Q: Bobbie Mannix, thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions to coincide with the release of
“Xanadu” on Blu-Ray March 8th 2016.
Personally I remember watching Xanadu when it was released in Australia and was enchanted by your creations
intertwined with a dreamy art-deco Los Angeles as a background. The experience made an impression on me that
has stayed with me ever since.
We are all highly anticipating viewing your work in high definition. According to “Xanadu, The illustrated story” you
created over 260 costumes for the film.
Many fans have expressed disappointment that Universal did not include special features such as interviews with
yourself for the Blu-Ray release, and apparently there was a vast amount of promotional items they could have
used. That being said, we very much appreciate your insight into your involvement and experiences regarding the
The following twelve questions are from fellow Xanadu fans and admirers of your work:
A: Hi David, first of all I'm humbled and honored that all of you are such great fans of Xanadu. It’s amazing and
exciting. I want to respond to your initial question in the email. Yes I did design over 260 costumes for the movie
and I still have all the original sketches which should be published and viewed.
They are to this day still quite relevant, fun and enthusiastic as was the movie. And I want to say it was with the help
of incredibly talented people with me.
We also had five shops of pattern makers and seamstresses working the entire six months of prep on the show.
My answer to your questions are to follow:
1. Was designer Erté an inspiration for Olivia's amazing other worldly lamé finale outfit?
Yes Erte was definitely an inspiration to Olivia's finale outfit as were all the dancers with her. The sketches for that
number were so exciting and the fabrication worked out beautifully.
2. Where are the costumes today? Storage? Do you think they ever see light of day in a museum or display
I can't tell you where the costumes are today. Some may be in the archives at universal wardrobe department or
their main stock.
3. Did Olivia have a particular costume that she particularly loved?
Olivia looked fabulous in all her costumes for the movie but as I recall she loved her muse costume.
4. How do you work with choreographers when designing clothing for films?
Working with a choreographer is always so important. As a designer I need to know every dance move for every
scene. I want the clothes to "sing" so to speak and move beautifully with what the choreographer has created with
body language. What fun that is. It's also so important to work hand in hand with the production designer. They
might paint the room but I paint with clothes. People, actors are my canvas.
5. Do you have any knowledge or collaboration with Jack Mulqueen Associates in regards to the Xanadu dresses
available in stores like Macy’s?
Do not know.
6. Do you remember any scenes that did not make the final cut?
Do not know.
7. What was your experience working with Gene Kelly?
Working with Mr Gene Kelly was an honor and I do remember that he loved his costumes and got a great kick out if
doing this movie.
8. What was your experience working with Olivia?
Working with Olivia was soon much fun. We had a great time in fittings and she worked very hard learning how to
skate and all the skate moves. The entire ensemble worked tirelessly at learning all the skating.
9. What are your memories of the 2-story finale set? The illuminated platforms and podiums seemed very Busby
We worked with the most incredible producers in Hollywood and yes the last scenes were very Busby Berkeley
inspired. Mr Larry Gordon, Mr Chuck Gordon and Mr Joel silver all so great. I also wanted to mention how great our
director Robert Greenwald is and choreographer Kenny Ortega. Everyone worked so hard.
10. I believe that the muses 'white star' costumes from the finale were also used by dancers in Bonnie Tyler's video,
“Holding Out For a Hero'” minus the fascinators. Were you aware of this?
No I was not aware.
11. What were your impressions when you saw the movie in its completion on the big screen?
We were all over the moon when we saw it on the big screen. I couldn't be prouder. Especially when you see the
sketches of all the costumes come alive. It's awesome and you must see them too.
12. Do you have any behind-the-scenes experiences or photos that you would like to share?
Behind the scenes went like this... After the entire cast worked all day and some of the crew , including me went at
least six times a week , after work on the movie , to a place called "Flippers" roller boogie palace. We skated and
skated and skated at nite. It was a wonderful crazy time in Los Angeles. We also traveled to New York City to see
what the New York skaters were doing at the time and many of our skaters came from The east coast to do this film.
We had a cast of at least 50 regular skaters I think. Our technical advisor skater was a man by the name of Bill
Butler. He was from New York and probably the true original skater of all time. He was the real deal. I will always
It was the time of my life. That and designing costumes for “The Warriors” and being with “Earth Wind and Fire”.
I still have the best career but those were the days as they say.
Thank you Bobbie
|Bobbie Mannix Costume Designer for
Q and A by David Mas