Marina Toybina, an Emmy-award-winning costume designer, is the designer for The Masked Singer, a reality singing competition that aired in the United States on Fox in 2019. The costumes Toybina creates are incredibly complex, detailed, and crafted to conceal the identity of the wearer.
The Masked Singer features celebrities, some well-known, others less so, fully disguised in Toybina’s costumes. The purpose of the show is for the panelists, actress Jenny McCarthy, comedian Ken Jeong, and singers and Nicole Scherzinger, to try to guess the celebrities’ identities using certain clues.
This need for secrecy required Toybina to create costumes that were large enough to conceal the contestant but also light and flexible enough that the people wearing them could still perform. In doing so, she drew inspiration from all over Hollywood.
Inspiration Behind the Costumes
Toybina’s inspiration for the costumes came from various places. In particular, she drew ideas from television shows and movies, characters, and musical artists.
Movies and Television
Many of Toybina’s costumes were inspired by television shows and movies. For example, “Raven,” worn by Ricki Lake in the show’s first season, was inspired by the 1994 film The Crow.
Another costume, “Pink Poodle,” worn by Margaret Cho, was inspired by the diva-like themes of the Real Housewives.
Many of Toybina’s costumes are inspired by specific characters from movies she enjoys.
Lion,” worn by actor Rumer Willis, was a combination of the lion from The Chronicles of Narnia and Joan of Arc. “Lion” was also the one that took the longest for Toybina to design and build.
A few of Toybina’s costumes were also inspired by her musical interests. For example, “Hippo,” the costume worn by Antonio Brown, incorporated elements that reminded her of artist LL Cool J, which drew heavily on her love of hip-hop.
In addition, Toybina designed the peacock worn by singer Donnie Osmond to look like Elvis Presley. It included features reminiscent of Presley’s traditional costumes, including a tall gold collar and shimmering fabric.
Toybina has designed all of the costumes for The Masked Singer’s six seasons. In total, she has crafted disguises for seventy-six celebrities. Each costume is entirely unique and fit to reflect the wearer. In 2020, she was awarded two Emmys for Outstanding Costume Design and Best in Variety for her work on The Masked Singer.