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‘But, you know, I like to think that when she’s finished she pops down to the shops wearing it before she has to get changed.’ Vicky gives me a gorgeous grin; she smiles a lot for someone under the cosh to help the show beat last year’s viewing figures, which saw a record peak of 13 million tune in to watch TV presenter Ore Oduba win the final.‘After so many years of doing , I have a system,’ Vicky says.‘When I first meet a celeb I take along some magazines to look through together; it’s a great way of getting an idea of what their likes and dislikes are, and it is easier for them to refer to an actual garment rather than a sketch,’ she says. Every year the BBC’s costume department presents a spectacle that leaves viewers in awe. If audiences aren’t gasping in amazement then I haven’t done my job right.’ There’s no danger of that. Yes, , now in its 15th series, has returned to light up the autumn schedules. ’ cries Vicky Gill, ’s long-standing costume designer. I’m the one who wants every series to have more showstoppers than the one before.Whenever I see a celebrity shedding her self-consciousness for a new poise and confidence, I get real job satisfaction.’ Curvy Lisa Riley setting the floor alight in fiery orange fringes in 2012 springs to mind, and while Ann Widdecombe  was never a natural dancer, her costumes – gold lamé, white ostrich feathers, imperial purple – transformed her into an entirely unexpected glamour puss. Celebrities often decrease at least one dress size as they tone up during the series, so this base is gradually taken in as required. ‘Believe it or not, I’m all about simplicity,’ says Vicky.‘I love a less-is-more, elegant silhouette where all the impact is in the cut of the fabric rather than in a kitchen sink’s worth of spangles, but Strictly is a kitchen-sink-spangle sort of show, so more often than not, more is more!Her mother Emily is a retired seamstress, so Vicky, a mother of three, has sewing in her blood.Admittedly, her father Alan was a butcher, but perhaps he gave her the nous to never dress up mutton as lamb.
An elaborate dress should take four days to make but we have been able to do it in two.
‘My task is to reassure them that we will work as a team and to get them to trust me to design dresses that will not only look fabulous but provide all the support and the right amount of give during the dance.
The celebrities tend to focus on a static image, but the dress needs to deliver when put through its paces.’Vicky likes to have three or four dresses made for each contestant by the time the series begins, ‘even though I won’t know the concept for each week until the producers tell me.
‘But when we have a challenge it does keep the blood pumping.
Only professional dancer Aljaz Skorjanec could rock a mummy costume as he did, and his partner, actress Helen George, looked fantastic in her white catsuit for their samba in 2015.’Interestingly – and reassuringly – Vicky prefers the challenges of dressing fuller figures.