This was my second time attending Carnivale and my first one where I had some knowledge ahead of time to try to prepare appropriately themed costumes for the events. My best friend Robin attended her first time this year.
Walking around Venice:
Only now I realize I haven’t written about attending carnivale in Venice last year as I finish putting away and start mending my garments from this years carnivale! I will have to go back and rectify this oversight.
One of the most frequently asked questions is how I can put together so many outfits for these events. To be honest, I can’t! I don’t have the time to make many new things for myself so I pull from my closet and restyle. Here I’ll show you the same gown restyled multiple ways for different events:
Costume College 2015: Original styling based off an extant gown:
Carnivale 2016 Atlantis party: Worn with eyelet petticoat and “coral” stomacher and headdress with glass Murano fishes
Corsetry as an original foundation of ballet is often overlooked. Many of the ideals of carriage and motion hark back to the original clothing worn for ballet which was not like a modern bodice. The corset and structural underpinnings of original opera ballet costumes of the 18th century show full sets of stays underneath entire gowns with panniers. In the 19th century, the rise of Romanticism, woman dancers are able to have more freedom of movements in their corsets and tutus sans full gowns.
Breanna mentioned Marion’s article when I couldn’t find a tulle to color match the custom dyed silk fabric for The Lilac Fairy, and it was super handy. I read up on her suggestions and picked a set of 4 different tulle colors to layer to create a coordinating romantic tutu. Each layer is doubled up so there are a total of 8 layers of tulle in the final tutu. At 4.5 yards in each layer, that makes 36 yards of fabric of varying widths.
When preparing to attend the 2015 Oxford Conference of Corsetry, the organizer and corsery fellow Julia Bremble suggested we think about doing forms for our corsets for display. I have seen this done in museums before, where they use lightweight plexi-glass forms to create an insert into the corset. I loved seeing corsets suspended from the ceiling, floating in space with no mannequin in sight.
This outfit was put together as two separate pieces for an event with the intention of finishing it off as a complete full length gown. It was fun to play around with having the design continue into my hair. It is entirely hand-pieced and hand-sewn.
For Valentines Day this year my husband gifted me a custom robe from Catherine D’Lish. Quite a luxury. I’ve lounged around in it, eaten jam on crumpets in it, taken it on vacation, and just enjoyed it hanging in my home. It is a very decorative piece that I’ve found is more useful than I could have imagined. Here are the images my husband shot of me enjoying our vacation. I have to admit it is fun to wear coming down a staircase and I have one of those at home too!
This was at the apartment we rented and outside in the private calle during out visit to Venice, Italy for Redentore this year. I wore it over my sheer bobinette corset for the boudoir shots, then added a lovely gown underneath for shots out in more public spaces.
Now I slightly strong armed my way into Marianne’s ( PopAntique ) wedding corset project. When Marianne told me her plan to pass her reception corset around, to be decorated by many makers, my inner self squeed with joy. We both have a strong attraction to pink and gray and I had purchased some Solstiss lace during the Oxford Conference of Corsetry that I very badly wanted to see on her corset. I didn’t take a lot of convincing as she agreed immediately that I should join in the project. Yay!
We finagled our travel plans, to the Oxford Conference of Corsetry, so Marianne and I would get some time discussing the project on the plane. I thought I’d start the decoration then, but changed my mind. We both felt it was better if she didn’t see any of the decoration applied to the corset, so the final reveal would be…well revealing and a big surprise. So while most of my lace was applied by Sparklewren (I did add some details from it to the final design) it makes me so happy to see it on her corset. Here is the bare corset awaiting the detailing and the lace I included in the project:
I have no idea how she trusted us all! The first thing the dawned on me was the effort it would take to collaborate long distance, with makers of different aesthetics. We had a very active discussion chat history scheming along the way. It was very helpful to talk and get others feedback to cull ideas, but also to watch it evolve. The timing was pretty tight but it all happened and was completed in time.
When the corset made its way to me the majority of the work had been done with some elements needing to be pulled together along with final construction finishing work.
I have realized, through many hours of dressing my own hair, that I need more wigs for different eras. There are only so many 3 hour sessions I want to spend trying to make my long hair looks short, for example.