This month, I am pleased to bring you the experience and insight from one of my oldest (vintage?) friends in the industry. I first met Delores Deluxe around 2008 when she was performing as a singer, compere and magician, whilst programming Volupté Cabaret Lounge. Volupté is to this day the only place I’ve spotted Dita in the wild. She came to watch us in The Hurly Burly Show. Fun fact - she kicks her shoes off and sits cross-legged (trusting, leaving Swarovski Louboutins unattended in a club full of drooling burlesquers).
Delores has progressed into a masterful host and has been regularly invited to perform at the prestigious Magic Circle and shows such as Retro Fest and Gay Ski Week. She has performed as a member of The Kitten Club and in Tempest Rose’s ‘House of Burlesque’. She can now be found weekly at Privee Supper Club (if you haven’t seen what this lady can do with a banana, get thee to Knightsbridge) and has a coveted day-job as the Creative Programmer for the Hippodrome Casino. Ladies, you have her to thank for bringing Magic Mike Live to London….
DESIGNING BURLESQUE COSTUMES
Charlotte Pacelli (@primpmycostume): Ok, question one. As a singer and compere, what’s important for you to consider when designing or purchasing a burlesque costume?
Delores Deluxe: I think it depends on the sort of show you are hosting - the costume should definitely reflect your compere personality, my alter ego is quite silly and sassy so I tend to go big on costume. As a singer you obviously need to be able to breathe, so whilst I can happily sing in a corset, it’s important to give yourself enough space and not lace too tightly! I also do a bit of magic so costume is vital when planning a trick, as you almost always have something hidden or ‘up your sleeve’ so to speak.
CP: I don’t think I’ve ever seen you sport a sleeve in 10 years. So where you’re hiding things, I’ve no clue. What’s the most extravagant burlesque costume item you have ever owned?
DD: I tend to go wild on the shoes. I’m a big Irregular Choice fan and am solidly into the double figures on my collection. I think corsets are worth investing in too. Once you’ve had a custom made one - it’s very difficult to go back.
CP: I know that’s a lie. I have seen ‘The Garden’ head/ face piece. It’s a wonder of the world. I think we need to train some wildlife to live in it as a next step. So who would you most like to duet with and what would you dress the both of you in for your performance?
DD: I’m a big polka dot fan so I can see Minnie Mouse and me knocking out a show-tune or two…. get her agent on the phone!
CP: I’m on it. I reckon you could both successfully belt out a bit of ‘I know him so well’. A question for you with your programmer hat on now. How might new performers need to consider the size of a venue or layout of a room in relation to the burlesque costumes they choose to use?
DD: I think start small and add detail. Nobody wants to be lugging oceans of crinoline and netting on the number 38 bus! Lots of cabaret venues are quite small and their dressing rooms are even smaller with a good trek to the stage. So, maybe consider that - especially if you have a quick change. Also, be careful on shoes (anyone who’s watched my feedback on burlesque idol will know of my obsession!). A super high heel isn’t always the best to dance in. It can really improve your routine and confidence to have a solid, reliable heel.
CP: It’s all about solid and reliable. I have much respect for people who can casually strut about in skyscraper platform stilettoes (Amber Topaz, I’m looking at you) but I’m definitely not one of them. You’ve booked some really outstanding shows at the Hippodrome Casino, such as Blanc de Blanc and Magic Mike Live. You must have seen a lot in your time. What’s the most imaginative use of a burlesque costume you’ve seen?
DD: Thank you! Blanc de Blanc had some really interesting costume moments - the girl dancing with the man puppet in a coat was pretty epic. To be honest there aren’t loads of costumes in Magic Mike Live (lols!) but there are some very nice suits for one of the acts. I think it’s a definite case of less is more on this show…
CP: That’s just reminded me that Folly Mixture Ella Boo ripped me for getting really excited about the fit lighting whilst watching Magic Mike Live, instead of noticing the gyrating topless dudes in front of us. That said, it’s high time we both got back on our very crucial case of cabaret show ‘R&D’. To the bar!
THANKS TO OUR GUESTS
Thanks to Charlotte Pacelli and Delores Deluxe for taking their valuable time to share some insights into the world of burlesque costumes and Magic Mike. For more information or to follow them on social media, see below.
OUR COLLECTION OF CRYSTALS
Interview by Charlotte Pacelli (Liberty Sweet) - Director of costume makeover service @primpmycostume (IG/ Twitter/ Facebook) / co-founder of London’s leading Burlesque Troupe @thefollymixtures/ original Hurly Burly Girly for @misspollyrae