Dressing Shania Twain: Marc Bouwer Talks ‘Waking Up Dreaming’ Video

Fans welcomed the recent release of Shania Twain’s first single in five years — “Waking Up Dreaming” — and designer Marc Bouwer was in the front of that line.

The country music star donned three ensembles that Bouwer designed for the video for the song. The pair has collaborated on eight videos intermittently over the past 25 years. “Come on Over,” “From This Moment On,” “That Don’t Impress Me Much” and “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” were among the others.

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Bouwer said: “She really loves having me on the set and we really have become close collaborative friends. I have traveled all over the world with her. We shot ’Ka-Ching!’ and ‘Up’ in Madrid and then ‘I’m Going to Get You Good’ in London.”

They reconvened about a month ago for the “Wake Up Dreaming” all-day shoot in a Toronto film studio, where Isaac Rentz directed the video. As an ode to ‘80s glam rockers, the video pays homage to the late artist Prince, David Bowie, Debbie Harry and Cyndi Lauper. Twain’s emulation of each varied accordingly. For example, a ruffled shirt, low-waisted purple sequined bell-bottom pants, a black belt, purple velvet Prada boots and plenty of chains played up a Prince sensibility that was accented with a pink wig.

After Twain spotted an electric green tight-fitting short dress with digitalized printed sequins from Bouwer’s then yet-to-be-finalized spring collection, she suggested using that for the Bowie reference in the video. Together they agreed to pair it with bell-bottom pants. Synthetic horsehair was added to the ensemble to give it more of a sci-fi effect, the designer said. They agreed on using a red-haired wig as a nod to Bowie’s mane, Bouwer said.

The designer’s third look for the video was an 1980s-inspired faux-fur shocking pink shift dress with a matching coat in a tiger print that was partially inspired by Harry’s “go-to guy” in that era, Stephen Sprouse, who is also one of Bouwer’s all-time favorite American designers.

Marc Bouwer and Shania Twain
Marc Bouwer and Shania Twain

As for the flood of attention that Twain is receiving, Bouwer chalked that up to her first new music in five years, interest in the Netflix documentary about her, “Not Just a Girl,” that details her battle with Lyme disease and career comeback after losing her voice, and her decision to switch management and record companies. Twain recently switched camps to Republic Nashville, after being with Mercury Nashville since the early ‘90s.

But Bouwer was more focused on the raw talent. “Of course, she wrote all of the songs for this new album. She’s an incredible songwriter. Not since ‘Come On Over’ have I heard such incredible music from her. Every song is just amazing — the sound of it, the beat. She’s also worked on her personal look and is in fantastic shape right now,” Bouwer said. “She’s back. That’s all I have to say.”

The designer and the musician first teamed up when Twain was considered the next big thing in country music and was part of VH1’s “Divas” concert in 1998 with Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, Gloria Estefan and Carole King, among others. Bouwer also teamed with the five-time Grammy-winning Twain for her music video “From This Moment On,” in which Twain descends a staircase in a pale gold sparkly velvet gown with a chiffon train designed by Bouwer. Twain appreciated how he stayed by her side frame-by-frame advising her on poses and camera angles. Bouwer said he designed the look of the makeup, and Stacy Martin did the makeup.

“We had some issues about the hair. She wanted bigger hair. I really wanted it to be tight and pulled back. She finally said, ‘OK, just do it.’ It’s one of the most beautiful videos that she’s done,” Bouwer said.

As for what people might not know about Twain, Bouwer cited the laid-bare documentary and said, “I don’t know how much more open she could be or that she wants to be. How much do people need to know? She’s definitely driven. She’s super talented and very much in control. She looks great and is way younger than her age.”

As for her youthfulness, Bouwer attributed that to Twain’s veganism, adding that their work-related travels converted him from vegetarianism to veganism. The pair will soon be collaborating again on another music video that Bouwer was not at liberty to discuss yet.

Bouwer recently started work with another country music talent, Kelsea Ballerini, indirectly through a connection to Twain.

Earlier this month Ballerini posted a photo of herself before the 15th annual Academy of Country Music Honors in Nashville wearing the white long-sleeved gown with a slight mermaid train that Twain had worn to the 1999 Grammy Awards. Her Instagram post explained the dress was a 24-hour loan from the Grammy Museum. “If your hero is Shania Twain, meet your hero, you may become friends and she may even let you wear THE dress,” Ballerini explained.

Shania Twain at the 1999 Grammy Awards.
Shania Twain at the 1999 Grammy Awards.

Bouwer then DMed her stylist Molly Dickson, who asked Bouwer about suiting up Ballerini for her “Heartfirst” tour in the U.S. that began Saturday at Radio City Music Hall. He gladly obliged and was in the audience when the musician stepped out wearing the gold-sequined and fringed glam cowgirl look that he had designed.

Kelsea Ballerini performing at Radio City Music Hall in a Marc Bouwer ensemble.
Kelsea Ballerini performing at Radio City Music Hall in a Marc Bouwer ensemble.

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