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Dressing Dolly: Behind-the-scenes as the icon gets ready to co-host the CMA Awards

ABC/Lou RoccoThis year’s CMA Awards are still more than seven weeks away, but Dolly Parton‘s team is already busy getting her ready to co-host the show with Carrie Underwood and Reba McEntire.

“I think she’s doing five different segments on the CMAs,” Dolly’s Creative Director Steve Summers explains. “So it’s five different outfits, plus the red carpet, plus you’ll have to do the press tour before.”

“And alternates for everything,” he continues, “So probably, all told it’ll be twenty outfits that we’ll have to do for one show.”

“And if she’s playing a guitar, we’re putting rhinestones on those too,” Dolly’s niece and Production Manager Rebecca Seaver chimes in.

Dolly’s often joked that it “costs a lot to look this cheap,” but in fact, Summers reveals that every one of the legend’s looks is an elaborate undertaking.

“You always have to travel with an alternate for everything, and so fittings take hours,” he says. “And then we usually take pictures of everything, so they can go to Dolly’s hairdresser Cheryl Riddle so that she can design hair to go with every specific one.”

“We also custom-make all the shoes,” he adds. “And so after the outfit is designed, then it goes to the shoe cobbler.”

You’ll have to wait until Wednesday, November 13 to see what Dolly wears on the 53rd CMA Awards, which air live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena starting at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

In the meantime, you can check out the Nashville exhibit that includes some of the Country Music Hall of Famer’s most iconic outfits. Dolly: My Opry Memories is on display through October 31 at the Grand Ole Opry House, in conjunction with her 50th anniversary as a member of the esteemed institution.

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