Meet the Creatives: Lee Kinoshita-Bevington

Costume designer Lee Kinoshita-Bevington shows off some gingham.

Ever wonder where TV costumes come from? A giant storage cupboard at the CBC? A local thrift store?


They come from a costume designer...

Lee Kinoshita-Bevington is charged with creating the costumes for Over the Rainbow. He comes to us from CTV's So You Think You can Dance Canada, and is determined to redefine gingham.

So how do you get into costume design? Lee started out studying interior design at Ryerson, but ended up switching over to an Italian couture school. This led to an apprenticeship with designer Patricia Bond - Keanu Reeves' mother (of all people). Then came a job with country queen Dolly Parton, which included touring and getting to know her really well: 'She should be a stand-up comic, she's absolutely hilarious' Lee said.

But before you go running off to design school in hopes of working with celebrities - it's worth mentioning that being a costume designer can be a grueling job. Lee and his team will be working around the clock, often days at a stretch to create costumes - most recently he had to make ten dresses in 3 days, no easy feat. 'We'll be working until I don't know how late tonight, and early tomorrow, but we'll get it done. These dresses are going to be seen in every show, they've got to be perfect', says Lee.

Where the magic happens - the Over the Rainbow costume shop.

And like everything to do with TV, ideas are constantly shifting and evolving. Lee and his team might get working on an idea that gets dropped in favour of another one.

Despite the often frenetic pace of it all, he loves his job. 'I love the creativity of it, I love the challenge of getting stuff done like this. That's why I love television, that's why I don't do film, because film is so slow and measured and I like the excitement of this. I'm in the right place for what I like doing. I also love shows like this, they're very creative. You get to do a lot of stuff you'd never get to do anywhere else,' he adds with a smile.

He also enjoys the process. A big part of Lee's job is brainstorming with Over the Rainbow's executive producer, Don Weiner, who largely oversees the entire look and feel of the show. 'He's our creative guy, and he wants to see everything. Like for the Dorothy dresses, we had the British show to go by, they developed their Dorothy look, and I wanted to change that a little bit. And so we changed it up, I did some drawings, sent them over to Don, and he liked what I did,' he explains.

A close-up of one of Lee's costume sketches.

Another part of the job is coordinating with the show's choreographer, Sean Cheesman. Lee and his team get filled in on what a particular episode's dance numbers are going to look like and then they have to come up with costumes that fit that aesthetic. 'Sean will come up with the feeling of where he wants to go and then we're going to work on that together, back and forth. It's going to be awesome, he has fantastic ideas and his group numbers are so creative,' he says.

Asked about his first memories of The Wizard of Oz, he laughs. 'My family is from Alberta, and we had a cottage out at the lake, and I remember one year I was out there, I must have been about five or six and it was Sunday afternoon and The Wizard of Oz was on. I remember watching it and I was transfixed, I couldn't tear myself away from the television, I was so into the movie. And then we had to leave, and there were only twenty minutes left in the movie. I remember crying all the way home. I was devastated, I loved the movie so much and I didn't get to see the end of it. And I actually didn't get to see [the end] until years later. So it's kind of interesting I'm working on it.'

If you're like Lee and somehow missed the ending of The Wizard of Oz (these things happen) don't fret - you can catch it on CBC television on September 15th at 8pm Eastern. Lee's costumes will hit televisions across Canada on the September 16th premiere of Over the Rainbow, be sure to check them out!

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