Dressed for success

Published 7:57 pm Thursday, December 11, 2008

Kym Frasher loves her daughter Katie — in fact, she loves her so much that she took on task of creating an entirely new wardrobe for this year’s Andalusia Ballet Company production of The Nutcracker.

Frasher, who is the Company’s wardrobe mistress, quite literally went the “whole nine yards” when designing and redesigning the dancers’ costumes.

“I grew up sewing; my grandmother sewed,” Frasher said. “I do it now because I love Katie and Katie loves the ballet.”

Frasher said her talents were first put to use last year when Katie played a mouse in the production.

“As a group mom, part of our job is to help everyone get into costume,” she said. “Katie was a mouse that year and I noticed the costumes were a bit ‘ratty’ — no pun intended — and it just went from there.”

Nutcracker enthusiasts will notice the subtle changes in embellishments as well as the overall costume makeovers throughout the production — many of which sport a modern twist on the traditional costumes.

Costumes for the “candy canes” now feature an asymmetrical neckline; “Sugar Plum Fairies,” well, fairly sparkle with beaded embellishments.

“One the ones that I am most proud of is the costume for the Arabian Nights scene,” she said. “You should see the bead work on those. They just absolutely sparkle right off the stage.”

Most of Frasher’s time during last year’s curtain call and this year’s rise was spent finding the perfect fabrics and accessories to make The Nutcracker come to life.

“I went the whole nine yards,” she said. “I went to thrift shops, robbed prom dresses, went to every fabric store from Birmingham down. I even made my husband go with me. Marriage is about give and take and I took all those trips to the Bass Pro Shoppe, so it was time for him to go with me.”

However, Frasher said her most favorite costume is her daughter’s.

“Katie is in the party scene at the beginning,” she said. “Her dress — I designed it and I think it is the most beautiful thing, and I’m not saying that because she’s my daughter, either.”

On performance days, Frasher can be found not only making last minute adjustments to the costumes but also painting rouge on cheeks or “whatever else needs to be done to make curtain.”

“I’m really just a delegate,” she said. “It’s crazy. It’s hectic, but we just do it and it works. It’s not perfect but we do the best we can.”

Ballet mom Joyce Mitchell, who assisted Frasher in costume creation, said Frasher is an innovative and creative person.

“What she has accomplished is just wonderful,” Mitchell said.

Frasher added that she expects no reward from her work.

“When I see them on the stage — every dancer with their hair in ringlets and costumes on — it’s worth it,” she said.