London Burlesque Festival
Burlesqueâ€¦its luxury vintage, its sensual old-fashioned glamour, and its gaining momentum in mainstream culture. Immediate connotations will be Josephine Baker-style cabaret and striptease in a champagne glass but in reality it embodies a whole decadent form of style.
From wallpaper to cushion covers, notebooks to corsetry, everyone can have a taste of showgirl glamour. There is something in the allure of rich damask prints, twinkling tassels, feathers, sensual red silks and plush purples which provide a taste of unashamed luxury in contemporary times.
Originally, early twentieth century burlesque formed a mix of performance art, comical satire and adult entertainment featuring sexualised women in lavish attire performing strip tease, alongside comedians, dancers, and theatrical acts. It was almost subtle fetishism.
The modern revival was given prominence with Baz Luhrmannâ€™s eye-popping re-make of Moulin Rouge starring Nicole Kidman in 2001 which had a consequential effect on the catwalk. Then came Dita Von Teese, single-handedly pulling the movement into the media forefront what with her classic beauty (alabaster skin, rouge lips and raven hair), her now-ex marriage to fellow theatric Marilyn Manson and her flawless grasp of pin-up attitude.
Whilst it is still peeking-through to the masses, it provides inspirational costume glamour for underground club culture what with teeny-tiny corsetry, feather boas and twinkling body-suits. At the same time, glamorous fashion history has been acknowledged in both last summerâ€™s resurgence in â€˜baroccoâ€™ style with rich brocades and pre-twentieth century detailing and the 20â€™s/30â€™s silver-screen sirens providing evening inspiration for the forthcoming season. It canâ€™t be long until Burlesque has its full-blown spotlight moment.
With the aid of the first â€˜Chaz Royal’s International London Burlesque Festivalâ€™, between May 9-12th produced by the Infamous Chaz Royal aka ‘The King of Burlesque’ the event should firmly pin the inspirational movement on the map. It promises to â€˜showcase sultry song, sizzling strip tease and Burlesque pageantry at its best.â€™
By Becky Lyon