Hairspray,” one of the hottest tickets in town, was certainly one of the week’s highlights for the 16 guests whose spouses were downtown attending the summit. But the highlight followed the show when costume designer William Ivey Long treated them to a close-up of the costumes, his drawings and a charming, chatty rundown of how it’s all done. Pointing to one of Harvey Fierstein’s gowns, Long noted: “This is a real Mae West-Pink Flamingo dress. And when Harvey has fittings he has to be in full wig; he must be Edna [the show’s outsize leading lady] when he’s trying on the costumes.”
This story first appeared in the November 18, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
When asked about the cost of the elaborate costumes, the designer responded thoughtfully: “I really never like answering that when so many people are starving. I look at this as helping New Yorkers by giving lots of people work.” If that sounds a bit coy, it’s not. Long is as emotional and sentimental as he is talented: “This show is full of Cinderella revelations. I just cry some nights when I’m here.”