Fionna Flauntit is an all around Action Girl, she’s a member of Great Canadian Burlesque, a tireless gogo dancer for The VonDrats and a hostess extrodinaire. You can see her on “Come Dine With Me”. You can catch her next w/ Burlesque Legend April March and New York’s Amber Ray at Girlesque 6- Great Canadian Burlesque Showcase , Jan.27th at Revival Night Club. Click here for details.
1. What is the importance of costuming to the burlesque performance?
I think costuming is an essential part of any burlesque performance. This is what distinguishes you apart from not only the performance itself but other performers.
2. Do you come up with the act or the costume first?
It really depends; sometimes I think of an interesting concept for a costume and wonder “what act can I build around this idea?” Other times, you may here a certain song that speaks to you and the act writes itself. For my birthday I received a painting of Tretchikoff’s ‘The Chinese Girl’ and the next thing I knew I was hell bent on creating a tribute act! More recently I saw these Santa Claus “heads” that you hang from a door knob, they had these 3’ long white, tinsel beards, and I thought to myself “what can I use those beards for?” I ended up cutting the beards away from the heads and using them as a “grass hula skirt” for my “Tiki Christmas Island” act.
3. When did you realize that your costumes had to be custom made and not off the rack?
I think I realized that your costumes had to be custom made within the first few performances I did. Your audience pays good money to see you perform; therefore you should continuously be raising the standards. You’re costumes shouldn’t look like they can be purchased by anyone at the nearest costume shop, or worst still, the nearest Dollar Store. I’m not saying that everything must be custom made, but if you do buy off the rack, you must do some sort of tailoring to the garment (adding crystals, fringe, etc). If someone in the crowd can easily be wearing what you’re wearing on stage, then you’re not wearing a costume!
4.What inspirations do you draw from?
This list could be endless, so here’s a few…
Pin up photographs
Vintage clothing & history
5. Do you get inspired from vintage burlesque photography, movies or performers?
All of the above.
6.What are your favourite costumes that you’ve made? What was the most challenging?
I love my mermaid costume and “Vintage Vegas” costume. For the mermaid costume I actually made a ‘foam rock’ pedestal that I sit on. At first it was a challenge how I was going to make a pedestal that would be able to support myself, be light weight, and most importantly not cost a fortune. I didn’t want to use wood because I worried it would be too cumbersome and expensive. Eventually I ended up using two milk crates staked and duct taped together for the base. By no means does this sound glamorous, but you don’t see the interior frame! I covered the base with foam and built 3 sections of staked ‘foam rocks’ that fasten to it with Velcro. This way the whole prop breaks down into 4 sections, easily carried in a suitcase, and I even have extra storage in one of the milk crates! My ‘Vintage Vegas’ costume is made up of layers and layers of gold beads, billowing satin and a fur stole. This costume is directly influenced by traditional burlesque costumes with a mix of Vegas showgirl. I added a contemporary twist by using sparkler in stead of tassels on my pasties.
7. What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you while
Well it was funny at the time, but after you read how harmful E6000 is when used incorrectly, it really isn’t funny. One word=ventilation! That’s all I’m saying.
8. What materials do you get the most excited about working with?
I love working with different fabrics, preferably vintage, I just find that vintage prints are like nothing else out there.
9. Explain the importance of closures and fastenings on costumes for the burlesque artist?
Ah, this is extremely important. You want to make your costume as easy to remove as possible, nothing is worse than struggling to free yourself and it looks bad too! Snap tape, Velcro, ribbons that you can un-tie in place of fasteners are a gals best friend.
10. What was your most bizarre costume? Discuss.
I think my most bizarre costume would have to be my ‘Demon on Vacation’ act. I’m painted solid teal from head to toe, wearing a neon scarlet wig with matching make-up and I have a prosthetic ‘third boob’ (complete with tasseled pastie) glued on my chest between my real boobs. (special thanks to Larissa from Blonde Moxie Makeup)
11.What tips can you offer those who aren’t crafty?
Seek out other performers that make costumes, perhaps you’re a talented graphic artist, musician, etc and maybe you can trade your talent for costumes and/or alterations! Experiment, a lot of trimmings you can do yourself! Pick up a glue gun, rhinestones, fringe and some sequence and go to town! Find your comfort zone and go from there, with a little practice it’s amazing how far a few simple stitches will take you. You can source great sewing tutorials online as well.
12. If you had an unlimited budget what would you make? The sky’s the limit!
I would love to re-create the set, dancers and feel of the 1930’s short film ‘The Devils Cabaret’.
13.There’s a recent insider controversy about how many Swarovskis one can put on a costume.
I haven’t heard this controversy personally but I don’t think any performer would shy away from copious amounts of Swarovskis, however covering something in Swarovski’s doesn’t make it better, think of the saying “too much icing on the cake.”
14.What batteries fuel an outfit? (eg. Charisma, smile, non tangible thing)
I think the batteries that fuel an outfit are confidence, charisma, sex appeal and smile! Always let the audience know they’ve been appreciated.
–Tanya Cheex, Rhinestones & Whiskey, 01.06.11
Photos may not be used without permission.