Belle's Domain

From The Sunderland Echo.

Rusty and assorted girls Article with the pic above

20th September, 2004
Interesting picture, this. The four girls named in the article are not those named in the cast list on the Really Useful Company's website. Nor is the caption entirely accurate. There's Marissa Dunlop as Pearl, and Lucie Fentum as Ashley. But Emma Dodd is Dinah, and Buffy is Leyla Pelligrini. Emma understudied Buffy, and Leyla played Dinah. Confused? I am!
Also, the girls' costumes are not those of the U.S. tour. they are late london costumes, Lucie is wearing her own Ashley (As far as I can tell, no good photo references). Marissa is wearing Jo Gibb's costume (Jo's top has a curved line to a point, Marissa's bodice is straight-cut.) Compare to Clarissa Grace wearing the actual US tour Pearl. Leyla is wearing Chellie Michael's Buffy costume. However, I've no idea what that wig she's wearing is- never seen that shape before? Emma Dodd is wearing Helen Latham's costume. Except, of course, the leggings!
Finally, Ain't James Gillan a cute Rusty!

By contrast, the 2000 London coaches- Chellie Michaels, Amanda Valentine, Leyla Pelligrini, Marissa Dunlop.
Chellie Michaels, Amanda Valentine, Leyla Pelligrini, Marissa Dunlop, 2000 London
Now, please pardon me ranting here. (It's my website, I'll rant if I want! :P) Basic, basic costuming, so basic it's not even costuming. It's not even fashion, this is about wearing clothes it's so basic. Looking tall and slim is desirable. Clothing should add illusion of tall and slim, and avoid making the figure look stumpy and round. This is the most basic "Don't wear horizonal stripes" rule. Now let me make something VERY clear. I am certainly not calling ANY girl in Starlight Express fat! However, the nature of the job- the skating- builds muscle on the girls' legs, making them curvy, shapely. Curves go in and out. to make curves look good, you must accent the "In" as much as the "out". In basic fashion, that's achieved by skirt lengths, shoes vs. boots, etc. In starlight costumes, however, the "Ins" are covered by the kneepads and the slinkies, which leave the muscles of the thighs and calves looking very rounded, very plump. All older Starlight costumes counteract the effect of kneepads and slinkies by streamlining the legs, by making the kneepads blend in through the coloured leggings, and the window-stripe accents the length of the leg by running from the hip to the ankle. The high cut to the leotard makes the legs seem even longer than they are, due to them appearing to start just below the girls' waists. The patterns also make kneepads blend in. But without the leggings, the skating costumes are not kind to well-developed muscles!
Also, maybe I'm a little bit prudish. But I just don't think that Dinah's leotard should be so high-cut, when worn without leggings. Of course she IS wearing flesh-tone tights, but the impression is given that we're seeing naked pubic area. This doesn't sit comfortably for me with Dinah's sweet, innocent character, nor with the family orientation the show is given. Buffy could just about get away with such a cut, with the factors of her costume being nearer flesh-tone, giving less contrast, and her character being that much more flirtatious. But Dinah and Pearl are both young and innocent (and daft, foolish and ditzy!) characters. Good costumes should reflect that.