Design Diva

Mixing fashion with fantasy is four-time Emmy winner Marina Toybina’s business.
photographed by Justin frost

You might not have heard the name Marina Toybina, but if you love music, chances are you’ve seen her work. Marina has designed costumes for performers ranging from Justin Bieber to Carrie Underwood, and she’s worked on TV shows including The X Factor and So You Think You Can Dance.

The Sherman Oaks resident is indisputably at the top of her game, with bragging rights to four consecutive Emmys from 2011 to 2015. One of those was for a Taylor Swift Grammy performance and another honored her work on the 2015 Super Bowl. Marina collaborated with Katy Perry as the designer for the much-ballyhooed halftime show (she sang the song Roar), describing the experience as “definitely one for the books. It was my first time creating life-size puppets, such as the sharks and chess pieces, and I enjoyed the rush and creative chaos of designing something new and unique on such a large scale.”

Pretty impressive career for someone with beginnings that were “not glamorous.” The Russian native moved, along with her family, from Moscow to Arizona at the age of 11. Artsy as a youngster, Marina believes costume design was “always in my blood.” The family eventually migrated to LA where Marina attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. After graduating, she started worked on a clothing line and designed for stylists, magazines and music artists. “After years of dedicating my craft to the crossover between fashion and custom designs, I took a risk to pursue a different avenue of my career. I chose to focus solely on being the “go-to” costume designer for high-profile music artists, award shows, world tours, large scale stage productions and musically-inclined TV shows.”

The risk—and the singular focus—paid off. And these days, Marina, who is engaged to be married, appreciates the joys of being content. “I am exactly where I am supposed to be and doing what I’m supposed to be doing.”