daisy jones and the six
The stadium spotlights may focus on the steamy chemistry between co-lead singers Daisy Jones (Riley Keough) and The Six founder Billy Dunne (Sam Claflin). But right behind them, Warren Rojas (Sebastián Chacón) steals the show with his nimble drumstick acrobatics, positive energy and laid-back yet electrifying rock ‘n’ roll style.
“He was the peacock,” says costume designer Denise Wingate. About to kick off the band’s first and final national tour in 1977 to promote their chart-topping debut album. dawn, Warren presumably blew his residual checks on his stage wardrobe. His rotation of leather vests, fur-trimmed and patchwork, worn nonchalantly, shirtless, reflects his easy-going disposition and optimistic gratitude for success. “Warren just wants to have a good time,” says Wingate. “He wants to go out with his friends, get drunk and that’s it. He doesn’t want to get involved in the drama. He is a fundamental personality for the band”.
But the vests also speak to the physicality required to keep up with the kinetic pace. Wingate’s inspiration boards consisted of legendary rockers who renounced T-shirts, such as guitarist Carlos Santana waving maracas at Woodstock in 1969 and Mick Fleetwood, circa 1977. “A lot of the drummers wore vests because it was easier for them to play,” says Wingate, who also designed The Bangles on the ’80s tour.
During pandemic-prolonged preparation and rehearsals, Chacón honed his professional-level percussion skills while cultivating Warren’s indefatigable playing style. Simultaneously, Wingate developed his rock-god aesthetic, making sure his tight-fitting but pre-spandex-era vintage pants allowed enough flexibility to pedal the kick drum and hi-hat. “He’d say, ‘The shirt is too tight and I can’t move,’” Wingate says. “So we really worked with the vest idea for him from the beginning.”
Towards the end of the tour, Warren remains on top of life and pointedly oblivious to the deepening fractures within the band. The crowd goes wild as he bangs the drums in red velvet jeans and a flashy gold-threaded vest. “I found it in a store in New Orleans. I just loved the mirrored pieces and the embroidery,” says Wingate, who has never repeated Warren’s look. “He was too accessorizing, too,” he adds, pointing to the layers of colorful beaded necklaces and leather cuffs. “We thought he was a guy who picked up pieces on the road when he was on tour. Little talismans.
The opening of New York’s Chippendales, with gilt early-’80s décor, a lavish VIP section and a waiting line of nearly 400, is off to a strong start. As thunder rolls, the MC, “Dr. Hunkenstein,” clad in a silver leather apron, draws in an eager audience. “In a mysterious castle, somewhere in the deepest, darkest Mansylvania,” he intones, foreshadowing the great spectacle to come with a suggestive display of men.
“I wanted it to be very gold, shiny and really draw you in to look at it,” says costume designer Peggy Schnitzer. Across the country, far from the scrutiny of club founder Steve Banerjee (Kumail Nanjiani), choreographer Nick De Noia (Murray Bartlett) orchestrates his rocky terror-inspired musical extravaganza – and also sets the stage for jealousy and resentments to develop dangerously. “There were a lot of darker colors in the dance pieces in Los Angeles, and we wanted to stay away from the very classic black and white Chippendales,” says Schnitzer. “This was a spectacular show. It’s Nick’s gateway to New York, basically.”
Back in New York, Dr. Hunkenstein is joined by two guards onstage, in shiny silver lamé versions of medieval knight’s chain mail and satin shorts. The trio then reveal a mad scientist’s laboratory, as dancers in clinical white mesh crop tops and hot pants whirl, push and kick with excitement.
Dr. Hunkenstein exults: “With thick, chewy body parts, I’ve built a perfect 10!” as dancers vigorously remove their shorts, in a nimble ballet-like movement, revealing mirrored metallic thongs as she reveals her Frankenstein, or “Man-ster,” a centerpiece in a shimmering gold thong. The crowd goes wild. “It was a portrait of (Man-ster), this creation,” says Schnitzer.
The skin-baring brief never moves out of place, even through all the power-packed squats, twists, kicks, and lunges. “Each dancer had a size for the thongs and pants,” explains Schnitzer, who, in a feat of costume engineering, custom-made every element of the theatrical ensembles. Two pant/short versions make up the secret sauce behind the ripped reveal: a stretchy pair for dancing, and another in a similar-looking structured fabric, fitted with snap tape. Through trial and error during rehearsals, Schnitzer and the dancers refined the design, eventually only securing the snaps at stress points such as the hip, buttocks and thighs to pull off the impressive fugue with gusto.
george and tammy
“The fabric of this blazer doesn’t match the pants,” an agitated George Jones (Michael Shannon) complains during a fitting with his wife, Tammy Wynette (Jessica Chastain). As the two country musicians prepare for their Las Vegas debut in 1971, Tammy gazes at herself with confidence and approval in a beaded red halter neck gown. George, roused from domestic bliss and precarious sobriety, rages in a ruffled taupe tuxedo that is, in fact, a blend of natural silk and polyester. “George would seize on this clash in the fibers to lash out at him,” says costume designer Mitchell Travers, because the wardrobe-sensitive singer is used to performing in glitzy shirts and Western suits with swagger.
Travers imagined that George would face pressure from management and hangers-on to change as an artist in Las Vegas, increasing his unease and resentment. So, the costume designer was inspired by the elegant style of the singers of the 70s, such as Burt Bacharach, Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. “I made it a little too bright, the collar a little too long, the bow tie a little too big. The side parting on the tux is too strong,” says Travers. “So he gave George something to reject wherever he looked.”
In the dreaded tuxedo, George faces his demons: the insecurity of being outshone by his partner, the fear of professional irrelevance, and the hatred of being forced to perform on demand, stemming from his abusive childhood. “They’re going to laugh at us,” says George, confiding in Tammy.
So, he turns to country star tailor Nudie Cohn for a white suede suit, billowing with fringe and resplendent with rhinestone dice: a metaphor for the couple’s gamble with Las Vegas fame, as well as George’s, as he gazes at a bottle of bourbon. “It’s total overcompensation to try to go back to his roots and deliver what he thinks his audience wants, not what Tammy’s audience wants,” says Travers, who went online. with tailor Jaime Castaneda, a former Nudie suit and shirt maker, to build three outfits, which go through the wringer as George spirals.
Finally arriving in Las Vegas to take the stage with Tammy, George resignedly dons his silk and polyester tuxedo, aided by “a few tweaks,” as he puts it. “You feel the buzz of the white suede suit and then…the work uniform,” Travers explains. “This is a job. This is not passion. They force him back into the cage.”
This story first appeared in an independent August issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, Click here for subscribe.