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‘The Masked Singer’s Costume Design Has Changed Over The Years, What’s Different?

Russian Dolls on 'The Masked Singer' Season 5CR: Michael Becker/FOX

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The Masked Singer is such a unique show, due to it’s larger-than-life costumes. The costumes are practically where every unknown celebrity hides —their primary element of identification for the season. Thus, the importance of costume design for the series cannot be emphasized enough.

Over the years, The Masked Singer has served fans with eye-popping outfits, making the game show more exciting than ever. These costumes, however, cannot be made possible without the series’ previous and present designers.

Marina Toybina Served as The Masked Singer’s Costume Designer for its First Six Seasons

During the show’s premiere season, Moscow-born Marina Toybina was in charge of The Masked Singer’s costumes for its first six seasons. Toybina served as the lead costume designer for the highly rated network TV show, getting her to earn her another Emmy Award in 2020. Of her five Emmy wins, she admitted that snatching the fifth for being The Masked Singer’s designer means the most.

“It is such a creative show and so impactful. The personal recognition for me—as a part of it—goes a long way,” she said.

In her interview with Deadline, Toybina stated that she executes most of the pencil renderings for the designs. She then collaborates with an illustrator to transform the 2D sketches into a digital 3D form for a better visual of the weaving department. Once done with the costumes, she proceeds to customize it according to the celebrities’ preferences.

For the first season, the designer intended the costumes to be “something that was a little bit fashion-forward.” In season two, she particularly made an effort to unleash her artistic intent through the Egg and the Leopard. At the time, her objective was to make the food eye-catching and the animal “vintage” with a “big presence onstage.”

In the later seasons, Toybina has continued to implement play and uniqueness to each celebrity costume. Season per season, she has never forgotten to incorporate extraordinary style to the outfits without losing sight of the contestant’s actual personality.

However, all great things really come to an end. Following the Finale of The Masked Singer season six, Toybina decided to leave the series. In early 2022, she announced that season six would be her last with the show.

The Show Now Trusts Tim Chappel with the Costumes

With Toybina’s departure, The Masked Singer had to find a costume designer that should continue the show’s legacy of having spectacular costumes. Oscar-winning costume-maker Tim Chappel stepped into Toybina’s shoes after she left.

In 2021, Chappel discussed how costumes for the show were made. According to him, he and his team begin throwing ideas around after finishing a season. The design process then starts to “get serious” 16 weeks before the show.

Chappel stated that each costume is specifically tailored to the contestant, taking into consideration what appeals to the viewers. He further said that they try to create outfits that “little girls would like,” are “fashion-oriented,” and dad-catered. Nonetheless, Chappel’s number one priority is the celebrities themselves.

“I like to involve my celebrity in creative decision-making. And how I tailor things is that it depends on [if] they can dance, how good they are as a singer, and interestingly enough, how bad they are with claustrophobia. It could be a very light and airy head, and they go, ‘Oh, my God, I can’t deal with it.’ And then by the time they get to the camera, they’re all good,” he said.

As per Chappel, he appreciates how the costumes allow celebrities to totally hide their identity. For him, it’s amazing to give these people an opportunity “to be something completely bizarre and different.”

Indeed, costume design is the soul of The Masked Singer. Without the people who create the series’ fantastic pieces, the show would be a blur. Hence, hats off to Marina Toybina and Tim Chappel for giving the show a great hue.

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