Although Johnny Wujek recently replaced Jay Manuel as a judge on America’s Next Top Model, Wujek is better known as Katy Perry’s stylist and creative genius behind some of Katy’s most memorable wardrobe moments in music.
For Part of Me, a video diary like music documentary that chronicles Katy Perry’s year-long California Dreams World Tour in 2011 and her struggles to become a star, Johnny Wujek styled Perry’s wardrobe with an abundance of energy and color to match her fun personality.
With Katy Perry The Movie: Part of Me set for release on Blu-ray and DVD on September 18, The Deadbolt went one-on-one with Johnny Wujeck to get the exclusive scoop on styling Katy Perry, his approach to technology, how he created the now famous peppermint bra, and what Wujek loves about Katy’s real story.
THE DEADBOLT: How did you approach styling Katy for the movie as compared to what you’d normally do? Were there any restrictions?
JOHNNY WUJEK: There were no restrictions. The cool thing about it was that it was shot like a documentary, so I did what I did like a normally do.
THE DEADBOLT: So, the 3D format didn’t impact your choices at all?
WUJEK: No. The thing was, we didn’t necessarily know it was going to be a movie right away. We were just documenting the tour and seeing where it would go and what could happen. I designed everything with it just being a stage performance.
Some of the LED stuff looked super cool in 3D. The spinning peppermints, the Cool Whip cans, it all just worked out. I didn’t think anything would be cool in 3D because I didn’t know it was going to be 3D. That was just a bonus.
THE DEADBOLT: Since technology changes so fast these days, is it easier for you to be new and innovative?
WUJEK: Absolutely! The cool thing that I love about my job, especially with Katy, is that you make a dot dress and then you go, “Let’s light it up! Let’s make it spin. How will it dissolve? Let’s change magic dresses.” It’s always about the next level. It’s always about the future and taking it somewhere where no one else has.
I just got a really cool e-mail from this woman who’s working with all of these heat sensitive and sound sensitive fabrics. You can literally make a dress that will react to the sound of the music and change. I couldn’t even wrap my head around that. I was like, “Oh, my god, the things I could do with that.”
THE DEADBOLT: How did you come up with the spinning bra idea on the peppermint dress?
WUJEK: That was basically the second round of tour when we started the U.S. tour. We wanted to do a couple of cool costumes for the opener and the closer and a few in between. So I had this idea for peppermints because they’re super visual and distinctive. It’s always fun to play on her femininity and have spinning peppermints on her boobs.
We had these designers we work with in New York called The Blonds and we pitched the idea to them. We also had a guy in L.A. doing the mechanics. It was a three-way collaboration with me designing, one team making, and then a team in L.A. that wired it.
It was really fun pulling it out of the box when it arrived. When showing it to Katy, she literally took it out of my hand on the hanger and ran around the whole stadium showing everyone, turning the switch on and off, running away and then turning it back on. My favorite thing is when she gets excited by a costume.
THE DEADBOLT: Since Katy deals with a lot of bright pinks, blues, and purples, how do you color coordinate as she evolves so it looks fresh and appealing?
WUJEK: Well, one thing that we were doing for a while, when she was changing her hair colors a lot, we would always play off of her hair color. So when her hair was pink, we’d wear pink. If we were wearing blue, her hair would be blue. If her hair was purple, she’d wear purple. Even color coordinating her fragrance bottle to the color of the dress she’s wearing.
It’s always a fun thing for us to play off of. We love taking a theme and running with it and being kitschy about little things, like The Smurfs premiere when we made the Smurfette dress. It’s always fun to play on a theme.
She loves color. It’s surprising now because she’s a little more “90s goth” at the moment. She’s been wearing a lot more black. Back in the day, she was like, “No black! No black!” Now she’s into it.
THE DEADBOLT: How much of a challenge is it to keep things within Katy’s style but also make sure you’re not doing someone else’s?
WUJEK: Well, you’re always going to crossover somewhere. Everyone’s doing everything. I feel that we’re just doing what we like and hoping people like it. I mean, everyone has their thing. The good thing about Katy is that she can wear a banana costume one day and Couture the next day.
THE DEADBOLT: What was your favorite part of the movie, or Katy’s real story?
WUJEK: My favorite part about Katy’s story is that through everything, through all of the struggle and all of the success, she’s managed to stay the same person from the day I first met her. She’s just so amazing and just such a generous, loving, and patient person that I love seeing what success can do to someone like her and she’s still who she is.
You see stories of people who have crumbled or become corrupt, but she’s just genuine. She’s surrounded by amazing people and filled with love and support. I just love that.
Pick up your own copy of Katy Perry The Movie: Part of Me at Amazon.