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The X Factor's Marina Toybina on Dressing the Stars

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Photos via Alana Rosu of The X Factor Style

Besides Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, another TV show we've been glued to this season is The X Factor. Unlike other reality talent competitions, what's cool about Simon Cowell's LA-based series is that both solo artists and groups can participate, which allows us to observe a wide range of vocal skills and, of course, fashion choices.

Just in time for tonight's season finale (are you voting for Carly Rose Sonenclar, Tate Stevens or Fifth Harmony?) we sat down with the show's head stylist and designer for the contestants, Emmy-award winning Marina Toybina, to learn more about her process.

How often did you design custom pieces for the show?
"We took a big risk this season and designed something custom every single week. Many of the looks worn by CeCe Frey and Paige Thomas were custom-made. For Fifth Harmony's more theatrical performances, we designed everything from scratch. We are creating a world for these contestants. If they're supposed to have the X Factor, than we're the team behind them that has to have it, too."

Were the contestants able to weigh-in on the looks that you created?
"It's always a collaboration. I accessorize them, and then they have to deliver. I want them to fell at ease on that stage so that they can do their best and not worry about little mishaps that could go on with wardrobe."

Does that mean that there were no wardrobe malfunctions?
"None! We were really lucky this season. I have such a great styling team behind me."

Were they any fitting challenges?
"The opening week of the show when Paige came out in that amazing spiked headpiece and crown was more of a balancing act for her, but she looked beautiful. Overall, we've been very considerate as far as what we create or pull for talent."

When looks weren't custom-made, what designers did you pull from?
"We made sure to feature items in a variety of price points. I've dressed contestants in inexpensive looks from H&M and Forever21 as well as more aspirational looks from Fendi, Alexander McQueen and Chanel. We've been very fortunate to cross boundaries between different designers and different brands, from affordable to extremely high-end and runway."

What do you love about dressing The X Factor?
"What's great to see with any performer is how they evolve. It's been fun to watch so many style transformations on the show. A perfect example is Vino Alan—he had an incredible season when it came to wardrobe. His vibe didn't change, but the evolution of his style did, which was great to watch. Carly Rose is another great one. With Emblem3, we kept them 100% who they were, but polished it up. They're the opposite side of the costume spectrum, so we just let them be relatable. It's all about finding a balance between people."

Whose style do you admire in Hollywood or the music world?
"Music has been my life, so it inspires everything I do. One of my top inspirations is Pink. I'm such a huge fan of not only the woman that she is but the artist that she is and what she brings to the table. She's a breath of fresh air!"

Finally, where do you shop in LA on a rare day off?
"I really have no time! When I was younger, I always wondered why at the end of runway shows the designers would come out in a tee and jeans. Now, I totally get it. You project your own interests and likes so much to the outside world that when it's time to dressing yourself all you want to do is wear a T-shirt and sweatpants. But on the rare days that I do shop, I go for things that are unique. I'm a huge fan of Wasteland. I also like H&M. Designers I love range from Rick Owens to Diesel to G Star—I'm all across the board. Sometimes I'll even surprise myself and purchase a McQueen piece."

See who wins a $5 million record deal on The X Factor season finale tonight at 5pm PT on FOX.
· The X Factor [Official Site]
· The X Factor Style [Official Blog]
· Kyle Richards on Beverly Hills, Reality TV and Her New Boutique [Racked]