Ab Fab – Designers Vin & Omi Spill The Beans


Every fashion fan loves Ab Fab, and when I saw the chance to ask FW faves Vin & Omi a few questions about their role in creating outfits for the film, well I thought that truly is Absolutely Fabulous, grabbed my pen and got cracking . . . 

Ab Fab is the most loved TV show for fashion fans in the UK, how did you feel about taking on the challenge of creating Bubble 2016?


We were first brought in to solve the problem of Bubble’s outfit going through a transformation ( you’ll see in the film what happens ) . We clicked really well with Rebecca Hale the overall costume boss and Jane Horrocks . After solving the transformation outfit  We wanted to make Bubble relevant and contemporary in some of her other outfits so luckily they put up with our craziness and let us do the hash tag and emoji outfit next which we designed and made for a modern Bubble – doing social media in the way Bubble would. 


When thinking about the requirements for creating the looks did you watch the shows back?

Vin: I  had it firmly fixed in my head from the first time around 

Omi : It’s been on repeat in our studio for the last 3 years


To get into the characters and really get a feel for what you had to do did one of you get a beehive and the other get a basement kitchen?

Yes we converted the studio house and had a large basement kitchen installed. Not only did we both have beehives while working on the outfits we made all our staff wear them too. 


How would you describe Bubble in 2016, has she changed and grown?

Sadly we don’t see enough of Bubble in the film.  She is trying her very hardest to keep up with the modern age in a Bubblesque way. She of course is over doing it by wearing her hashtags and emoji’s. She is becoming less subtle with age – if that’s possible.  Of course nothing is straight forwards and Bubble’s hashtags on her outfit have hidden abbreviated messages. 


My personal view is that Bubble would be a V&O fan, but did you feel that you had to step outside what you do to create this wardrobe or feel it was an extension of the V&O vision?

Sadly most of our ideas are ridiculous – so it all came naturally ! Of course we’ve jumped around from Creatively Directing   Pamela Anderson’s panto looks to serious evening wear for Michelle Obamas. We also have a long history with interior design which swings from intensely OTT rooms to sleek living spaces. Our next two shows will be almost polar opposites. 


Would you hire her as your PA?

Duh – OF COURSE – we insist all of our staff follow the Bubble training manual 



Is it important to design for the character as a real person and avoid pastiche?

When we design we never think – who has done what or when – we throw out ideas really quickly and keep rolling with the energy and go with what feels right. That almost always brings us to something new. For bubble we came up with heaps of concepts and sketches – probably way too many than we should have – but it was too much fun to stop. 


How did designing for the big screen affect the way you had to do things?

Time was an issue with the preparation.  The transformative outfit was the tricky one as we needed to do two copies of a very detailed latex catsuit and 4 copies of a dissolvable flower dress that …kept dissolving while we were making it ! The dissolvable dress had almost 500 hand made flowers on it so our little army made 2000 hand made roses. It became a science project weighing the flowers and seeing how much weight the dissolvable base could hold – to say nothing of Omi jumping in and out of the pool with dresses on to test the disolvability at different temperatures.


Which is better  – A) Bubble Gum – B) Blowing Bubbles – C) Bubble Tea

Omi : Bubble Tea always  Vin : Watching our dogs blow bubbles underwater in the bath 



Jane Horrocks seems pretty awesome, is she?

With most public figures you expect a level of diva-ish-ness. Jane is really easy going and very fun to work with.  We only work with people we can laugh and develop new projects with. Jane always comes to the table with lots of great ideas and has a strong creative side, which makes working together a dream.


Big & Bold seems to have been the theme, emoji’s, roses and loud accessories, have the trends been too quiet of late and is this a reaction to fashion perhaps not being so brash in the last decade?

It’s all cyclical . One season someone will do something really OTT – like Thom Browne’s mens suits then it all goes less dramatic for  a while . There’s always this battle with most designers about what is ‘wearable’ and many are dictated by what their retail outlets want which is a shame as I know many are toning down what they could do if allowed. 


What movie would you like to do the outfits for, I imagine a V&O re-imagining of Rocky or Titanic would be quite something!!!

OMI : Star Wars – But tweaked

VIN : Something like Fight Club but flip it so they’re all in drag 

_________          __________          __________


  • Jane Horrocks – wearing a custom made VIN + OMI tracksuit at the premiere of the Ab Fab Movie  Credit – VIN + OMI  –
  • Bubble wearing the emoji outfit – with keyboard skirt Credit : Perou/FOX Searchlight
  • Bubble wearing the hashtag outfit  : Credit FOX Searchlight

About Ross Pollard

Since starting writing on my 31st birthday in 2011 I have held a number of positions at magazines and websites as well as regularly producing articles for numerous publications alongside contributing to TV & radio shows as a freelance fashion journalist including Hoxton Radio & Fashion One TV. Alongside writing, I have worked in other industries helping to design & grow digital platforms, develop businesses and support operations practices. This experience has proved invaluable in building an understanding of how businesses work, and the landscape in which retail, B2B commerce and other commercial operations develop. Knowledge of commercial interests has helped shape my fashion industry insights beyond critiquing of garments

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