Lace Inc.’s Laurie Callicutt talks Marilyn Monroe, the right gown versus the wrong gown—and bling.
Laurie Callicutt wants to be clear. She is not a designer.
“I am a stylist,” says Callicutt, the creator of Lace Inc., which helps entertainers make the most of their presentation. “I take pieces from everywhere to create a look and set a mood. I specialize in creating an image that defines how your audience will see you.”
Callicutt stresses entertainers can obtain anything they want, so long as they dress for the part.
ED Magazine spoke with Callicutt to glean some insight from a woman who designs outfits for those performers whose ultimate end game is disrobing.
ED: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
CALLICUTT: I draw inspiration from classic Hollywood images and from key runway moments in fashion. Think of Marilyn Monroe in her white dress from “The Seven Year Itch” or her pink gown in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”—a single snapshot of her in one of those gowns can recreate the feeling you had when you first saw her. A great evening gown can sear into the minds of your audience the feeling they had when they first saw you walk into the room or appear on stage. Remember the 2000 Grammy Awards? Jennifer Lopez and the green Versace dress? The right dress on the right woman can captivate our imagination and make history.
ED: How do you use fashion trends to help sculpt your stylings?
CALLICUTT: Every piece of a woman’s outfit—her shoes, hairstyle, choice of jewelry—plays a part in telling her story. Start with how you want to feel or better yet, start with how you want your audience to feel about you. Your gown is the first thing that outlines your shape, enhances your curves and announces your arrival when you enter a room. It’s choice of color can tell the world about the kind of woman you are.
The most popular look with most of my clients is to wear a nude gown with crystals, beaded or sequined embellishments. With a gown of this type when you walk across the stage under the lights you appear to be naked and covered in jewels. Pair this look with a flesh-colored thong and crystal or rhinestone-covered shoes and the effect can be breathtaking.
ED: What role do gowns play in an entertainer’s persona/performance, and how can the right or wrong gown help or doom an entertainer?
CALLICUTT: The right dress should inspire men to want to take it off you. Or in the words of Sophia Loren, “A woman’s dress should be like a barbed wire fence: serving its purpose without obstructing the view.” Think of a great dress as beautiful packaging. Like many fine gifts, the beautiful packaging often indicates the item contained within is of a higher value. The number-one reason for entertainers to wear gowns is so that they can make more money. No one ever made a million dollars in spandex. If you want to earn better tips, higher booking fees, and just have more fans and admirers, you have to look the part of the star you want to be.
Of course, the wrong dress can hurt. It has to fit your frame to enhance your curves and your dress should make you feel like the most beautiful woman in the room. There are so many styles and colors and materials to choose from that I suggest you try on a lot until you find the perfect fit. Alterations can be a simple way to take your look from good to great.
ED: You’ve said you’re of the belief, “There is no such thing as too much bling.” Where does that belief stem from?
CALLICUTT: This actually came about when I was helping girls put together looks at a club that had decided to go to full-length gowns and try to eliminate the “stripper” look. We started with some inexpensive gowns, and to make them appear less casual, we added rhinestone jewelry, hair accessories and gloves.
I would select a necklace and earrings and a bracelet and something for the hair and girls would often ask, “Is it too much?” Too much? I maintain that men do not pay admission to clubs to see average. And besides, the dress comes off. No one removes their jewelry on stage. If you are standing under the lights on stage nude, how much more fabulous are you going to appear when those very same stage lights designed to show you off are also causing every piece of jewelry to twinkle so that even the people in the back of the room can’t help but notice you are the show? Too much sparkle? Too many diamonds? Why, I just don’t think so.
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