She has worked with stars such as Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, Carrie Underwood and Usher, was the costume designer on So You Think You Can Dance & The X Factor USA, had her items placed in the Country Music Hall of Fame, and been honored / showcased at elite fashion schools across the country, but there is a lot more to two-time Emmy Award winning wardrobe / costume designer Marina Toybina than meets the eye.

The Levity Ball spoke to her Marina in her current home of Los Angeles about her design process, greatest memories, advice to others and more. Get to know one of the most iconic females in Hollywood, Marina Toybina (@MarinaToybina)…

You are like the Ryan Seacrest of the costume design world, you are everywhere! 2013 was an exciting and busy year for you with all the tours (Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, etc.), shows (SYTYCD & X Factor), sports events and winning your second Emmy… What do you have planned so far for 2014?

I’m not really a planner. I love when things/jobs just happen unexpectedly, it keeps me grounded and my work exciting. My goal for this year is to of course continue collaborating with new artists and projects, possibly design for another tour, explore the world of SYTYCD season 11 ( hint )… and just enjoy another year of “who knows what can happen”.


If you weren’t in costume and wardrobe design, what would you be doing?

Teaching or possibly running my own talent agency.

What do you hope people walk away with in their mind after seeing one of your costumes on a star?

I always hope that my work can strike an emotion of some sort, a visual stimulation, as well as a simple appreciation for the art that is in front of them. My work tells stories and when teamed up with the right star, magic happens.

What has b een your greatest memory thus far while working in Hollywood?

Every experience, good or bad is a priceless memory. My greatest memory would have to be the 2013 Grammy Awards, when I designed the opening performance for Taylor Swift.

How important is it to have a solid team working alongside you when creating costumes for tours and shows?

I’m only as good as my team, so to me having the best of the best by my side, is the most important attribute to my work.

What is the best advice you were ever given?

To never compromise my art, my vision or my beliefs. People will always have something to say, the work will always be judged, but no one will ever be able to take it away from me when it came from the core of my creativity.

CMHOF-Carrie Underwood Exhibit event. Photos by Donn Jones Photography.

What was the worse?

Ge t a 9-5 and settle for stability.

If you could/could have design(ed) for one celebrity, dead or alive, who would it be?

Michael Jackson.

How does it feel to have prestigious design/fashion schools such as FIDM (where you attended) and the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU showcase and recognize your hard work?

It is truly an honor and I’m beyond thankful. If I can inspire at least one student to go against the norm and be the creator they have always dreamed of being, then I’ve done something right in my journey.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?

To replace hate, anger and judgement with unconditional love, compassion and forgiveness.


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