While the Strictly Come Dancing costumes might take shape in little more than 24 hours, planning for the show’s wardrobe — there are in the region of 500 costumes — begins in May.

Costume chief Vicky Gill — who has headed up the department since 2012, and whose fashion CV includes designing for Kylie, Girls Aloud and Dancing On Ice — meets all the contestants over the summer.

Although she has done extensive research on them, she only meets them for the first time to discover their preferences and idiosyncrasies.

For instance, Viscountess Weymouth wasn’t a big fan of purple while Anneka Rice was not a fan.

Vicky Gill (pictured) has headed up the Strictly Come Dancing costumes department since 2012, and has a fashion CV that  includes designing for Kylie, Girls Aloud and Dancing On Ice

Vicky Gill (pictured) has headed up the Strictly Come Dancing costumes department since 2012, and has a fashion CV that  includes designing for Kylie, Girls Aloud and Dancing On Ice

Their opinions will undoubtedly grow with each episode.

“Early in their run, they didn’t get a lot of practice. So where they are now, they feel much more comfortable to speak what they want.” Vicky laughs.

Vicky and her team — about 35 of them, although it grows throughout the week — like to have a few dresses made for each celebrity prior to launch, but once the knockout process begins, it’s a week-by- week affair.

Vicky states that it is fast-paced. She feels like they all stepped on to trains back in August. After that, the train speeds up and Vicky says it becomes a matter of keeping everyone aboard. “We are not able to know the destination so it can take seven-ten days.”

After starting to think about ideas for the next week on Thursday, she is able to move forward once she has the results of the weekend.

“On Sunday nights, I make very, very rough sketches for all of the silhouettes I think will appear in the show,” she says. “I have to look at the entire picture and not just one individual. Then I return to each person to try and figure out what form I will need for my dance style. And what size do they like?

On Monday and Tuesday, she prefers to work quietly in her personal studio, while a team of six in the BBC studio deals with ‘buying, shoe requests and general upkeep of the Strictly wardrobe’ — although she’s rarely left in peace.

AJ’s waltzing wondergown 

Musicals Week is a hit among fans. It puts pressure on the design team and creates an expectation of the viewers.

For AJ’s waltz to Edelweiss from The Sound Of Music, Vicky wanted to capture ‘the essence’ of what people think of when they recall the musical.

The delicate three-quarter-length pale blue number she chose was reminiscent of the chiffon dress Julie Andrews wears while Captain von Trapp sings his songs to his children.

The celebrities get first glimpse of their costumes on Friday, when fittings take place and three seamstresses and two embellishers join the team for rehearsals

It's not unusual for alterations to go down to the wire, because only by watching the dress in action amid the lights and props can Vicky judge whether her concept delivers both impact and practicality

Celebrities get their first look at their costumes Friday. This is when fittings occur and the three seamstresses (and two embellishers) join the team to help with rehearsals.

‘We are trying to set that scene of The Sound Of Music, also we are trying to make the celebrity feel glamorous and ready to perform,’ explains Vicky.

Is that a twinkle? That’s from about 3,000 crystals. The delicate, pale-blue stretch skirt is made of 4.5m of satin and 45m net.

‘[The costume team]There are a million WhatsApp groups. Pictures of what seems like every corner of the globe are being shared.

The costumes will be ready for you Tuesday morning.

The creation of each costume can take anywhere from 1 to 4 days. They are made by Vicky’s BBC team as well as the skilled staff at DSI London. Vicky was the original in-house designer.

Vicky’s sketch are brought to life with help from a multitude of pattern cutters, machine machinists and designers.

On Friday, the celebrities will see their first look at their costumes. Fittings are held and three seamstresses as well as two embellishers join them for rehearsals.

On Saturday, 8 dressers will arrive to dress rehearsals for the show and live performance.

Rose’s sizzling samba dress 

The first step in every costume is a collaborative creative ‘vision’.

In the case of Rose’s samba, ‘she was going to be strutting her funky stuff down the red carpet at a Press event, so it had to have a fashion feel and a late 1960s early 1970s vibe running through it, hence the white boots,’ says Vicky.

The original sketch for Rose Ayling-Ellis's samba outfit

Rose loved the knee-high white leather boots she wore for her samba so much that she still has them

Rose Ayling Ellis sketch (left) of her original samba costume. Rose loved her knee-high, white leather boots that she wore to her samba. She still owns them (right).

Next, she moved onto the skirt and cropped top with silver sparkles.

‘For Rose it was a silver reference, but we felt because we were working with a white boot we should keep the base of the garment white and introduce silver,’ says Vicky. The sparkles came in the shape of lots of Swarovski silver crystals, which were hand-glued.

However, a 1970s-style mini skirt, even with crystals, doesn’t scream the bounce of a samba. Here’s how to solve it. Fringing.

For maximum shimmy, 200m of silver Lurex fringe were stitched to the Lycra skirt.

Vicky can only see the gown in action with the props and lights to determine if her idea is practical and impactful.

“I may not be able to determine the exact colour that an embellishment should look like. [until the rehearsals]Vicky says, “So, I will put those people together at 7.30pm on Friday. We have 24 hours to finish it up ready for Saturday.”

Sara Davies, Dragons’ Den Star on Dragons’ Den, went to one dress rehearsal wearing her dressing gown. Her rumba skirt was missing.

Vicky says, “Bless Sara.” “She spent two to three weeks embellishing her clothes close to their lines. Her inner voice was probably thinking, “Girls! This is starting to get a little closer now!”

The ballroom gowns are usually 8-10m in length and made of synthetic fabric like Lycra that can withstand the strains of dancing.

Vicky studied fashion design at Newcastle College of Art.

There might be as much as 500ft of feathers rolled out per series and one feather-laden gown requires 33ft of adornment

The wardrobe team has even given the application of ostrich feathers a name: feather-ography

Each series could have up to 500ft in feathers, and each feather-laden gown needs 33ft for embellishment. Even the wardrobe staff has given feather-ography a name for applying ostrich feathers.

“I often find beautiful silks and nice suits, but after five minutes they’re creased.”

John and Johannes with their stunning rumba. Vicky revealed that John and Johannes had to constantly take off their trousers between appearances on camera, so the dressers can steam out the wrinkles.

The boys replied, “We are fine”, and then we looked at them saying, “I don’t think it’s fine!” Get them out!

An extravagant dress will require 12,000 crystals. They come in 750 sizes and colours. By the end of the series, an estimated 3,000,000 have been used.

‘We don’t want to use sequins on everything,’ explains Vicky, not least because they are expensive and labour-intensive — adding that she tries to maintain a fair approach to dishing out ‘the sweeties’.

Practicality is another important aspect.

“Once the sequin has been applied to cloth, it reduces its stretch. We don’t want cloth that is too stiff or uncomfortable.

A heavily embellished dress requires about 12,000 crystals, which come in 750 colours and sizes, while an estimated 3 million will have been applied by the time the series ends

For a heavily embellished gown, you will need approximately 12,000 crystals. They come in 750 sizes and colours, with an estimate of 3 million having been used by the end.

A mixmatch of pins helps keep the scarlet material in place as it is being constructed

The scarlet fabric is held in place by a combination of pins as it’s being built.

Folds of the dress we held precicely as they should be by coloured pins and a safety pin

We held the folded parts of the dress precicely, as it should by safety pins and colored pins.

One feather-laden gown needs 33ft worth of embellishment. There could be 500ft of feathers being rolled per series. Even the wardrobe staff has given feather-ography a name for the use of ostrich feathers.

The majority of dresses have a body shape similar to a leotard, and the men’s shirts look like adult romper suit, with their shirts hidden under the trousers.

Vicky says that everyone is sewn into their costumes. Vicky says that when someone needs to go to the bathroom, their dresser will be unset so they can reset it.

For women, built-in bras can be found.

Vicky still shudders at her memory of Chelsee Healey’s dress falling perilously low.

Strictly may be known for its fake tan (50% of the time), but what you see is often a flashing of skin. This is usually a flesh-coloured panel that has been incorporated into the costume to suit the celebrities’ personal preferences. But sometimes, it’s the celebrity who is showing you their real skin.

Rose Ayling Ellis displayed a taut midriff during her samba.

Vicky says, “Rose has no worries at all, and she’s so young.

Vicky is well aware that a costume can do more than impress the camera; it can also be calming for amateur Strictly dancers.

AJ Odudu found herself at the bottom of the leaderboard after a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it slip on her floor-length Pasodoble dress.

Vicky wanted to make sure AJ felt comfortable after a difficult dance so she could waltz with her next week.

But dressing AJ is often a goal.

AJ is so beautiful and athletic that I can imagine her winning an Olympic medal. Her legs feel as if they could go on for ever!

For the average shopper, it would cost about £2,000 to buy a custom-made dance outfit from DSI. Vicky, though she’s discreet about Strictly’s finances, is very thrifty.

Vicky states that ‘we won’t ever allow one celebrity to wear another’s dress’. “But, if something I purchased has had only a 30 second use, I’ll take it and remake it. It is normal for it to go from the wardrobe of a famous person to that of a professional dancer.

The girls giggle and laugh, “I love making things out of nothing.”

Others have purchased their costumes after the show, however.

Vicky shares that Rose loved the white knee-high boots that she wore to her samba in this series. She still owns them.