Meet Strictly Come Dancing's Costume Designer, Vicky Gill
From Stanley to Surrey, Vicky is best known for her fabulous costume designs for shows like Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing on Ice
break into the costume design industry and she created garments for performers as soon as she left university. Vicky now puts the sparkle into Strictly and has even won a BAFTA for her costume designs on the show.
Tell us how you got into the industry.
I had a real passion for dance as a kid and a real interest in fashion and clothing because my mum was a seamstress and that, in essence, is probably how I became interested in all things performance. I did a fashion course at Newcastle College and loved it because there was a whole variety of ages and people and I think I found that quite inspirational. I then went on to study at Epsom School of Art and Design. At the time it was a heart wrench to decide whether to leave the North East or not, but ultimately I knew that if I didn’t leave I might not ever have the courage to do it again. When I finished university I did lots of work experience and tried to stick with jobs related to the performance field – I taught kids to dance and did anything that enabled me to stay in the South and try to create a role for myself. A couple years down the line I was introduced to a lot of performers who I made costumes for, which was around the time Strictly had started to become a thing on the TV. This ultimately led to a group of us working hard to provide costumes for the show, and my role was to advise on movement and how the costumes could achieve this – I was able to do that because of my knowledge of dance and performance, as well as the fashion element and the structure of a garment.
Where does your inspiration for a piece start?
People often send me visuals which is great, but I’m more interested in how they move so I ask if they can send me the music and as soon as I hear that and imagine the choreography, I can figure out a starting point. We obviously need to look at the artist or performer as well and decide what is needed for their figure and what is going to empower them because that is so important.
What’s the best thing about what you do?
The job is forever changing and no two days are the same, which can be as problematic and chaotic as it is enjoyable. TV is especially really fast and you’re forever trying to problem solve, but the fact that I’m allowed to be creative is great. I’m also so lucky to meet lots of wonderful people along the way.
How do you like to spend your downtime?
In the winter I just love a Sunday dinner. I’m like ‘whatever we do can we go for a Sunday roast?’ So whatever we’ve got going on on that sacred day (I call it that because I try not to message or call the team and let everyone have that day off), I like nothing more than having that little treat of going out.
Do you often get time to come back home?
I really try to, obviously the pandemic has been an issue. I love the North East and I will always have a big place in my heart for it.
What is your favourite thing about the North East?
For such a chilly place, especially Stanley which is one of the highest points of County Durham, the North East has such a warmth which I think is everyone’s friendliness – that’s always immediately obvious when I come back.