November 26, 2014 07:14 PM

Dancing with the Stars
judge Julianne Hough went old-school glam in a black gown and red lip for the first night of the show’s finale. So for night two, she decided to completely change it up in a sunshine-yellow Naeem Khan gown. Read all about it (and get one last glimpse of her hilarious puppies, Lexi and Harley) in this week’s exclusive behind-the-scenes photo diary.

Courtesy Julianne Hough

“Naeem Khan is a genius and I am so incredibly grateful and honored he allowed me to wear this amazing gown on the finale episode,” Hough tells PEOPLE. “It was such a special moment. Thank you, Mr. Khan!”

Her stylist, Anita Patrickson, drew on something that’s inspired her throughout — her client’s boundless energy — for the punctuation mark at the end of a very stylish season. “This dress is all about the color and the bold bright vibe! We were inspired by Julianne’s bright spirit,” Patrickson says. “Without sounding corny (too late!) she truly is a ray of sunshine … If you could have a ‘spirit gown’ like you do a spirit animal, this would be Jules’s spirit gown”

RELATED: See all things Dancing with the Stars right here!

Courtesy Julianne Hough

And while some of Hough’s looks have come together at the last minute, Patrickson says this one had been in the works for a while. “The biggest challenge was waiting patiently for the final episode to see this gorgeous dress on the carpet!” she tells us. “It’s been hanging in my fitting room for weeks and it’s been killing me — I felt like a kid waiting for Christmas.”

While an appreciative audience (that would be her dogs, seen above) looked on, Patrickson added yellow diamond earrings and ring by Suzanne Kalan. “Sometimes it’s OK to be a little matchy matchy, and this was was meant to be all yellow!​” Patrickson says. “Julianne loved it immediately.”

Courtesy Julianne Hough

Hairstylist Riawna Capri also loved the dress, which lent itself to a sassy, tousled bob. “The dress always tells us what direction to go with the hair and makeup,” she says. “This dress was so stunning: yellow and happy and free. So the hair was the same — no structure, just free, textured movement!”

Makeup artist Spencer Barnes felt the same way. “For our last night it was clear that the best route would be to honor and celebrate Julianne and her radiant, confident and sunshine-y personality. Yellow was the clear color choice to highlight this quality; not only does she wear color well, but it seems to be an extension of her consistently glowing personality,” he says, noting that he went for a beauty look he calls “the sunshine express” to highlight all of that. “The makeup was designed to keep her looking fresh, but defining the eyes with loads of golds, platinum, peach and deep smoky plum-bronze tones,” he says. “A peachy lip and cheek with shimmer golden flecks added dimension and radiance.”

The consistent theme of the evening? Nostalgia for a seriously fun experience. “The biggest challenge was realizing this would be our last show together for the season,” Barnes says. “We shared some meaningful times and it’s always hard to say goodbye to a regular set of good times together.” Adds Capri, “It was the last show, so we all exchanged gifts with each other and looked back on all the looks we all created! It was very nostalgic.”

Which of Hough’s looks was your favorite? Will you miss seeing her on DWTS each week? Share your thoughts below.

–Alex Apatoff


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