Sunday, 21 August 2016

Interview with Burlesque Beauty & Published Pinup Miss Sugar Rush

Photo by KW O'Keeffe Photography 
Back again after a very busy period! There really is never a good time for your car to break down is there? Especially with a baby! So from things very non glam let’s bring a bit of glamour back! There’s no place better for some glam and sparkle than the wonderful world of burlesque. We’ve so many costumier interviews lately we’ve been missing our burly 101’s so here is a 101 just for you! Miss Sugar Rush is a burlesque performer and published pinup model. I have had the pleasure of having this lovely lady perform at one of my own burlesque shows. Her classical performance style, infectious smile and high energy drew me to her and I just had to have her in my line up.  Her sassy style, pinup look and gorgeous smile have caught the eye of many brands and photographers alike and not only a burlesque artiste but Sugar Rush is a well-known and published pinup model who is well sought after and very experienced.

Take a read below of my interview with this wonderful lady and learn all about another burlesque beauty!



Photo by KW O'Keeffe Photography
How did you get into the burlesque industry? 

I've always been fascinated by the art of burlesque, one day I finally had the courage to take a burlesque  course at Burlesque Baby in London (http://www.burlesquebaby.com) – for fun, curiosity and to learn this beautiful art, after the first class I was hooked!! In this course I met so many wonderful and supportive people from and I instantly felt a sense of community, sisterhood so I knew I was in the right place. 
After my graduation, at the Garage in Islington/London I was buzzing for three days, that was it!! I was completely addicted and I couldn't wait to be on stage again.


How did the name Miss Sugar Rush come about? 
During the burlesque course at Burlesque Baby, there is a module where you learn about your stage persona, your style and your performer name. At that point I was in the process of developing my character and style so my teacher Divine Miss Em asked us to bring a mood board with all the things we would like to express on stage and how we wanted to be perceived as performers. Well, I'm a Libra - creative, indecisive, dramatic - and I was so excited that I made not one but three mood boards!! The first mood board was very dark, Gothic, noir. The second was very sweet, kawaii with pastel , candy colours and the words 'sugar rush' on it. The third mood board was very high fashion, high couture with designs and catwalk inspired images. I also had a list with name choices written down for my burlesque persona.
After looking at my mood boards (I was so scared) Divine Miss Em, looked at me and said, ‘well…I get you!!’ After giving me a major advice on my style and stage persona, she also said, ‘I really like your name’. I was like what??? (Sugar Rush was just a word featured on my mood board, I actually had a list of names in my bag) but she thought was brilliant, so there you go, I can say my name was given to me by Divine Miss Em.
You have performed in a huge amount of places. Do you still get nervous about going on stage? 

Photo by KW O'Keeffe Photography
I don't get nervous, I get super excited, enthusiastic and extremely grateful to have the opportunity to do what I love, so yes, I feel that ton of butterflies in my stomach and I absolutely love it. Having said that, I'm my worse critic, so even after giving my very best on stage I never think it was enough, I always find room for improvement and I constantly keep pushing myself.
Who is your favourite burlesque performer to watch? 
I'm obsessed with the American burlesque performers, currently I really admire the work of Miss Mosh, Ginger Valentine, Roxy D'Lite and of course Dita Von Teese
What is your favourite prop to use? 
Instinctively I'm always drawn to props with a flow such as wings, fans, silk fans, ribbons because it creates a dramatic visual impact on stage
What did you do to earn a living before you started burlesque? 
My background is in the fashion industry, I'm a fashion stylist and image consultant by trade.
What do you like to do with your time off from being Miss Sugar Rush? 
I love art, so you will often find me in theaters, expositions, fashion events, I also love travelling and shopping.
You are on stage and being photographed a lot of the time. Looking after yourself must play a big part in your life. What are you favourite beauty products and why? 

I think we have to be really careful to what we put on our skin, I have very sensitive skin, so I prefer keep everything as simple and natural as possible. My personal favorite product at the moment is coconut oil, is great to remove make up even waterproof mascara and it's a great mosturiser.  I love drinking coconut water as well; it's refreshing and super hydrating.

Do you have a set beauty routine?

I wouldn't say I have a beauty routine, but I always make sure I remove my make up before going to bed, I apply a hair mask and face mask every time I can and I drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.

Who is your beauty idol? 

I love the timeless beauty of the Hollywood silver screen goddesses such as Veronika Lake, Lauren Bacall, Ava Gardner ... I adore Bettie Page, Brigitte Bardot and Marilyn Monroe.

On that note how to you keep yourself in shape for your performances? 

I love dancing since I was a child. I do Ballet, Pilates and Yoga as often as I can.



Photo by KW O'Keeffe Photography
What is your diet like? 

I'm a pescatarian, I don't eat meat but I eat some kinds of fish, apart from that I really don't follow any diets or have any restrictive diet, I love chocolate and I'm crazy about ice cream, it's all about the Sugar Rush! 

What are your must have pieces of make up? 

I love the foundation Double Wear by Estee Lauder, lip stick by Mac Ruby Woo or Unicorn blood by Jeffree Starr, and I love wearing fake eyelashes on stage

Do you style your own hair yourself? 

Yes I do, well, I love having my hair done by a professional hair stylist, but normally I style my own hair and I must confess I'm not very good at it, but I'm practicing and trying new techniques. I love doing my own make up though.

Do you have any hair tips to share to get your glamorous look? 

The best tip to achieve a flawless vintage look I learned from a very experienced hair stylist is to not wash your hair on the day, because vintage styles are easier to achieve when your hair is a bit dirty... sounds gross but it's true, the natural oils will help giving the look a smooth finish. I would recommend a deeply conditioning treatment every two weeks if possible because after all that hair spray and back combing your hair will definitely benefit from some tlc.

Everyone no matter what shape or size wants to feel confident and happy about themselves. What advice would you have to feel glamorous and boost your own confidence?  

I feel that when you accept yourself the way you are with your traits and faults that's very powerful, you realise that you are unique and there is no one else in the world like you, that's when you start to love yourself. It's hard to be confident all the time, I don't think anyone is, we all have our down moments, especially with all the negativity and pressure to look a certain way going on, all this body shaming and the toxic side of the social media, but we have to bounce back quickly because life is short and we are all too fabulous to be down.
Every opportunity I have I promote self-love, confidence, I'm all for supporting other women, I'm all for the sisterhood, I think we have to lift each other up.

You are not only a burlesque performer but a successful model too! Can you share some of your fabulous modeling experiences with us?


Photo by KW O'Keeffe Photography
I think modeling is a great way to express yourself, I absolutely love modelling and I'm always open to new ideas, for me a great shoot is when the creativity flows and when there is good communication  between the photographer and the model. I have quite a few histories/experiences because sometimes it's not as glamorous as it seems but I'm very grateful for all of them.

Where can we see your published work? 


At the moment you can see me in the current issue of Tease and Cake Magazine with photos by Terry Medonza - Retrophoto Studio

How do you prepare for a shoot? 


Normally there is a brief discussion with the photographer/client about how the shoot will be, location/time/date/mood board. If it's a product shoot  I'm also a  stylist so I know how important is to be prepared and ready for anything so I always have some essentials in my bag such as a sewing kit, tape, hair and make-up products,  food/water (seems basic but it comes handy in location shoots), an extra pair of heels (or two).

What advice can you give for the upcoming pinup models out there?


I would advise to invest in a good and professional portfolio and to use social media wisely.

What is your favourite perfume? 

I might sound like a walking cliché but I love sweet scents and vanilla based perfumes, I wear several perfumes (not at the same time) according to my mood. At the moment I love Marc Jacobs Decadence because it's fresh and sexy for summer and Black Opium by Yves Saint Laurent

What is your approach to fashion? 

I've always loved fashion it's definitely a form of art and expression. Nowadays I don't really follow  fashion  but I have a creative approach towards the trends. I always try to express myself and my mood through fashion and I love mixing high street/vintage and creating or customising pieces of clothing and accessories.

Where are you favourite places to shop, both for burlesque goodies and for yourself? 

Photo by KW O'Keeffe Photography

I shop everywhere really, I love the high street, small shops, vintage shops... eBay & Etsy are great to find unique pieces.


What are your biggest inspirations and why?
My inspiration comes from life itself, my day to day life, books/articles I read, music, people, friends, quotes, images.
What advice would you give to a girl (or guy) reading this interested in getting into this industry? 
Be creative, be true to yourself, work hard and be nice.
What else is coming up for you? 
Oh there are quite a few things coming up and I'm extremely excited:
I'm working on new burlesque acts with costumes by the very talented Laura Nixon from Nixon Point Costumes, so expect 'eleganza and extravaganza', I'm currently filming I’m part of the cast of the film Mephisto's House of III Repute part of Films Confiscated from a French Brothel by the Director Salem Kapisaski and this will be my second experience on set with professional actors, stay tuned!!
My new website will be launched very soon designed and developed by the wonderful Nadia Silverstone. 
I'm super proud to announce I'll be again involved in the Miss Pinup UK this year, after the amazing experience I had last year as a contestant (Semi finalist of the Miss Pinup UK 2015), I'll return as a mentor of the Miss Pinup International contestants. Miss Pinup UK 2016 is happening on the 23rd/24th September at the London Tattoo Convention.

Photo by KW O'Keeffe Photography
I would like to thank Miss Sugar Rush for her time with this interview. Check out her website for more info! Stay tuned for more interviews coming soon!

xoxo

Interview with Laura Nixon for Nixon Point Costumes


Pictures provided by Nixon Point Costumes
For the next installment in my burlesque/cabaret costume series I would like to introduce you to Laura Nixon the woman behind NIXON POINT COSTUMES. I wouldn’t be surprised if you have already heard of her, not only is Laura well known on the circuit for her costume work but she is also a top Marilyn Monroe impersonator too. Laura has performed for top clients, parties, cabaret shows and more. Being a performer and working on stage as none other than Marilyn Monroe, the style icon to the world,  Laura knows all about transformation and the importance of great costume and style. A woman of many talents Laura’s costume work can be seen worn by many performers and she comes extremely highly recommended. This is why I want to showcase to you top recommended stage costume designers and creators that you can trust and learn about them and their work in more detail to give you the opportunity to be inspired.

NIXON POINT COSTUMES is a one stop shop for all your costume and stage wear needs from dresses, coats, cloaks, nipple tassels and headdresses. Everything is custom made to order and the prices are unbeatable. NIXON POINT is the fastest, cheapest and the best! 

Lucky for me I have been able to interview Laura and here is what she had to say…

Pictures provided by Nixon Point Costumes

Pictures provided by
Nixon Point Costumes
What is your background in garment construction and/or design and/or ornamentation? How long have you been costuming for?

I learnt to sew when I was about 11-12. I’ve always made my own stage costumes. I have no training. I have learnt through years and years of trial and error. 

How did you become involved in burlesque/stage costuming?

A very dear friend of mine Violet Blaze asked me to make her a dress. I did and other people saw it, wanted one and it just grew and grew. I always wear my own costumes. So Im a walking advert for Nixon Point. 

What are some of the challenges of burlesque/stage costuming?

The biggest challenge is dealing with people who don’t know what they want or find it difficult to communicate what they want. Or People who send me a photo of a couture £50,000 dress and say "I want this". when they have a budget of £50. Those occasions can be very challenging. lol.
making costumes is the easy bit.  
Describe some of your favourite projects?

Anything that pushes my abilities. I like a challenge.
I love big shapes and bold colours.
Joe Black's Galaxy dress. Alfie Ordinary's rainbow suit. 
Which performers can we see wearing some of your work?


Pictures provided by Nixon Point Costumes
Too many to name all of them. These are a few:
Violet blaze,
Joe Black,
Lydia L'Scabies Mills
Brazen bijoux,
Athena beauvoir

Nina LaBelle,
Crystal King,
Dixie Dread,
Alfie Ordinary
Dawn Gracie

I make between 2 and 6 costumes a week so there are literally hundreds of performers I’ve made things for. I sometime forget what I’ve made and am only reminded of it when I see it on stage. 
Who would you love to make a costume for?

The Cast of Absolutely Fabulous (the second film. lol)
I’m lucky enough to make costumes for many people I like and admire
Have you always had a design in your head that you would like to fulfil?

Pictures provided by
Nixon Point Costumes

Yes, its soon to be my wedding dress. I get married in October

What aspect of costume making do you enjoy the most?

Sounds cheesy, but I love all of it. I love everything about my work. 

If a new performer was looking to get a costume commissioned/constructed, what should they consider?

They need to be 100% on what they want the costume to look like and do. Have a realistic budget and try to draw pictures of it so the maker fully understands.

What difference would a new performer find from off the rack to commissioned pieces?

It will fit properly, look amazing and do it job properly. Costumes are clothes with a job to do. A high end costume will do its job perfectly and be extremely easy to perform with. 

All costumiers tend to have a style of costume/way of making or presenting their work. Can you describe what you think makes an obvious Laura Nixon piece?


Pictures provided by Nixon Point Costumes
I have a few little trademarks. All my dresses have a Nixon Point Sleeve (when possible).
I make other people’s designs so my work is very varied. My main focus is dresses and coats. I adore fur and velvet and I like people to look as tall as possible. 

Those that know my work will know it from 10 miles away. I’m very proud of that. 

Do you do courses at all from pastie making, general repairs, how to embellish/crystal, etc or do you save you skills for your own work?

I don’t do courses. I haven’t the time. I do pass on skills whenever possible though

What would you consider important performer must have items?

A robust suitcase. A sense of style and proper dancing shoes. If you’re focused on how much your feet hurt you’re not fully focused on what you are doing, and that is a crime. 

How long on average does it take to make a costume?

Pictures provided by
Nixon Point Costumes

Between 1 and 3 weeks

What are you most asked for/popular items?

Dresses that come off in one go. 

How should a performer care for their costumes?

OK, first of all everything and I mean EVERYTHING needs to be kept in separate cloth bags (shoe bags or pillow cases). This stops snagging and damage whilst in transport.
Dresses should always be hung up whenever possible.
Make up, wigs and costumes should be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis. You wouldn’t believe the state some performers let themselves get into. 
What are your long term plans for Nixon Point costumes?

Within the next year I will be expanding my studio and taking on an assistant. The work load is unending and at times overwhelming. I won’t be able to continue alone for long. At the rate things are going I will be in this line of work for the rest of my life. I’m very happy about that. 

Pictures provided by Nixon Point Costumes
I would like to thank Laura for her time with this interview. Be sure to check out her work on her Facebook page.
Stay tuned for more coming soon!

xoxo



Saturday, 6 August 2016

Interview with Cosplay Corset Genius Lauren Matesic of Castle Corsetry


Photo provided by Lauren of Castle Corsetry
Cosplay costuming is a skill, an art form all of its own. On my hunt for cosplay costumiers I have come across Lauren Matesic of Castle Corsetry. We all know how much I love a corset and the huge difference to an outfit or costume. They help to give great shape, flow, structure and can be beautiful. I was so excited to find someone who has such passion, flair and skill and uses this skill to make such wonderful creations. To make my discovery of Lauren even more exciting is that she makes a whole host of costumes with endless costuming skill. The more I research potential costumes the more I find just how much goes into every part, all the little details, all the hard work, craftsmanship, time and effort. I have had the opportunity to interview Lauren. Take a read below to learn all about her!


It began when her mom taught her to sew at age six. Now, Lauren Matesic of Castle Corsetry has been an award-winning designer for the past decade. After graduating from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and training at Farthingales Corsets, Lauren broke through as a designer for the world-famous Trashy Lingerie. There, she designed custom corset and costume orders for superstars such as Kim Kardashian, Julianne Hough, Holly Madison, and Rose McGowan, as well as some pieces for major award shows.


Since launching Castle Corsetry in 2009, Lauren has designed and built hundreds of corsets ranging from compact waist cinchers to full fledged waist-trainers in all materials from silk to leather and everything in between. 


At Castle Corsetry, we only use the highest quality materials, and the European steel bones are the best on the market. Though she does create classic corsets, Lauren’s most popular designs are her pop-culture corsets featuring geek inspired designs from the nerd world’s favorite fandoms. Castle Corsetry occasionally vends at conventions, so follow her pages for the latest news!


In addition to her corsetry work, Lauren has designed and manufactured many custom costume orders, including her specialty in expertly tailored spandex suits. There’s nothing Lauren can’t do with fabrics, whether you need miniature costumes for puppets with her business partner at Fonco, to elaborate couture items for masquerade balls and weddings. Executing dozens of commissions for every major convention across the country, she has now made a name for herself in the cosplay world. You can see some of her designs on geek-culture celebrities like Team Unicorn, Ivy Doomkitty and Adrianne Curry!


There's no project beyond her skill and no design beyond her imagination. As a geeky girl herself, Lauren's enthusiasm for her work is what sets her apart. Her dedication and attention to detail makes her designs truly exceptional. There isn't a finer, quirkier costumer around.
Photo by Estrada Photography

Photo by York in a Box
What is your background in garment construction and/or design and/or ornamentation? How long have you been costuming for?

I’ve always been a nerd. So every year for Halloween I wanted to dress up as my current favorite character. So my mom and I would go out of our way to make and amazing costume that all of my friends would be jealous of. Dress up was one of my favorite activities as a kid, and it hasn’t stopped as an adult. I’ve always had a very active imagination and I loved to dress up and pretend that I was from some other world or magical realm.

How did you become involved in cosplay/geek fashion costuming?

I really started doing cosplay after attending San Diego Comic Con in my first Star Wars Corset. After having so much fun dressing up in that, I decided for the next year I would make a full costume to wear. With my friends and I decked out in costumes that I had made, we kept getting asked where to get them, which is how my costume making business erupted.

Have you found an increased interest in corsets since waist training was put in the spotlight?

I’ve had some increased interest, but modern media has a very incorrect view on what corsets are and what waist training is. So there’s been a lot of need for me to educate my clients before advising them on making a purchase. Waist training can be very dangerous if done without the proper tools (ie a well-made custom fit corset) or research.

Photo by ModelMosa
What makes a good quality corset? 

Really, the quality of the materials and the layered construction are what make a corset high quality. Make sure you have a good heavy cotton as the base, whether that’s a twill or coutil, and also a combination of spring and spiral steel bones.  My steel bones come all the way from Germany to give my clients the best possible quality.


What makes your corsets different?

A lot of the store bought “corsets” that you seen online are, in reality, just tubes of fabric with a few pieces of boning slapped in to them. They don’t have any structure or shape to give the female body any defined curve. It’s more like squeezing a sausage link than creating a feminine hourglass figure. My corsets definitely shape the body to support the breasts while cinching in the waist.

What are some of the challenges of cosplay costuming?

A lot of times artists and creators don’t take into account real life wear-ability. For instance, a video game character may look really cool, but the artist won’t have built in a zipper or closure for the character to get in and out of their costume. So as a costume designer, we often have to troubleshoot the artist’s creations to make it look as accurate to the artwork as possible, while still being able to wear the costume comfortably and easily.  A good seamstress will have to master the art of invisible zippers and hidden closures to make the outside of the costume as clean as possible.
Photo by Joits 

Describe some of your favourite projects?

My all time favorite costume that I have created was Winifred Sanderson from Hocus Pocus. It was a crazy costume to make and by far one of the hardest, but also the one that I am most proud of. It took me two months of nearly non stop work to complete it. But I learned so many new skills and techniques that it's truly is my pride and joy. It doesn't hurt that I also enjoy snarling at small children while I wear it. 

There’s always going to be a place in my heart for any of the Playboy bunny groups. Playboy bunnies are a popular mash-up trend for cosplay right now. My company is well known for both Star Trek and Star Wars Playboy mash ups. As an expert in corset making, it’s been a trend in the community that I’ve been able to thrive on and profit off of, due to its immense popularity. While there are many tutorials and forums online on how to make your own Playboy bunny suit, it will never compare to having one custom made for you by an expert in the field.

Who can we see wearing some of your work?

In the past I used to be the Designer for celebrities for Halloween time and had clients such as Kim Kardashian, Julianne Hough, and Holly Madison. But, now my regular clients include Ivy Doomkitty, LeeAnna Vamp, Raychul Moore, and Adrianne Curry.

Who would you love to make a costume for?

Ru Paul or Dita Von Teese! They’re both goddesses to me. I would do anything to make corsets for either of them.

Have you always had a design/costume type in your head that you would like to fulfill?

I’ve always wanted to make a mesh body suit, where it was just Rhinestones conveniently covering any exposed parts. Just because I love dripping in Rhinestones.

What aspect of costume making do you enjoy the most?

I love pattern drafting. I’m a big math geek, and I can do geometry all day, it’s very satisfying to me to do pattern drafting more so than sewing.

If a new cosplayer was looking to get a costume commissioned/constructed, what should they consider? What difference would a new performer find from off the rack to commissioned pieces?


Off the rack costumes are generally made in China and are of the lowest quality you can possible find. So, while they are affordable, you will generally have an ill fitting, thin material costume that you will almost always be disappointed in. Something from a designer such as myself will be custom made to your measurements. I have access to the most amazing fashion district in the world to get the highest quality fabrics for the most accurate representation of your character.

Photo by Greg De Stefano Photography
All costumiers tend to have a style of costume/way of making or presenting their work. Can you describe what you think makes an obvious Castle Corsetry piece?

Well, if there’s a really well made corset in the costume, 9 times out of 10 it’s one of mine! But I’m also an expert in spandex tailoring. When there’s a really complicated spandex suit with a lot of pieces and designs on it I’m generally the one who can conquer them. Most people don’t know how to work with spandex, but I revel in it!

What would you consider important cosplay must have items?

1. A plain black corset. I may be biased about corsets, but I really think that a good black corset is unparalleled in it’s usefulness in cosplay. There are so many cosplays that use corsets as a base, that to have a well made black corset is essential.
2. A good sewing machine. I can’t tell you how many cosplayers I know use cheap sewing machines from Jo-Ann fabrics or the like ($200 or less) I know not everyone is made of money. But if you’re going to make this a profession or hobby, you really need to invest in a decent machine. I’m partial to Husqvarna, a good starter machine is the Emerald 118, which runs around $400. Also, if you’re looking to do spandex and superhero costumes you NEED a serger/overlock machine. The Zigzag stitch on a regular machine just does not cut it!
3.Lessons! I learn more working on the job or from friends who were more knowledgeable then I, and I have a degree in fashion design. Surrounding yourself with friends who are more knowledgeable than you will only hone your skills further.

Photo by York in a Box
How long on average does it take to make a costume?

I like to have 2-3 months for costume commissions between design and production. But I can work under tighter schedules if the client requires it. Most things can be made in a matter of days if the materials are immediately available.

What are you most asked for/popular items?

My Harry Potter house themed longline corsets and mermaid leggings are probably the most popular pieces I sell! But in terms of Cosplay, my Dark Phoenix from X-men and Mortal Kombat costumes are probably the most sought after.

How should a cosplayer care for their costumes?

Treat your costumes as nicely as you would treat any formal attire. So, keep it hung up in a cool dark closet. Don’t ever leave it in your trunk of your car for extended periods of time. A lot of costumes have glue or other pieces that can melt, especially here in Southern California where we are. It’s really just about treating your costumes kindly.

What would you like to experience in your creativity and/or your business in the near future?

I would love to be at the point where I could hire more help or get some of my ready to wear pieces made in local factories. Just taking more off of my own plate would be nice.

What are your long term plans for Castle Corsetry? 

While I love being in the cosplay culture and scene, I would really love to expand upon my ready-to-wear lingerie collections while still staying in the ‘geeky’ vein. I’ve had a lot of design ideas tossing around in my head for while, but just not the time to execute them as of late. I would love to expand my corset collections to include bras, panties, garters, etc. Someday! (with all that spare time I have…)

Photo by ModelMosa
I would like to thank Lauren for her time with this interview. Visit Lauren's website to check out more of her work. Stay tuned for more cosplay posts coming soon.


xoxo