Photo by Mark L. Johnson
Sondra Celli, a Waltham native who runs a designer dress and clothing shop on Moody Street, is no stranger to the spotlight. Her expertise is constantly sought out in TLC's "My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding," and her works have been featured in national publications like Vogue and The New York Times.
Now, locals can see their homegrown designer's works at Foxborough's Gillette Stadium, accompanied by flowing locks and shaking pom-poms, as Celli was tapped by New England Patriots officials to design the football team's new cheerleading uniforms. The outfits were unveiled last month at Patriot Place during the cheerleaders' 2014 swimsuit calendar launch party.
Tracy Sormanti, the cheerleading director, approached the designer after Celli was recommended by Sormanti's neighbor with sketches and a few key criteria, Celli said over the phone.
"I was happy to do it," Celli said. "I grew up in Waltham, so of course I'm a Patriots fan."
Celli then worked with Sormanti to incorporate the dazzling crystals into the cheerleaders' new outfits, taking painstaking measures to make sure the uniforms were comfortable but also functional, using waterproof glue with the dancers' active schedule in mind.
"We only used Swarovski crystals, so when they hit the light, it goes crazy," Celli said. "No one else has crystal in their uniforms."
While Celli said she's pleased with the uniforms, which are the dressiest in the cheerleading team's closet, the team's director had a more emotional reaction.
"When [Sormanti] opened the final prototype she started to cry," Celli said, laughing over the phone. "She told me it was everything she ever wanted in a uniform."
Sormanti said working with Celli to design the new outfits was "an amazing experience."
“The uniforms that she created are extraordinary," Sormanti said in a statement. "They are going to jump to life under the stadium lights.”
Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org