seamstress waikato

Night & Day | 1920’s Burlesque Costumes

Night & Day | 1920’s Burlesque Costumes

If you’re a follower of New Zealand burlesque, you’ll already be enamoured with Dahlia and Trillian, the Ballet School Dropouts. If you’re not, get acquainted with them now. You won’t regret it. (I mean now, hit that link already!)

The Ballet School Dropouts perform as duets and soloists, delivering gorgeous 1920’s inspired performances. They capture the breathless extravagance of the era like no other act I’ve seen. Their Night and Day act pays tribute to the artwork of Erté and the music of Cole Porter, encompassing the beauty and decadence of the Art Deco period. When they approached me with their concept I knew it would be a challenge, but I was also absolutely in love with the aesthetic they were after.

Ballet School Dropouts Night and Day Art Deco burlesque wearing costumes by Velvet DeCollete 4

 

The Costume Concept

All costumes start with inspiration. Dahlia and Trillian are wonderfully organised, and sent me images of Art Deco statuettes, Erté illustrations and rough sketches. Their theme was dusk and dawn, incorporating flowing fabrics with heavier drapes, Grecian influences and colours borrowed from the sky. My job was translate their inspirations into garments that were beautiful, durable enough for stagewear and met some very special requirements for their choreography.

While designing I focused on the fluid lines of Erte and Paul Poiret, since uncluttered elegance would highlight the visual strength of the Ballet School Dropout’s tableau style choreography. The headdresses were already under construction by the talented Skull Stylist, so I sent photos and fabric swatches to ensure our costume pieces were cohesive.

 

Ballet School Dropouts burlesque wearing night and day costumes by Velvet DeCollete 5

Ballet School Dropouts Night and Day Art Deco burlesque wearing costumes by Velvet DeCollete 4


Layers, Fabrics and Construction

Heavily sequined fabric forms the top layer of drapery. Lined with satin and sparkling in silver and antique gold, this layer represents the sun, moon and stars. I carried the metallic tones into the painted vege-leather arm and neck bands.

To capture the essence of sunrise and sunset I chose diaphanous shot silk chiffon for the base layer of drapery. As the fabric swirls the colours shift between blue and purple, dusky rose and orange, just like the sky at daybreak and sunset. During this part of the act, the sheer drapery magically transforms from an asymmetric gown to an open cape attached to both arms. The mechanism behind this enchanting reveal took more than a few trial runs to perfect! Hemmed with a very fine rolled edge, the chiffon is unadorned, allowing maximum fluidity.

 

Ballet School Dropouts Night and Day Art Deco burlesque wearing costumes by Velvet DeCollete 4

Ballet School Dropouts Night and Day Art Deco burlesque wearing costumes by Velvet DeCollete 4

 

Art Deco patterns informed the lingerie and armband design. The shimmering harness draws two triangles on the torso, continuing the top line of the underwear.  Hand cut sunray vege -leather embellishments on the arm and neckbands reveal chiffon sandwiched between their layers. The bands themselves glitter thanks to geometric beaded trim.

I hand painted the underwear with sunray motifs in graduated tones, to match the chiffon and beading on the garters. ( I really love making beaded tassels, so they swing from the neckband and garters of this costume.) Dahlia and Trillian did a beautiful job of rhinestoning the painted areas to match their sunray pasties!

 

Ballet School Dropouts burlesque wearing costumes by Velvet DeCollete 1

 

A huge thank you to Roxy of Paradox Photography for these performance photos.
I don’t often see garments once they leave my workroom, so I got butterflies seeing these on stage!

If you’re in the mood for more burlesque costumes, you might like to explore my Flamingo Follies post, or the costume I created for international burlesque performer MisRed Delicious.

With Style and Sass,

Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, 0 comments
The Bride Wore Black | A Gothic Wedding in NZ

The Bride Wore Black | A Gothic Wedding in NZ

I spent hours trawling through images of artist Vivien Master’s amazing big fat gothic wedding trying to pick my favourites.

They’re all gorgeous… It’s a hard life…

But two cups of tea and many biscuits later, here they are – wedding photos proving that brides can wear black, gothic weddings can be classy, and that getting married your way is the best way! For all the wedding details visit the photographer’s blog, she’s captured them so well.

Fashion geeks can find full details and workroom photos of this bespoke wedding gown and it’s layers on my workroom journal post. ( I know you’re wondering how we supported those dramatic skirts, or how she no one tripped over the incredible veil!) I designed and made this black bridal gown back in 2014 and it’s still my favourite. Probably because I would 100% wear it myself!

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This is my favourite photo in the world right now..

Outfit Details

Couture wedding dress, foundations & veil | Velvet DeCollete ( That’s me!)
Floral Headress | Created by the bride, Vivien Masters
Shoes | Pinup Couture

Vivien looked like some kind of aristocratic vampire queen and couldn’t have been more beautiful. Imagine how those taffeta skirts rustled as she walked down the aisle. Imagine Nick’s jaw dropping when he saw this vision in lace, her ivory skin glowing against the black. It’s just too perfect.

I can never stress enough how personal wedding gowns are, and how the right one can fill you with confidence. It’s not a day to compromise on style, to bow to someone else’s demands or to water down your own unique flavour. It’s your day to celebrate your love. So be you! Be the most you possible and experience the pure joy that brings.

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I often make little information sheets for my clients, because it’s easy to forget hidden closures and details when you’re excited. While my info sheets look a lot fancier these days I found it so sweet that the wedding photographer decided to include Vivien’s in her photographs.

When I create custom wedding gowns and costumes, I always include care and wearing instructions for my clients

Making once in a lifetime dream gowns makes me happier than anything else. Nothing beats seeing someone put on their custom made dress and absolutely light up because they feel so confident! If you’d like to chat about having a unique gown of your own feel free to drop me a line, I’d love to make you feel like a million dollars x

With Style & Sass,

Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, 4 comments