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Armed with yards of Spandex and $20,000 worth of Swarovski crystals, returning costume designer Salvador Pérez Jr. decided that a “more sophisticated” look was essential to portray the Barden Bellas as a capella all-stars in Pitch Perfect 2’s opening performance. Midway through the scene, Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) has a wardrobe malfunction that required Pérez to create a dark-blue bodysuit with special seams that ripped away on cue, embellished with gold crystal stripes that created a slimming—and sparkly—effect. He created seven identical versions of the skin-tight leotard to accommodate multiple stunt and photo doubles, but Wilson filmed much of the routine herself after intense Cirque du Soleil training. "When you see her hanging upside down in the movie, that’s really her," says Pérez. "Rebel did it all."
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"Rebel was like 'You are not putting me in a white bodysuit,' " Pérez says of Wilson’s midnight-blue leotard. "It was one big body Spanx."
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If you think this over-the top-tracksuit looks somewhat familiar, you’d be spot on. "It’s as if J. Lo and Missy Elliott had a baby," Pérez says of the style.
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Pérez originally envisioned outfitting each of the Bellas in detailed Frankie B. denim, but decided that "having all ten of them in metallic gold striped pants was just too much and looked chaotic." He ultimately asked half the girls to wear black J. Brand jeans, though Wilson opted for opaque leggings instead. "Rebel didn’t want to dance in jeans," says Pérez. "She’s a diva!"
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The tracksuits rip off to reveal a different set of duds underneath, a trick Pérez achieved by placing super-strength magnets on the seams rather than the industry standard Velcro or button snaps.
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Approximately $20,000 of Swarovski crystals were used to bedazzle everything from bodysuits to Nike wedge sneakers. "I had literally three full-time girls who just crystalized things all day long," Pérez notes.
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The Barden Bellas have definitely ditched the sweet collegiate styles they wore in the first film. "They’re confident, they’re successful, and they’re grownups," Pérez says of the a cappella all-stars. "Everything I did had more polish."
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The German singing group Das Sound Machine needed outfits that screamed "Euro," Pérez says. He used 70 yards of pleather and "lots and lots" of fishnets to create this look. "The first fittings took so long because boys typically don’t put on fishnets," Pérez says, laughing. "To watch them struggle was the funniest thing ever. I wish we had filmed it!"
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Pérez ordered the fishnet shirts seen here after spotting them in the display window at a fabric store in downtown Los Angeles. "I thought I had to make them and literally, someone had already designed them," he recalls. "Literally, two different people at two different times had the exact same idea."
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Every single performance outfit worn by the Barden Bellas was custom-made to each girl’s measurements. "Everybody’s sleeves were the perfect length and everybody’s waist is the proper length," Pérez explains. "Everything was made to look as flattering as possible. That’s the benefit of custom making something as opposed to buying it off the rack."