On-line special interview excerpt: Sue Blane!
If you know the name of only one non-actor from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, you probably know Sue Blane's. Amateur RH costumers everywhere have a love-hate relationship with her costume designs: from the deceptively simple to devilishly difficult, we love them enough to want to copy them, yet are daunted as we find the devil really is in the details. "I take the detail first, and then I expand it," Blane explains. What Rocky fans may not know is that Blane's first love is actually set design.
"As set designer, you have complete control from day one, and it's fantastic. I grew up as a set designer; costumes fell into [my repertoire] due to Rocky. I didn't do Rocky for eight or nine years: I was busy doing set design work and didn't want to be known as a costume designer.
"Costume design has to be sculptural: it has to be three-dimensional-you have to know how to build a stage to make a costume....I could give or take costume design. As a costume designer I fulfill the role of a set designer: I put all the emotion into a costume that I would into a [set] design."
Blane doesn't have a favorite Rocky costume souvenir: "I gave them all away!" Still, she does have a few favorite costumes from the different versions. Her favorite in the current UK Tour, for example, is the chiffon and rhinestone outfit [similar to Frank's film 'dinner outfit'] which debuted in the Silver Anniversary UK tour. "It's the first time we've put the 'cocktail dress' back in," she says. "I'm the biggest fan of the show, but it's a really fast change. It [the costume change] really isn't achievable, but we did it!"
When asked her all-time favorite, Blane picked two pieces:
"The first one is Frank's first corset, from The Maids. I did everything on it. I painted it, put the sequins on, turned it upside down, and fitted it to him. [Blane notes that this corset was the only Show piece that made it into the film, and she thinks it was replaced early on.] The other is Janet's hat from the film. I bought it from Swan and Edgar...it was a huge department store, selling out of everything. I was in a hurry; I whizzed in and bought this terrible hat for Janet. It was bent when I bought it; it was bent when I put it on her head. It reminds me of shopping for Rocky."
How does Blane keep the Rocky designs fresh?
"I had a long time away from it: it was carried on by the likes of Yasmine [Pettigrew, the original Show's costume mistress] and others. I didn't get another real crack at it until 1990. I did my best to move it on a bit; we all then decided it was better to take it back a bit." She describes the current UK tour as "a return to the classics." "It's a revival; you're building on what you had before. With a musical like Rocky, it only happens once in a lifetime."
Of course, we had to ask a few costume-specific questions....
For the complete interview, order your copy of issue 54, which also includes articles on a Rocky wedding, South Park art, and the abandoned lab props at Bray Studios.
On-line special: Q&A with Richard O'Brien!
A Crazed exclusive. Reprinted from Crazed Imaginations #53...which also includes a fabulous Richard centerfold, unreleased song lyrics, photos from Ritz as Eddie to the Crystal Maze to Mephistopheles Smith, the Transylvania conventions, and Richard on the world's greatest inventions (not what you think)...and more.
If you are a Richard fan, you need this issue!
For more Richard goodies, order your copy of issue 53, which also includes Ritz on morality, Richard at Retrofest, a review of the music from Richard's detective musical "The Stripper," what's in Richard's fridge, and pages and pages of photos.