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“You work within the box you’re given, conceptually and economically. If the choice was to use a lesser quality product, I might think of the garment in a different way. I wouldn’t depend on THE BEAUTIFUL FLASH THAT A SWAROVSKÎ RHINESTONE BRINGS TO THE TABLE.” might do a different approach. But that was within the box that I was given to play with, and so you make choices. As with any business, really, there's a give-and-take to where the story is asking you to pull out all the stops. And that number is the place where you want to pull out all the stops. Swarovskî will love me saying this, but you're not going to get that flash and that beautiful shine from anything else. MW: Let’s be clear, when we say crystals, we're not talking about incredibly valuable crystals. BARNES: [Laughs.] No, no, no, no. It's not that precious a thing. I mean, the funny thing is the real cost with any costume is always in the labor. If you have a garment that cost — I'm going to just throw out a $5,000 figure, but it can be a $10,000 figure, it can be $20,000, sometimes costumes cost as much as a car — if you look at the materials that go into making the costume, that might be not even ten percent of that. Basically it's the labor. Worldwide, every shop has health benefits, and rent, and garbage pick-up, and electrical bills. Maintaining these huge spaces, a single costume shop may have maybe the entire floor of a building with eighty people working in it, so all of that is spread out over the cost of making a garment. In the case of rhinestones, I don't know exactly what the cost would be per unit of costume. Sometimes, too, we get a deal.

Like Swarovskî will sponsor. I think in London they sponsored Aladdin. When I did Dreamgirls there, the same thing happened. They gave us $100,000, basically like a gift card. I could buy that much of their product with this card, and in turn they get sponsorship. They do special events, and they film you working on things. They show how you're using the product, hopefully in imaginative and different ways. MW: Your drawings for Aladdin are gorgeous. I’m curious, are you ever surprised by the tangible results either in a good way or in a bad way? BARNES: Both, truthfully. I mean, of course, the hope is that when the actual costume comes out for the first time you will be delighted, and it will be more than you imagined. But there are times when it comes out, and you want to put a leash on it and walk it around the block. You never really know. I think it's why, when you look at any program, you'll see that the director very often works with the same team, because they have a history. You become like a family. They're hoping that you will deliver what you promised on that two-dimensional piece of paper. I take the sketching part very seriously, maybe in some ways too seriously, because nobody ever sees those. They're really there to inform the director what you're up to. MW: I’m glad you adhered to the original cartoon and allowed

AUGUST 15, 2019 • METROWEEKLY.COM

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Profile for Metro Weekly

The Costumes of Aladdin  

The Costumes of Aladdin: Gregg Barnes pulled out all the colorful, glittery, glamorous stops when designing the 337 costumes for Disney’s Al...

The Costumes of Aladdin  

The Costumes of Aladdin: Gregg Barnes pulled out all the colorful, glittery, glamorous stops when designing the 337 costumes for Disney’s Al...