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What Did Sparkle's Costume Designer Call Whitney Houston?
“I played dress-up every day. It was so fun and a lot of the clothes were vintage,” Sparks (wearing Chagoury Couture above) tells PEOPLE. “Everything was ’60s — all the extras were dressed to the nines, the cars, everything that they painted, the colors, a lot of the stuff that they had in the house was all vintage finds from antique shops, so I was literally placed back in that time.”
Surprisingly, the film’s costume designer, Ruth Carter, looked to what’s happening in the fashion world today to see how she should translate the decade sartorially for the film. “I was playing a period in fashion that was totally break-out, experimental, anything-goes and fun — which is very much in vogue right now,” Carter reveals to PEOPLE. “I looked in Vogue, in ELLE and I saw all kinds of things that were touching on the ’60s, and so sometimes I took direction from what I saw in contemporary fashions.”
And though Houston was such a superstar on set, the icon let Carter do her job. “She really wanted me to take the lead and tell her what she should wear,” the designer reveals. “She always said, ‘You’re the expert, you tell me what you want.’”
Carter even had a special nickname for Houston. “She had a name for me, it was ‘Ms. Ruth,’ I had a name for her and that was ‘Eight Grammys,’” Carter jokes. “I said to my crew, okay get ready everyone, Eight Grammys will be here any minute! I wanted to remind everybody who she was and I was honored that she respected me and my opinion when she could have done anything she wanted and I would have acquiesced.”
Sparkle hits theaters Friday, Aug. 17. Tell us: Will you be seeing Sparkle this weekend?
–Jennifer Cress, with reporting by Melody Chiu and Jennifer Garcia