We may be trying to figure out which celebrities are hiding behind the masks, but really, when it comes to The Masked Singer, the real stars of the show are the costume designers.
Hoping to rival the original Korean version and the American edition of the show, Brighton-based prop and production company Plunge Creations were asked by the production team to create 12 extravagant and outlandish disguises for The Masked Singer – and judging by our motley line-up of costumes, they’ve certainly done a good job.
“Our brief from [production company] Bandicoot was to do it bigger and better and go the next level on all of the costumes,” Plunge managing director Tim Simpson told RadioTimes.com. “We thought we really did have space to go completely bonkers.”
Where did the ideas for The Masked Singer costumes come from?
While Simpson looked at some of the other editions of The Masked Singer for inspiration, he was keen for Plunge to create their own unique cast of characters.
“Inspiration came from everywhere,” he explained. “Sometimes Bandicoot will come forward and be like, we quite like the idea of a butterfly or a something, and I would sit down and do some sketches.
“I’d fly around Pinterest, go to the V&A museum and try and nudge my brain forward. Sometimes I’d just come up with a completely dotty idea and try that. With the pharaoh, I wanted to bring a bonkers, catwalk haute couture-type thing into it as well as an extravagant version of a pharaoh's mask.
“For the monster costume, we looked towards the Japanese animations like Studio Gibli. I wanted soft, silent monster, bizarrely. I didn’t want a monster with a big mouth yelling. I wanted it to look soft and approachable.”
How long did it take to create each costume for The Masked Singer? How many people were involved?
Unsurprisingly, such an intricate and decorative set of costumes took a large team of people a huge amount of time to make sure they were perfect for the live shows.
“The full set of 12 took around 5000 hours between the team,” Simpson said. “47 different people worked on them, in total. That’s sculptors, seamstresses, costume makers, mould makers, metal workers, finishers. A whole collection of brilliant people down here worked together to pull together a really complicated loads of costumes, which were complicated in odd ways that we hadn’t really envisaged. Singing inside costumes is immediately difficult, being inside masks and trying to get the acoustics as good as we could – that was a particular challenge.”
Did the costume designers know who the celebrities were?
Designing the costumes for our celebrities were made all the more difficult for the team at Plunge, as not even they were privy to who was hiding behind each mask.
“We didn’t know who was going into each costume,” Simpson told us. “All the way through the design process, we were also kept in the dark.
“We were sent measurements, and then occasional, occasional clues that production team wanted us to include in the costume but the production team didn’t want to tell us any more than that.”
What’s your favourite costume in The Masked Singer?
While Simpson thinks Duck or Monster will be the most-loved by the public (‘because they’re the cutest’), he has a soft spot for the eerie Tree.
“I really liked the tree because my son made some little origami creatures for it and we fitted those into the costume,” he said. “I wanted him to join in! There’s a little origami slug and butterflies in the costume to see. I love Tree. It was bizarrely melancholy. It was a beautiful costume, but I loved them all.
“I hope we live up to the expectations of the audience. I’m really proud of what we’ve done. I hope we’ve done the team and the show and the singers and Bandicoot proud too, we really wanted to.”
The Masked Singer launches Saturday 4th January on ITV.