Champagne Costume: Chapter 6

Well folks, this is the final chapter, although it should be two or three; one for beadwork, one for balls, ahem, bubbles, and one for assembling it all. And then there is the work of figuring out how to transport and hang the beautiful monstrosity that I created. Am I the only burlesque dancer who, after every show, vows to NEVER again make a giant complicated prop?!?

So, the champagne glass. As I’ve said before, the idea for this costume was that I was the champagne glass and I had champagne cascading over me from a bottle high above my head. And that is what I achieved 🙂 I’m so happy with this costume, which is saying a lot from a perfectionist.

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In Chapter Two I mentioned how I used a couple 11 gauge wire hoops, one for the top of the glass and one for the bottom. I used plumbers tape (attached with a thinner wire) to add strength to the top hoop and to have holes to attach wires to. I also used these holes in the plumbers tape to attach the top hoop to the shoulder harness using small hinges. This way I could get into and out of it a bit easier.

I also attached some dollar store garden trellis to the harness and this connected the top and bottom hoops which gave it stability, just like a backbone. I ended up covering the trellis in iridescent pipecleaners and they just peek out from under the bubbles now.

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Later on as I was adding design elements I spray painted some MORE garden trellis gold and added that to the back harness so that it framed my neck and head to make me I look like a queen! Quick side note: I added iridescent Swarovski crystals to this neck piece using E600 glue and eventually they came off along with the spray paint, so heads up, don’t glue gems on spray painted garden trellis 😉

I fixed it with some gold floral accents, a clearance Xmas flower clip and a few pearl creations I made. I decided to leave the green of the trellis exposed because it was the same color as my accent colors (champagne bottle) and it gave the whole look more richness.

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I had to add straps from the shoulder pieces to the front of the top hoop so that it didn’t collapse and then small but strong chain from a hardware store  (which I later painted gold to blend in)from the top hoop to the bottom hoop so THAT hoop didn’t collapse down.

I have to say that the majority of my time was spent working out the structural details of the piece and I encourage costumers to not rush ahead because it looks ugly. My piece looked like a jumble of wire until the last few weeks, but I KNEW that it was all going to work.IMG_4371

I also ended up adding a second smaller hoop below the bottom hoop, which I attached with thinner wire. I wanted to have more of a rounded shape like the bottom of a champagne glass and curvier lines to accent my body. And my husband suggested that I bend the wires in at the sides around my waist area to give it a nice curve. I find that sometimes I am a stickler for being authentic to an idea i.e- “I have to have the EXACT shape of a champagne glass”. I am trying to let go of this impuse when it inhibits the costume rather than making it better.

So now that the shaping of the glass was done it was time to add beads. Time for the fun part! I hand strung all of the beads except for a few strands on the sides that I found as bracelets at the dollar store and looked perfect. I was also given some fabulous gems from the beautiful and generous Dandy Miss Mandy. Thanks love!

I first found some shapes that I liked (trying to keep it as an art deco 1920’s piece) and used the 11 gauge wire to shape them. Then I strung all of my beads on either tiger tail wire or jewelery wire. I used wire because string breaks and glue dries up. Since I was spending hundreds of hours on a costume, I wanted it to last and I didn’t want to sit in a pool of tears on the floor when something snapped and beads exploded all over ;P

Not much to say about the creation of the glass because I went where the inspiration took me and had fun deciding which beads to use where and what designs to make.

One thing I had to do after was ensure that all of the wire ends were covered with duct tape (on the inside of the hoops). I did not do this before the show and had huge scratches on my butt and thighs from tiny wire ends rubbing against me. I DID fix this problem before I entered the piece into SWAG because no one wants their model to get hurt!

After the body of the champagne glass was done I moved on to bubbles, which I represented with pearls and foam balls covered in white pearlescent paint. DON’T USE SPRAY PAINT ON FOAM! Just saying, it looks like Xenomorph blood eating away at concrete, and you are left with a sad nothing. I love the lightness, durability and low-cost of the foam balls, definitely the best option.

I skewered them with… a skewer.IMG_3727 Then I stuck iridescent pipe cleaner through them and had a blast making beautiful bubble shapes. Bubbles tend to combine together in certain ways so I tried to replicate this look so that my bubbles looked like bubbles and not balls. I also used a couple different combinations of paint looks to give my bubbles some depth and texIMG_4090I originally thought I would have a bubble train trailing behind me, but after “walking” in my costume I realized that this would make it almost impossible to move on stage, and I did have to stay mobile enough to parade around (as Ziegfeld girls do).

Another idea that was scrapped due to physical limitations was my champagne tower that would hang from one arm held on by a wrist and elbow strap. I may still try for this someday since I have all the glasses made and ready to sparkle!

So instead of a bubble train, I used the 11 gauge wire and attached it to my “backbone” and then, you guessed it, I added gold duct tape! My bubbles on the pipe cleaners went on last. This was another one of the really fun parts for me because there’s very little room to go wrong, it’s not detail work and there is no definite shape that it must take. I gave the shape a bit of an S curve with a splash because bubbles look better when they 
IMG_4338are erratic. And then I added a bit of a “bump” to the butt. I love a good bubble butt (pun intended).

And that is it! Done. Fini.

After a successful (sold out!) two night show with the Rosebud Burlesque Club at the Remai Modern Art Gallery in beautiful downtown Saskatoon I decided to enter the costume in the Saskatchewan Wearable Art Gala. This is an event that I modelled for two years ago and I just loved it! All the proceeds go to the Jack Millikin Centre, a unique artists retreat centre on the infamous Ness Creek grounds.

I had to give the creation a name in order to enter it. I hate naming things, I’m terrible at it. I couldn’t name a dog to save my life. I thought back to the common thread running through my mind during the creative process and realized that I wanted this costume to be light, bubbly and full of upward movement, just like the delicate bubbles floating up and out of the champagne glass. I wanted this costume to be Effervescent. And so it was.

Thank you to everyone who read this blog and who have come out to support the Rosebud show and also to those who will be attending SWAG 2017. I am so happy to share this costume creation story with you 🙂

Ciao,

Chloe

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