Monday, 3 May 2010

The Flamingo, by Chrissie Nicholson-Wild

I took part in the Ususal Suspects Hair and Fashion Show on April 25th 2010. It was an Alice in Wonderland themed event featuring an avant-garde fashion show and a tea party and was put on to raise money for the Macmillan Charity.

My character was the flamingo...

The flamingo costume was a total adventure for me, and I decided my flamingo would be a showgirl. It was all about flamboyance, feathers, legs and the colour pink!

I wanted to make a fabulous bustle that reflected the shape of the flamingo body and tail and made a bustle support out of cotton twill and metal hooping. Upon the support was put layers of tightly gathered net - a technique used in tutu making. About 15 layers of graded length net made up the final bustle and gave it a great bouncy shape. The net was then embellished with individual tusk sequins in a variety of pinks to give it some showgirl sparkle and glamour.

The corset was made out of silk duchesse satin, which is the most beautiful fabric to work with. That was backed with coutil for strength and lined with the same pink cotton as the bustle. It was a major challenge to make a corset with cups as a corset itself provides no support for the individual breasts, but usually squashes the breasts into a proud mono bust and killer cleavage. A cupped corset can only be made for small breasts as the mechanism of tightening will not support the heavy bosom. There were several problems to tackle, the main one being that the cups and under-wires are more likely to loose their shape the tighter the corset is pulled. Luckily my model was uber fittie Jennifer Clarke so the corset didn't have too much more work to do.

Once the corset was made it had to be decorated. I used glass jet cut beads, pink swarovski crystals and candy pink sequins and feathers to create the glamorous look. Indeed, so decorated was my corset design that I didn't get it finished completely for the show, so watch this space for the finished item.



The flamingo look was finished off by an extravagant fascinator which I created using a simanay base and layering feathers on it like a wing. Then I curled some shocking pink ostrich spines, basted them into place and glued them onto the base using some cutting chips from the feathers wedged underneath to allow the feather to be angled high off the base. Then with some shocking pink tights, black sequin knickers, black opera gloves and some killer heels Jen was ready to strut her stuff down the catwalk.
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