First look at Joan Collins' glitzy panto dresses

When Hollywood star Joan Collins makes her pantomime debut in Birmingham wearing thigh-length boots there will be some appreciative whistles from the audience at the Hippodrome theatre.

When Hollywood star Joan Collins makes her pantomime debut in Birmingham wearing thigh-length boots there will be some appreciative whistles from the audience at the Hippodrome theatre.

The glamorous 77-year-old is bringing the glitz associated with Dynasty's Alexis Colby to the West Midlands, thanks to costume designer Hugh Durrant.

Hugh has been working closely will the actress for the last few months and next Monday Joan will be at his London studio for her first fitting.

Dick Whittington begins on December 18 when Joan, starring as Queen Rat will be joined by stars Nigel Havers as King Rat, Julian Clary as The Spirit of the Bells, Keith Harris & Orville as the hopeless Rat Catchers as well as  Jeffrey Holland as Dame Felicity Fitzwarren.

Hugh said: "Joan and Nigel are the only ones new to the play this year, whereas I made Julian Clary's costume three years ago when he did the same part. With someone like Joan Collins it is important to get their ideas first and so I went to see her at her London home in the summer.

"She had very strong ideas about how she wanted to look, and it was that whole Dynasty image — very glamorous with a bit of comedy. Joan is definitely not going to be a tawdry Queen Rat."

Joan has three costumes for the show — the first is covered in thousands of small purple sequins and dozens of feathers.

The second is a black and green number, where the skirt can be whipped away to reveal Joan's thigh-high boots, and the third is a flamboyant white feathered number that she will wear for her finale.

"My initial design for her first dress was red coloured but she wanted it to be purple," says Hugh. "However, she liked the design which is good because you can often do hundreds of drawings before the person settles on the one they like.

"We went to St Tropez to measure Joan for the outfit and she will be having her first fitting on Monday. She's very straightforward and professional to deal with — you know exactly where you are with her."

Hugh received an Emmy Award in 2002 for three best costumes, which he had designed for Cher, The Farewell Tour.

He has worked with dozens of well-known stars over the years, from Barry Manilow and Hugh Grant to Sarah Brightman and Barbara Windsor.

"Julian Clary is wonderful to deal with and Sarah Brightman is lovely and a lot of fun," says Hugh, whose studio is based on Alwyne Road in London.

"As a boy I was at Latymer School in Hammersmith with Alan Rickman. When you are interested in stage you want to be an actor — but Alan kept getting the parts I wanted. I thought what else can I do? So I became a designer — and one of my first costumes was for Alan Rickman.

"Hugh Grant also went to the same school and I've worked with him since."

Hugh has also designed the costumes for Spamalot, which is playing at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham this Christmas.

He added: "This is Joan's first panto but she is not nervous — she and Nigel Havers are good friends and he is so excited I think she has been caught up the buzz as well."

For tickets call the Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre on 0844 338 5000.