Local duo makes Olympic costumes

DETROIT - For Olympic figure skaters, going for gold means putting on a great show. They have to pay attention to every detail, right down to selecting the perfect costume to show off their impressive moves.

Jeremy Abbott is having adjustments made to his costume right before heading to the games in Sochi, and he says he knows he's in good hands -- those of Stephanie and Luanne Miller's.

The skating world knows the Millers for the one-of-a-kind costumes they design.

"We don't have a website, we don't have a business card, but they find you," said Stephanie. "So there's a joke, everybody thinks it's 'Luanne and Stephanie,' and I wanted to say we need a label that says, 'Luanne and Stephanie, and yes we do have last names.'"
Every Tuesday for more than 16 years, Stephanie and Luanne have taken over the conference room at the Detroit Skating Club in Bloomfield Hills. They travel from across the state with their fabric, rhinestones and a sewing machine.

"We both moved away from each other, so we decided to meet here once a week. Makes it easier for us," Stephanie said.

The two design outfits for most local Olympians, including Meryl Davis and Charlie White. In fact, they made three different versions of the dress Davis wears during their free dance.

"First they wanted a light color dress, so she had aqua, then they wanted it a little bit darker, so they had teal, then they wanted it lighter, so we made it lavender," Luanne said.

"I design and do all the beading and stoning and embellishing, and Luanne sews everything that I draw up," Stephanie said.

The ladies work as a team. And their inspiration comes from all around.

"Oh yeah, Golden Globes, the red carpet, seriously, you just, you listen to the music," Stephanie said. "A lot of times they're doing something from a movie, so obviously that makes it a little bit easier."

The entire process takes many hours and a lot of rhinestones. Over time, the ladies develop a special bond with the skaters.

"You build a relationship with them, and you're rooting for all of them," Stephanie said. "It doesn't matter what country, you just want them all to do well."

So how do they feel when they see a skater standing on the winner's podium wearing one of their designs?

"It's very exciting, and you feel honored that you were the one that got to dress them," Stephanie said.

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