An Interview with Valentino’s Costumes Shon LeBlanc

I first met award-winning designer, Shon LeBlanc when we worked together on Richard Greenberg’s The Violet Hour at the Lillian Theatre.  His enthusiasm for costuming is contagious so I was thrilled when he agreed to this Halloween related interview for Pretty Little Shoppers.  The following photos were taken on a recent trip to his shop in North Hollywood.

What trends do you forecast for this years Halloween Celebration?  What trends have you noticed in the past?  Most of the time is has to do with hit films or TV shows… Pirates of the Carbine, Mad Men, Pan Am, Downtown Abby, The Great Gatsby… and so on.

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I often see scenes in film and television where someone tries to rent a costume at the last minute and nothing is left.  How far in advance should a client come to your shop to rent a Halloween costume?  You should always try to come in as early as possible for the best selection.  We suggest in September, especially if you are interested in a custom made costume.

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What are the going rates for a costume rental?
Rental rates depend on the type of costume… but a really good costume can be rented for Between $85.00 -$125.00… some things are less and some more…

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What is the most outlandish request you’ve received for a costume?  What about the most creative? I had some one ask if I had a costume for a Poodle… and I have dressed a Horse.  Not sure about the most creative… as we get all kinds of interesting things coming through the shop and workroom.

What do you think of all these Sexy nurse, witch, referee, etc. etc. costumes?  Some of it is really stupid… Sexy Chucky…. Really? They say Halloween is the only time you can really be slutty and it’s ok… it’s ok…:)

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Any tips for those “Halloweenies” that don’t like to dress up, but are forced to attend a costume party?  Yes, don’t be a party pooper… there are people going to the party who have spend a lot of time and money on their costumes… put forth some kind of effort.  Do a smoking jacket and ascot..(1920) PJ and robe for Huge Hefner,
Apron over a dress and pearl and high heels for a 1950s housewife…
Grab some really “scary-bad” clothes and do up your hair, make up, etc and go as your relatives…. (we all have them…and you know who I am talking about).

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Are you dressing up this year?  Do you have any favorite costumes from your Halloween’s past?  I will put on my kilt… I used to dress up all the time for Halloween… but I am running around so much here I need to be able to have something easy to work in.

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What theatre/film projects are you currently working on?  I have a few things going now…Scary Musical, the Musical at NOHO Arts, Diviners at Actors Co-Op in Hollywood,  and I will deliver The Vertex to the Matrix Theatre in early November and Into the Woods for the Kids at the Norris Theatre in Pacific Palisades.  Then in December we open Christmas Carol in Santa Clarita and I go to Virginia to do Amahl and the Night Visitors at Ash Lawn Opera… that I think is it till the end of the year.

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Most of the costumes are sorted by time period or show.  And I will tell you from personal experience that Shon is a master at accessorizing!  His collection of costume jewelry and hats is to die for.
 

What inspires you as a designer?  Many things inspire me in design…I can see a fabric or garment. Read a script. Look at a book or see someone in general life..and get an idea to create from that. I think inspiration comes in many forms…and it can sneak up and surprise you.

 

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A shot from Shon’s office which is also home to a chair shaped like a giant stiletto.
 

What is your dream project to design? I am ready to do another big 40’s show, so I can use all my really great hats… lol.

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Wearing Shon’s Ovation Award nominated costumes in The Violet Hour at The Lillian Theatre.  With Karole Foreman, Travis Schuldt, Peter Larney and Buck Zachary.  Photo by Michael Lamont.
 
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Another costume built for me by Shon from The Violet Hour.  Photo by Karianne Flaathen.
 

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Shon LeBlanc has been designing costumes for 29yrs in California and across the country.  He has designed show for The Fountain Theatre, The Colony Theatre, 3D Theatricals, Odyssey, Matrix, Theatre 40, Hudson, No Ho Arts, The El Portal, Open Fist theatre co, Civic light Opera of South Bay Cities, La Miriada,  The Coat Playhouse, Sierra Madre Playhouse, The Rubicon, Macha Theatre, Actors Co-Op, Greenway Court, and Kentucky Shakespeare just to name a few.  Currently his designs are featured in the first national tour of I Love Lucy, live on Stage. And he will return in Dec to Ash Lawn Opera in Virginia for Amhal and the Night Visitors. Shon has tough Costume Design for the Academy of Art in SFO, is a multi Award winning Costume Designer, with 2 Ovations, Drama Critics Circle, LA Weekly and Garland awards. He is 1 of 3 partners of The Costume House, located in North Hollywood.

You can visit Valentino’s Costumes/The Costume House at 7324 Greenbush Ave., North Hollywood, CA.  Appointments are recommended (818) 508–9933.

A very special thank you to Shon Le Blanc and Valentino’s Costumes for the interview and photos!

xoxo,

Lisa

 

 

 

 

 


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