so on. Designing the wolf’s head, the fur contraptions and such was challenging but fun. The objects were an interesting one for me too and also the forks and spoons, as that is something I had never done before. Belle’s super quick change from the blue dress to the iconic yellow gown too was to be well planned. Belle’s yellow gown had to be airy and light, so we used light weight fabric and yet kept it voluminous.


 


What was your design brief?

The design brief was staying true to the iconic looks. I steered away from the regular cuts I had seen in past productions and was given a green signal as I presented my looks for the show. Adding my interpretation of mixing a bit of high end cuts to the silhouettes was great.

Name a memorable incident from your experience here.

For me, the whole experience was surreal. I got the opportunity to work with fabulous teams. Even in the most stressful situations, we worked together as a team to be able to provide a magical experience to the audiences.

Are theatre actors easier to work with than screen actors?

I think all departments have immense pressure to perform and deliver. For actors, be it on stage or on screen, I make sure I understand the design and technicality of the clothes for their performance, so that we are on the same page.

Is designing for the stage somethingyou want to do more of?

The experience was great fun, and if the project is as interesting as Beauty And The Beast, then yes.

Is there anything from this experience that will inspire your other fashion lines?

For sure!