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Outfit No. 8 – the evening gown with that train



As mentioned before, costume design followed song choice with respect to each of the 16 outfits that actor/costumer Clay Brown made for and wears in The Legend of Georgia McBride. For the evening gown number in Act Two, the song that he and Director Brett Marston chose is “Over and Over” from The First Wives Club as sung and recorded by Puff Johnson.

Johnson is a tragic figure in the tradition of performers like Judy Garland whose life and times resonate within the gay community. She emerged on the music scene with the singles “Forever More” and “Over & Over” which appeared on the soundtrack of the film The First Wives Club. The singles were a hit in Europe and Australia reaching the Top 20 on both continents. The contemporary R&B singer/songwriter released her first and critically acclaimed album, Miracle, in 1996. [It was was produced by American Idol’s Randy Jackson.] She also worked with Tupac Shakur on his hit single, “Me Against the World” (which was featured on the Bad Boys movie soundtrack and his album of the same name) and toured Europe as an opening act for Michael Jackson and 3T.

But her personal life was marked by tragedy and illness. Her fiancé, music producer Kip Collins, died in 2007 and the following year she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. She moved to South Africa in 2009 to receive treatments. She responded well for two years, but the cancer returned with a vengeance in 2012. She succumbed to the illness on June 24, 2013 at the age of 40.

“I loved the song,” said Clay of “Over and Over.” “It always makes me feel good.”


The Dress with the Train

“I knew I wanted to do a dance number, a pop number and evening gown number [for the drag performance section of Georgia McBride],” Clay relates. “For the evening gown number I wanted something sequiny, glitzy, sparkly – something that had more elegance but not a lot of jewelry or who-hah.”

Clay found the dress he wanted online. It was made in China.

“What I didn’t know is that they photograph a dress made by a famous designer and copy it. So what I got was not what I thought I was paying for and I was livid.”

Even though he had given the company Tracy’s measurements, the dress was short-waisted, too tight in the shoulders and the florals were completely different than what the photograph depicted.

“There was no glitz to it. I hated the color. I was looking for a more flesh-colored rose; what I got was too peachy. It had no sparkle and most drags have sparkle.”

But it did come with a train.

The songs performed by drag queens in their evening gown numbers are typically slow songs or ballads. They don’t entail much dancing, so the dress has to be really, really spectacular. “Which is why it was important to have the train.”

And to add the missing sparkle, Clay dusted both the train and the dress with iridescent opals and rearranged some of the florals to create just the right look.

“It took days to dust the train and dress, but there was no time to remake the dress from scratch, so I had to work with what I had. And when I saw the beautiful pictures, I don’t hate it as much as I did.”

As an abstract muralist, Clay Brown is all about contrast, and that sensibility carried over to the outfits he designed for The Legend of Georgia Brown. In that vein, he kept Miss Tracy’s make-up soft and found a wig that’s almost the exact same color as the flowers that are on the dress.

“It’s kind of a gold brown. I saw that wig online and Raquel Welch of all people was modeling it as part of her wig line. I liked the style. It’s elegant looking, the color was perfect. It’s soft, pretty, elegant – the exact look that I wanted.

June 24, 2019.



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