By night Vanessa Fischer is the smoldering singer of upstart dark disco band Lioness, but by day she’s a mild-mannered costume designer with an eye for Anita Pallenberg and flare for metallic stretch fabric. These two seemingly conflicting sides find perfect harmony in Lioness’ new music video “You’re My Heart”, an homage to the silent film era for which she designed eight original costume creations.
“‘You’re my Heart’ was inspired by Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, art deco and alchemy,” she explains. “The video is about the idea that love, like a heart, can be transplanted when it disappears. If you watch very closely you will notice my eight costume changes.”
For more insight into the video’s inspirations, we asked Vanessa to give us a thorough breakdown of her eight hand-crafted costumes. Read it after the jump! And be sure to catch Lioness tonight at Toronto’s NXNE music festival and on June 28 at Toronto Pride. (Tour dates via MySpace)
I spent about a week, sewing, cutting and assembling my different looks for the video. My favorite is the robot suit inspired by Metropolis‘ Aenne Willkomm with a dash of Thierry Mugler 1995. It is made of this metallic stretch fabric I cut into 50 pieces. The headpiece was refashioned from a necklace I bought in Parkdale from woman on the street. The epaulettes were made from vintage steel toe covers; I drilled holes into and connected with wire and glass beads. The bracelets were homage to Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton, made by [costume designer] Joan Chapple. I love how it looks as though small future cities have risen on my wrists.
There is a Busby Berkley look inspired by a darker version of Dames. With a feathered hat piece, a one-piece with gold metallic top and black tone on tone stripped legs, and giant black tulle sleeves. Charcoal eyes and black Dior lips complete this look. I do a strange dance in this outfit, trying to emulate a spazzy version of Berkley’s choreography.
I love Barbarella, Paco Rabanne and Anita Pallenberg. So there is a Dark Queen look. A black leotard with long black fringe around the neckline and gold chains embedded in between. There is a large black beaded headpiece made from a collar, to represent the one Brigette Helm wore in Metropolis. I also had a cape of wigs I spin around in, that if you look very closely you can see for about half a second. Incorporating hair into your wardrobe is a must this season.
The titanium halo head brace was a great find at Toronto prop house Lock Up. When I was singing I felt as though I was going to cry. It was the last look of my 15-hour day, so hopefully you get the impression of what it’s like to be trapped in your head with your thoughts.
I wanted to do another queen look, one that could maybe resemble Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty or another Disney villain. I wore diamonds and pearls on my head, a long necklace with lots of hairpins to secure it. The cape is made of about a hundred tulle and crinoline circles ironed in half and then sewn onto the collar. The bat-wing blouse has black and metallic raffia around the wrists and bodice. A large silk skirt with an extra large crinoline is worn underneath for volume.
American dancer Isadora Duncan inspired my white Grecian look. I wanted to put something together that would contrast all of the darker looks. The gold Indian necklace appropriately had hearts strung on it, and I also wear a white belt with two large Egyptian gold birds.
There is a Lady Calrissian look. This is where I am over the dry ice singing into my crystal ball. I wear a necklace made of hematite and purple beaded fringe, a metallic power mesh leotard, and a black cape with a white zigzag pattern.
And lastly, there is the patient look for when it appears as though I am naked on the operating table. I think I dozed off at one point when we were shooting. The table was so hard, my back felt as though it would go into a spasm.
It was a lot of fun being to create so many looks, and to change them so quickly throughout the day. Subtle changes in nail polish helped me get into character. Sarah Campell, who is responsible for my hair and make-up, helped me achieve the overall dark magical edge to all my looks.