Edited by Lester Brathwaite on
As was befitting a diva and a legend of her stature, whatever Whitney Houston wanted — happened. So when La Houston was to film a scene in the upcoming Sparkle where she sung in church and wanted a dramatic sleeve, designer B. Michael happily obliged.
“Come on B. My mother would never wear a sleeveless dress to church,” Houston told Michael. “If I’m in church singing, I am going to raise my hands high. I need something dramatic for the sleeves.…You’re the designer, B. You go create these sleeves.”
Costume designer Ruth Carter tapped B. Michael, a former milliner at Oscar de la Renta and Louis Féraud, to create Houston’s looks for the film. According to Michael, Houston wasn’t at all demanding but rather “gave everyone the opportunity to bring their own artistry and craft to the project.”
Inspired by the rise and fall of Diana Ross and the Supremes, Sparkle tells the story of trio of singing sisters pursuing Motown stardom in Detroit during the 60s. In the remake of the 1976 film of the same name, Whitney stars as their protective mother, Emma, while American Idol alum Jordin Sparks plays the titular character.
“It’s a massive film with lots of sweeping scenes in church and clubs, meaning a lot of cast to clothe. Ruth was pleased she could off-load the task of dressing Whitney,” Michael said. “Whitney’s character has changed from a housekeeper in the original, to an owner of a dress shop, so she gets to wear pretty dresses. I did nine.”
Sparkle is set to be released on August 17, but until that glorious day — which I’m declaring an unofficial holiday — check out Whitney’s costumes from the film. [WWD, sub req'd]