So I did it. I did the thing. This new act, this new act that I’ve spent over two years planning, a year in designing and five months in constructions and finalising (and embellishing within a week) finally made its debut and by God what a debut it was! Welcome back to the Angelique Boutique blog, I’m Sebastian Angelique, London’s Beast of Boylesque and Fire and in my next feature I’m here to talk about the idea of objective and subjective, the idea of a new perspective and how important it is to look at an act you’re creating with fresh eyes.

So the debut has finished and just like that, now the real work begins. Re-choreographing the routine, reshaping tricks and continuing the mammoth task of embellishing this robe that, to my level, is only 15% done. I’ve also been on a 2 week holiday which helps provide clarity. I always find it’s best to take a break away from something you’ve worked so hard and closely on, go away and come back at it with fresh eyes to continue to create the best thing you can.

Back when I was studying art, our tutor would always give us a set time limit within the session to create whatever piece we were looking at, once the time had finished we had to take a break, chill, chat and not focus on it. When that break was over, we were to come back at it with fresh eyes and continue the project. They said this helps with keeping things objective. When you’re spending so much time close up with something you’re creating, it becomes incredibly easy to fall into a subjective point of view that keeps everything way too close to heart. You need to take a step back, peel yourself away from the work and then come back to see it from a different perspective and quite literally see the big picture of it all. This break gives you time to analyse, assess and assert your idea in a new way thus creating phase 2 of your work.

Lots of jobs have this, and embellishing and creating an act is one that certainly qualifies. Performers can have one to one sessions, theatre makers can have dramaturgy sessions, even writers have their work proof read, all to give the work the best outcome from all angles, fresh eyes and different perspective, to keep the piece as objective as possible. So with that in mind, it’s now my turn. I’ve created this number, spent this enormous amount of time working through it and now with this break it’s time to give it a new perspective and that’s already begun with the choreography. Testing pieces in front of audiences, altering certain movements to give it more clarity and reanalysing tricks to see what better approach I could have.

With costume embellishment, it’s always good to sit back and relax and once again, take time away from it. Hang the outfit up or place it on a mannequin if there’s one at hand and then assess the piece as a whole. Reference back to where your outfit is similar to the design you had, is it identical, similar or did your design change when you had the outfit to hand? Is the design you had still pinnacle to how the outfit’s evolved? Is there a new direction you could take with it?

For example, this new robe is predominantly red with an accent of black and a fire print, and originally, I wanted the colours to match perfectly with the embellishment ideas I had. As soon as I had the outfit to hand, immediately I knew the design was going to change, the crystals I chose all were close to colour matching the outfit, and some were even a totally different colour to the costume. Using Red Velvet crystals which gives this almost blue shade in certain lights hits perfectly against a black base and gives it a body and depth. I wanted this idea that the outfit could breathe, move freely and look as if it’s got a mind of its own and with this new change I can really start to see the beginnings of that. Pairing a group of Siam AB’s with an AB or Clear crystal gives that extra shape and body in my mind. I can see the outfit changing to my design but it’s staying true to the initial concept and the way it’s evolving makes me look forward to bringing it to more stages, seeing what more audiences think of it and seeing their reactions to not only the outfit but also the choreography and eventually leading this to the big West End debut which is getting closer and closer at hand. So, that’s what this blog is about!

Performance costume