Designing for a celebrity, never mind for a self-described “legendary diva,” is no easy feat. Not only must the designer factor in the immense pressure that comes with worldwide exposure and deal with the requisite level of high-maintenance, entitlement and pickiness that comes with a diva client, but also more often than not the designer isn’t exactly working with a runway-size frame.
“Well, she’s a little bit difficult to design for because she is a larger-size girl, so we need to find flattering silhouettes — wrap dresses, whether it’s a knit or woven fabric, always look good on her,” Stephen Rotonadro says. “She also looks stunning in sheaths and we’ve done those in both day and evening fabrics.”
This story first appeared in the October 1, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“She” is Miss Piggy and between her voluptuous figure and brassy personality, Rotondaro — lead costumer for ABC’s “The Muppets” — could be in over his head. But Rotondaro is well versed in the parameters of Miss Piggy; after all, he’s survived her for eight years and has created all manner of Muppet glamour from her.
“The dress she wore for Josh Groban,” he says, citing the most arduous look so far in the production. “The bodice was metallic sequins and rhinestones and then the skirt was bouillon-embroidered organza. It was labor intensive with those fabrics.” And lest anyone doubt, Rotonadro clarifies: “These are fully functional pieces. Everything zips and buttons and is lined. They’re real garments.”
In Rotondaro’s view, Miss Piggy’s style can be described as “classic and timeless.” As for Miss Piggy herself, here WWD speaks with her on her approach to fashion and whether she considers herself a style icon.
WWD: Were you at all hesitant to do reality TV?
Miss Piggy: As a celebrity, moi does not do “reality” — on TV. Our ABC show “The Muppets” is a documentary-style series that captures my life as a legendary diva and host of a ridiculously entertaining late night talk show “Up Late With Miss Piggy.” But, any connection between that and “real life” is purely coincidental. After all, what is the point of being famous if you can’t create your own reality?
WWD: You’re always very coiffed. What is your beauty routine? How do you get camera ready?
M.P.: And you are remarkably observant! It’s true that I am always perfectly coiffed, moisturized, powdered, styled and otherwise fabulously turned out. My routine is simple — I have a team of makeup artists and hairdressers on call 24/7. However, in the unlikely event that I don’t look my best, I have a publicist who is absolutely marvelous at getting rid of unflattering photos.
WWD: What beauty tips can you share?
M.P.: My biggest beauty secret is contouring. I believe in using whatever means necessary — makeup, lighting, special effects — to draw attention to my best features. Of course, with as many best features as I have, it’s fun to choose a different one each day. For instance, on Monday I may draw attention to my cheeks, Tuesday is for my eyes, Wednesday is for my left ear and so forth. It usually takes about a month and a half to highlight all of my best features.
WWD: Let’s talk about fashion. What are you wearing right now. Who are your favorite designers?
M.P.: Right now, I am wearing a fabulous jewel-encrusted A-line dress created for me by my personal clothier. Moi has so many designers who I’ve worked with and adore — and who adore moi — that I worry I’ll forget to name someone. Ah, what the heck, they’ll get over it — there’s Donna Karan, Vivienne Westwood, Zac Posen, Marc Jacobs, Jeremy Scott, Christian Louboutin and Brian Atwood to name a few. Some of my fashion idols include Coco Chanel, Jeanne Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior. If you are a famous designer and I didn’t mention you this time, please send over some couture and I’ll make sure you get a plug in my next interview.
WWD: How would you describe your personal style? Does it change when you’re off-camera?
M.P.: With “The Muppets,” I am never off camera. They follow me everywhere!. So I always have to maintain a seamless continuum of high style. How would I define that style? Enchanting, enthralling, entrancing. And when I’m out on a date: sassy, saucy and seductive.
WWD: How has your style evolved over the years? Are there any outfits that looking back make you cringe?
M.P.: I have become far more discriminating about what I wear. There was a time when I wafted in the winds of every fashion trend. As for most of us, this resulted in some extremely unfortunate run-ins with spandex, bejeweled headbands and can’t-get-through-the-doorway shoulder pads. However, I’m now my own fashionista. I don’t follow trends. I am the trend.
WWD: Do you consider yourself a fashion icon?
M.P.: Of course I’m a fashion icon! Otherwise WWD wouldn’t be here interviewing moi. What a silly question!
WWD: Do you think you’ve shown that women of all shapes and sizes can look great in great clothes?
M.P.: Absolutely! I believe that style comes in all sizes, and therefore the bigger you are, the more stylish you are. So, whoever you are and whatever your size, love yourself for who you are! And if that doesn’t work out, love me for who I am.
WWD: What’s your fashion mantra?
M.P.: When it comes to fashion, I believe in pleasing yourself first. If you’re happy with how you look, don’t worry about pleasing others — it’s not as if their opinion actually matters! Also, I believe that what you wear should say something about you. My clothes always make a statement, and that statement is usually: “Hey, look at me, I’m wearing something original, expensive…and I got the network to pay for it!”