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A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Martha's "Poptastic" Roy Lichtenstein Halloween Costume

Plus, Martha recalls some of her most memorable costumes (and the lessons learned).

Founder and Chief Creative Officer

 

I've always loved the artist Roy Lichtenstein's work, so I decided to dress up like one of his comic-book women. I wore an amazing platinum-blond wig and outlined a plain white shirt with black stripes. Red half-gloves, a bright-blue scarf, and exaggerated makeup added the more cartoonish touches.

 

From the time I as a little girl, I have loved dressing up for Halloween. Every year I look forward to devising my costume — some years the look is elaborate and the ensemble itself is extraordinarily complex, like when I was Fairy GrandMartha or the Spellbinding Sorceress. For those getups, I worked with the editors, makeup artists, costume designers, and seamstresses to execute some pretty ambitious designs.

 

[BROWSE: Martha's Halloween Costumes Through the Years]
roy lichenstein art
Photography by: © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein
One of Lichtenstein’s most famous works, "Oh, Jeff...I Love You, Too...But..."

Other years, though, my costumes are virtually thrown together at the last minute: made from simple drugstore ingredients, my own cosmetics, and kitsch. Wonder Woman was such a costume. Looking at the risqué photo now, I am embarrassed that I went out in public! Last year, my costume was a spontaneous response to a Halloween party with the theme "dress like Prince on Prince." It took a bit of pondering, but I finally figured out that the hostess meant the recently deceased musician and performer Prince, and Richard Prince, a contemporary photographer and painter, who redefined the concept of "artistic ownership."

 

I knew most attendees would wear purple for Prince the singer. But I found Richard Prince's nurse series intriguing, because many were bloody — just right for Halloween, and the costume could be created by a quick visit to a good New York City drugstore. His works Surf Safari Nurse and Wayward Nurse were perfect for a do-it-yourself costume, although I admit I had my makeup artist, Daisy Schwartzberg (@bydaisymakeup), drip liquid blood all over me and my uniform. The red prescription contact lenses (I have colored contacts in many colors) helped complete the look. I was tickled to win first prize that night: a silver bowl filled with gorgeous purple roses.

 

[SEE: Martha's 2016 Halloween Costumes — Both of Them!]
martha stewart halloween costume lichenstein
Photography by: Dominik Tarabanski
Getting into character on set.

A costume I particularly remember as dreadful was the "surfer girl" outfit I wore to one of Bette Midler's Hulaween Extravaganzas at the Waldorf Astoria to benefit the New York Restoration Project. I dressed in a sexy but thick wet suit with flippers and a mask, and carried a surfboard. I hailed a cab, but the surfboard would not fit. So I had to walk 40 blocks, and it was a warm evening. I arrived drenched in sweat, exhausted, and miserable. And the surfboard! So heavy!

 

[SEE MORE: Bette Midler Reprises Her Role From "Hocus Pocus" & 18 Other Magical Moments From Her Hulaween Gala]
martha stewart halloween costume lichenstein behind the scenes
Photographer Dominik Tarabanski and I discuss the portrait.

This year, I paid homage to the artist Roy Lichtenstein, reimagining one of his iconic characters. The entire costume was very easy to create and wear: a white blouse, anklet stockinettes with stripes, navy slacks, gloves, a scarf, and a fantastic wig. With help or without, good costumes can be fabricated from basic items. My philosophy for dressing up is simple: Be silly, exaggerate, and go way out!

 

[FIND INSPIRATION: Our Best Adult Halloween Costumes]
halloween costume accessories necklaces sunglasses
Trays of oversize accessories for the shoot.

Details:

Makeup by Mark Edio using Make Up For Ever at See Management; Hair by Stefano Greco at Bryan Bantry Agency for Mr. Smith; Set design by Grace Hartnett; Anne Fontaine Armantine shirt, $265, annefontaine.com. Wing & Weft scoop leather gloves, in red, $125, wingweftgloves.com. Carolina Bandanna, in royal blue, $6, amazon.com.  Rene Lazar for Shari's Place cotton-blend pants, in navy, $475, sharisplace.com. Manolo Blahnik BB suede pumps, in navy, $595, 212-582-3007. Rebecca de Ravenel x Johanna Ortiz the flora earrings, in red, $525, rebeccaderavenel.com. Diana Broussard Carl link necklace, in red, $285; nathan chain necklace, in matte milk, $250; nathan necklace in red glassato finish, $250; nate necklace, in yves blue, $275; and amore heart link necklace, in red, $290, dianabroussard.com.

 

Want to see more? Watch some of Martha's favorite Halloween moments: