Cloud Creations brings dress-up dreams to life with custom costumes
October 7, 2017
By Marilyn Hawkes
Walking into Cloud Creations and Fly by Night Costumes is like slipping into a giant world of make believe chock-full of Arabian nights costumes, French maid outfits, gunslinger attire and zombie getups.
Owner Pam “Gazelle” Robertson, a native Arizonan, explains that her 5-year-old Scottsdale Airpark shop has three components: Cloud Creations is the costume design studio, Fly by Night Costume Rentals is the rental arm and Cloud Creations Boutique sells clothing and jewelry items, including belly dance costumes, scarves, shawls, vintage clothing and bridal gowns.
The shop stocks a large selection of rental costumes, ranging in price from $65 to about $150 per day, and Robertson works with each person to pick out the perfect costume. But if you don’t find what you’re looking for, Robertson can custom-design a costume for you. “My costumes last a long time because they’re high quality,” she says.
Robertson enjoys working with different fabrics, beads and rhinestones and is known for her handpainted silks. She frequents vintage shops to find clothes she can remake or use for repurposed fabrics. “It’s kind of fun to take something old and recreate it with something new like adding some lace or a lining,” she says.
Robertson’s dream was to become an actress, but she never made it to the stage. Once drama teachers at Scottsdale’s Coronado High School discovered Robertson could sew, they put her on costume detail. From there she went to Arizona State University and studied art and fashion and was eventually hired by the university as a costume designer, a job she held for 10 years. She subsequently owned a series of costume shops in different locations across the Valley.
Today, Robertson’s livelihood comes from designing costumes for local theater and dance companies, including Desert Dance Theatre and Dancers Domain. She also does a big Halloween business and rentals surge around Comicon, Mardi Gras, New Year’s Eve and various theme parties throughout the year.
While she hasn’t had too many strange requests for costumes, probably the most interesting was making the original pink and white Artie the Artichoke costume for Scottsdale Community College in the early ‘70s. Recently, she made a purple costume for Butch Patrick, who played Eddie Munster on the ’60s TV show, The Munsters.
Costume design isn’t Robertson’s only creative outlet. After the store closes, she moves the costume racks aside and teaches belly dancing a couple of nights a week and heads a 10-member dance troupe called Astarte.