On 7th December 2013 I got married and received the most wonderful wedding present: a giant Victorian paper moon prop, handmade by my sister, to be used as a photobooth at the wedding! I had secretly wished for one, but I didn’t tell anyone.
Now that this wondrous fellow moved into my house it was obvious he wanted to be used in an act. I came up with an idea for an oldschool music hall number, Ziegfeld style, and submitted the idea for World Burlesque Games 2014 along with pictures of the prop. The act got chosen for the British Crown competition – no pressure really! 🙂
Since I’m super visual the costume is my first port of call! I started envisioning a floaty 1910s dress like these ones:
And collected as many dreamy paper moon photographs as possible. The paper moon was a very popular photobooth prop from about the mid 1800s until well into the 1930s.
I should probably mention that I am absolutely obsessed with the teens era, I adore the raised waistlines, little kimono sleeves and oriental elements!! In my day job as a costume designer I have made many pieces from the 1910s already and I just can’t get enough of it. I would hang around in opera coats and Delphos dresses every day if I could.
So I started designing the dress for the act, using my favourite elements from all the dresses I browsed and turning it into something wearable on stage. That means my dress had to have a front closure of course, where dresses of the period would have rather complicated hidden closures, often at the back. Here’s my design sketch:
I wanted to have this floaty grecian look, but with a front closure and in shades of silver. It took me forever to find the perfect materials because I was too picky – but finally settled for silver satin as the base, layered up with chiffons in different shades to give it more depth. Apart from the closure the dress is constructed like an original 1910s evening dress. It has little kimono sleeves which were popoular at the time and I split them in half to have them gracefully frame my arms and give me more room to move.
Ready for the finished dress? Here we go!
So what’s underneath that dress you ask? In comes an idea that I had been toying with for some time, ever since seeing this original vintage showgirl bodysuit:
I saw it and I wanted it! There was no front view of the outfit, so I had to design one. I skipped the shoulder decoration, but might add it at a later stage. The suit itself was made form powermesh and comes off halfway through the act.
And then there’s the small things underneath:
Add accessories, hair and makeup!
The story I’m telling in the act is very lighthearted, because I thought I wouldn’t come across very convincing if I went for smouldering poses and seriousness. So I give you the woman in the moon, looking for love on earth – but she’s just too far away! 😉
Here are a few shots from the act’s debut at World Burlesque Games 2014!
To book this act please email firstname.lastname@example.org!