It’s the ninth time now that the TV show “Let’s Dance” enthuses millions of spectators. One of the reasons for the show’s remarkable success are – besides the famous participants – the breathtaking costumes by Katia Convents. I have visited the renowned designer in her studio in Bonn where I could catch a glimpse behind the scenes.
Although even late Friday evenings can be still quite busy in Katia’s studio she’s been surprisingly relaxed during my visit and took a huge amount of time to answer my questions in detail. No wonder! Also when it comes to her work, the customer is always priority. She listens to every wish carefully and then develops her own vision based upon her clients’ needs. Still, sometimes she has to force the women into their own luck. “I have learned to make my opinion prevail”, Katia admits. 30 years of professional experience shows this claim to be absolutely legitimate. Katia commands her own business perfectly and knows exactly what fits to whom and what simply doesn’t. Also Nina Trautz, the reigning German champion in free Latin is sponsored by Katia since years and swoons over the collaboration with the designer. “Nobody knows better how to put a woman it her true light and to underline her femininity.”
However, the charismatic blonde almost ended up in a completely different field. Before she moved to Westphalian Gütersloh, she took a training to become a food technology in Poland. Yet her passion has always been dancing and she started early to tailor her own dresses. “When you have many beautiful things on your hand, there is no virtue in creating something special. If the choice however is limited, it is difficult to achieve the wow effect”, that’s how Katia remembers the days of her youth.
She discovered her hidden talent out of sheer emergency and quickly received positive feedback. Many of her own creations have been sold within seconds and so she turned her hobby into profession when she opened her own studio in 1985. This has been a great decision, as soon became apparent. Katia moved to Bonn in 1996, where she leads a 200 m² studio and ranks among the best in the field. Katia’s area of expertise is the design and creation of elaborate ballroom dresses which can take up to 60 hours of work.
And what’s more? You can even find outfits for latin dance such as tailcoats in Katia’s multidimensional studio. The prices of the unique pieces range between 1000 and 2500 euros. For all those who would like to try out their own sewing skills Katia’s saving tip is as follows: “One should cut costs in just the right spot; hence not when it comes to fabrics, as the skirt should guarantee the perfect flying effect when dancing. Instead it makes more sense to save money in not buying the most expensive rhinestones but to consider replacing it by spangles.”
Obviously, there is one thing left that I necessarily needed to know: how exactly does the costume production for the tv-show “Let’s Dance” work? The answer still fascinates me. At the very same evening, right after the show, Katia draws the drafts for the next show, sends out emails with the sketches to the production company and has only four (!) days left to implement her ideas for all the dances. It is not uncommon that her and her team of twelve work until midnight in order to get everything done one time. Simply incredible! Yet for this, she doesn’t have to stick to the strict conditions of the TSO but can set her creativity free without having to pay attention to the color of the slip or the height of the slit. When it comes to time, Katia has become more courageous, so that the show costumes for the standard dances have less and less in common with the dresses for the competition. And: after the show the dresses are far from redundant. If they’re not being sold immediately, they find their way to the costume fund from where they are often re-utilized for other casting shows like Germany’s next top model etc. By the way, the celebrities don’t have much of a saying when it comes to the selection of their costume and thus blindly rely on Katia’s taste. By now Katia’s credibility has made its way off the dance floor and onto the red carpet. Shooting stars such as Sofia Thomalla, Motsi Mabuse and Wolke Hegenbarth swear by Katia’s unbeatable eye for cut and color.
Even if her job is really intense and doesn’t offer much free time, one can make out that Katia devotes a lot of love and passion to her work. “My job makes me happy! I always react proactively and with a lot of courage to new challenges and I still have a lot of plans ahead of me.” We look forward to Katia’s fresh creative impulse!