Stripper Talk #11: Costuming?

Author of Stripper Talk, Sydni Deveraux

Hello world! It’s Stripper Talk time again! This is a place where I field questions and answer them to the best of my ability, hopefully giving anyone who’s interested in burlesque some insight.

This week’s question comes from Cherry Bombshell in New Zealand:

“Hi Sydni,

Firstly, I’d like to say that I think you are an inspiration – love your work and a huge fan of your blog.

I have a question… I’m a newbie to burlesque – did some classes, entered a competition and won – now have my first official gig lined up and another competition to look forward to.

I am buzzing with wonderful ideas for shows, but there is one thing that I find tricky – the costume.

I get stuck because for weeks I will be trying to find a costume that will work with my idea (New Zealand resources are extremely limited), then by the time I have it sussed my costume, the gig deadline is looming and I have to rush to put together a routine, but I’m finding it really hard, dare I say it, almost impossible to plan a routine with an imaginary dress/costume on.

 I keep researching my favorite US performers and they all have exquisite costumes.

I am juggling a full-time job running my own business as well as a blog and in my downtime am trying to build a burlesque performance career. I have trouble deciding which order to do things in – do you think of an idea, find a costume, then plan the routine? Do you have any tips or contacts for sourcing costumes?

Thank you in advance for your tips.

Cherry Bombshell”

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Stripper Talk #1: Who are your major influences and why?

Author of Stripper Talk, Sydni Deveraux

Hello there!

Welcome to my burgeoning Stripper Talk series! I thought that it would be fun to get questions from other burlesquers around the world, and answer them, “Dear Abby” style.

The first question is from Bobbie Baltimore, from Las Vegas, NV:

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Welcome to Camp Cathy and Rhinestone Porn. Sigh.



As some of you may know, during the week I make pilgrimages to an island with The Shanghai Pearl to work with Catherine D’Lish at what is affectionately called “Camp Cathy”. The above image are some of the little sparkly things that are called “rhinestones” or “stripper crack”.

If you don’t know who Catherine D’Lish is, I suggest that you open another tab and start searching. She’s one of the most sought after burlesque performers in the world, and she is very well known for her fantastic creations that she makes for herself and her fabulous clientele-such as Dita Von Teese and Christina Aguilera.

When we were opening the envelopes of “lady dreams” and hearing our now favorite sound (the “click click click” of crystal beads and stones going into their new little tupperwares) all you could hear were our sighs and moans-never interrupt a girl with her sparkly bits.And can you believe…we don’t even get to keep them!

Now, I’m not telling you all these things about Catherine so that you can think I’m bragging. I’m telling you these things because she’s a mad scientist of all that glitters. Everyday I travel over there, I learn something new and am in awe. In addition to opening up packets and packets of those bad boys above, Shanghai and I also spent some quality time “burning” feathers in a process that involves her meticulous instructions and a lot of bleach.

We are planning on documenting these two projects, the above stones being for what we affectionately call the “Pink Bird” and the second project involving many many feathers (I’m sure I’ll write a rant about feathers at some point;) and bleach and more rhinestones for Dita Von Teese.

As I immerse myself further into the inner workings of burlesque crafting (I can let you know that I was really good with a glue gun and that was it when I first began)-I fall more and more in love with all things involved in making entertainment. The sheer number of fantasy projects in my drawing book is making it very clear I need a sugar daddy and a ventilated room for E-6000.

Stay tuned for more on these projects! We’re even going to take some video!:)

a favorite: Catherine D’Lish

Over the next few days I’m going to polish up my burlesque chops by writing about some of my favorite burlesque personalities throughout the world. I’ve been extremely lucky to share the stage with all except for two, but even more lucky to have had conversations and wonderful moments with every single one.

Without further adieu, please meet my first burlesque influence:

Catherine D’Lish

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Catherine D’Lish, the “striptease virtuoso” perform, and for most of us on the burlesque circuit, Catherine D’Lish is a constant delight and favorite. From her fantastic costuming (she also makes Dita Von Teese’s costumes), her fan-work, to how she can take off one glove and leave you literally hanging off your seat (this has happened to me at her Triple Door show earlier this year) Catherine’s act is a force to be reckoned with. She holds over 30 titles, including Miss Nude USA, World’s Performer of the Year, Miss Erotic World, Showgirl of the Year, Miss Exotic America, and Miss Nude International, she is one hell of a world class performer.

Catherine D’Lish is known for her classic burlesque work, and whenever I think of my favorite act of hers, I always come to an act that involves her epic black dress. I swear there’s 200 yards of tulle on the skirt, and the rhinestones almost put me into a seizure. Black and sleek, she slinks and teases the entire audience with a grace that can only make you think of old Hollywood glamour.

At BurlyCon 2008 I was one of the lucky few to get a private session with her and I was so thankful to have gotten the opportunity to get to know her. Even now as she is on tour in Europe we keep in contact, and she’s always eager to answer any questions I have. She, and the others on my list are a true embodiment of burlesque. During the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend in Las Vegas, I even got to sing “I’ve got a crush on you” while sitting on a gentleman’s lap with the Legend herself. Thank you for slinking into my heart, Catherine.

For more on the virtuoso, check out her website:

Below is a link to her video of the act and the dress that drive me wild (Please excuse the commercial prior. Shimmy around for 30 seconds or something). For such a petite lady, Catherine’s aura takes up the whole stage!

I apologize for it not being here on the page. It simply refused to embed!


Sydni Deveraux