Styling a Hip Hop Period Piece. BTS of Planet Asia’s Music Video “Mystique”

3 Nov

I LOVE period pieces! I also LOVE hip hop! This music video was an awesome collaboration of seemingly different worlds. And yet it all flows very cleanly. I’m very happy to have worked on the wardrobe, and with some awesome people!

When Varras Tower (the director) approached me about this project, he initially asked about making the costumes from scratch. Of course my immediate concern was time and budget. A period piece set in the 1890s requires a lot of attention to detail on the wardrobe. We were faced with the dilemma of having looks that were authentic to the period, but still in budget and fitting to Varras’ vision. We decided on an original Victorian look with a pinch of goth and a dash of steampunk. The game plan being to purchase and rent reproduction costumes, mixed with some vintage items that I had in my collection, and a few of my hand made accessories to complete the looks.


Our cast included 3 main female characters and 2 main male characters (the artists, Planet Asia and Purple Kloud), and an intricate short story to tell that required several outfit changes for each of the characters.

My first step was to sketch out the basic outfit idea for each character. I then ran the ideas by Varras, and once approved, started searching for the items that were closest to my vision.

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I knew the best route was online and thrift store shopping, to get the best prices, and to fit into our time frame. Etsy and eBay were my main hangouts on a daily basis!

We ran into a couple hiccups- one corset came in the wrong color, and a pair of ruffled shorts came in with stains! We didn’t have time to get a replacement on the shorts, so I made a makeshift skirt out of some tule fabric the day of shooting.

My advice when ordering online– have a backup plan in case something isn’t right! And- if you’re not sure about sizes, ordering too big is better than ordering too small! You can easily take an item in whereas making a piece bigger is another ballgame.


The plan for the guys costumes was to hit up Orlando Vintage for rentals. Unfortunately, I was out of town when Planet Asia and Purple Kloud went for their fittings, so we utilized FaceTime. Not the best way to conduct a fitting, but we made it work.

The only thing we didn’t try on the PA was the rental ascot tie. Thinking that it would be like a regular ascot, but of course it was a reproduction, and had a velcro fastener that ended up being too small for Planet Asia… which we didn’t discover until the day of shooting. SO in the middle of the shoot, I had to run out and look for a regular bow tie to suffice. The closest places were Target (nothing!), TJ Maxx (only funky colors and prints!), a vintage/thrift shop (nothing!) and finally, Ross saved the day with a nice grey simple bow tie for the low low price of  just $4.99! (I may have done a slight victory dance when I finally found it!)


The location itself, The Doctor Phillips house, was awesome to be in. I love old houses. You can just feel the history. You can imagine the people that lived there and how different their world’s must have been. And yet, you are standing in the place that they called home. The moment we got to see the cast in costume in the location at dress rehearsal is when it really started to come together! You could really see the vision flourishing!




I found a great little corner to set up the dressing area. The bathroom being all the way down the hall, the crew put up a partition to give the cast privacy while changing.




The day of the shoot happened to be extremely hot. All of the outside shots were a bit tough for the cast with all the layers they were wearing, but these costume layers are nothing compared to the actual attire of the 1890’s. I can’t imagine how they got through the hot humid summers with no AC or worse yet- no deodorant!!!

Luckily for Michelle, (the actress playing the woman of the house) I made an umbrella for Alea (the actress playing the maid) to hold over her in the outside scenes. I hope the shade helped some!

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To achieve this Victorian parasol look (rather than spending anywhere from $30-$100 of the budget on a new one) I took a small umbrella that I already owned, a piece of lace and some fringe from my fabric stash, and simply sewed them on around the perimeter of the umbrella. A bit difficult to maneuver around the sewing machine, but overall very worth it considering the money saved, and the unique look that came out of it!


Noteworthy: That beautiful fringed vintage shawl was given to me by my husband’s grandmother. It may not be from as far back as the 1890’s, but I love utilizing actual vintage pieces to create a look and feel of authenticity. Plus- it was so beautiful and perfect for the look of the head woman!







Yes- there was actual food on the table!


Some shots of the final result:

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So in love with this choker necklace! It was actually a collar on a shirt that I found at the thrift store for $2! I carefully removed the collar (so none of the beading came undone) and sewed some ribbon on the ends to create a fastener. When you’re on a tight budget; being resourceful is a must!

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Another thrift store piece! This gold tasseled necklace rang up at only $4! And it was just perfect for this outfit! The lace hair piece was made on the spot by hairstylist Evita Taylor with some extra lace and gold flowers I had in my stash. It came out so good and really matches the head woman in the painting too!

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This project was amazing to work on! Everyone was so great to work with. Even with the extra long hours- it was really a pleasant group, which is priceless on set!

There is always a way to combine the things you love! Hip Hop + 1890’s Victorian = a surprisingly fresh concept which I hope inspires many more period pieces in the Ozone (Orlando) and beyond!! I foresee many awesome music videos in the future!


A. Roze





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