June 15, 2012 04:30 PM

Courtesy Zuhair Murad

When Jennifer Lopez goes on tour, you’d better bet the costumes will be amazing. And they are, thanks to designer Zuhair Murad, who created some over-the-top looks for the star’s 24-city summer tour.

“It is always exciting to work with Jennifer,” Murad tells PEOPLE exclusively. “There is no limit to her imagination and she is always open to new suggestions and ideas.”

This tour — which kicked off Thursday night in Panama City — “was a new and challenging experience,” Murad adds. “My utmost wish is for each costume to create a ‘Wow!’ effect the moment she steps on stage.”

That effect comes in the form of looks like the “Old Hollywood Glamour” costume (left), inspired by turn-of-the-century Parisian performers. The gown — complete with a crystallized cap — detaches to reveal a bodysuit (below, in action on Thursday).

Arnulfo Franco/AP

There’s also a blue feathered cape (center) that covers a sexy, matching minidress. But producing the coverup wasn’t easy; Murad and his team had to hand-sew each barb of every feather (thousands!) onto the garment.

The finale piece (right) is a black bodysuit with hand-embroidered black pearl beading and beaded fringe. “We took extra precaution when working with embroidery and beadwork,” Murad says. “Each crystal was hand-sewn by our atelier with special thread to ensure that the costumes would withstand constant movement and quick changes.”

In fact, each look features at least 2,000 crystals or beads, every one hand-sewn onto the garments. Thanks to those intricacies — and the fact that Murad’s team made two of each look — it took nearly one month to create all of the costumes.

However, the work was worth it; after Thursday’s performance, Lopez Tweeted that it was a “great night” and her followers showered her with compliments. Murad is happy, too. “Jennifer has a beautiful body,” he says, “and wears each look perfectly.”

Lopez kicks off the North American leg of her tour with Enrique Iglesias on July 14. To see more of her costumes, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.

–Reporting by Joey Bartolomeo and Marisa Laudadio


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