Saturday, March 20, 2010

Young Academy of Irish Dance 1st Annual St Patrick's Day Show

I'm beat. Last night was our dance show and it went really well, but now I'm really tired. Here are a couple of pictures for you (that's all I have the energy for right now, sorry).

Novice Set

I'm the one in the middle. I have decided upon seeing that picture that I hate that shirt. It makes me look very bulky. Ah, well, too late now! At least I can reuse the skirt this summer. It's really cute!

Senior Choreography

Glitter and colour overload! Gotta love Irish Dancing for the over-the-top fashion we follow!

Senior Stamp

Many of us make our own dresses or get someone we know to make it. Can you guess which ones are professional dresses and which ones were made by us? (Answers upon request only.)

(P.S. Above pictures were taken by a hired photographer, but I have neither her name nor her information. I will add both as soon as I have them.)

Gwenyver at the Young Academy of Irish Dance 1st Annual St Patrick's Day Show

I got Nancy-Raven to take a picture of me at the end of the show (my Sweetheart was busy with my daughter). This week, I made a crown to match my dress; I also tried a couple of ways to lengthen my dress, both involving wearing an extra skirt underneath, but it didn't look good at all. Also, it is the first time I wore my wig. This thing is huge and heavy. Thankfully, it didn't fall off.

Now I will rest. I still have (yet another) parade tomorrow!

Friday, March 19, 2010

From Store to Stage - an Alfred Sung skirt

This is going to be short and sweet.

Today is my Dance School's first Recital (see Shameless Plug: Young Academy of Irish Dance 1st Annual St Patrick's Day Show posted on February 1, 2010). You can see pictures tomorrow, but for now, I wanted to show you the skirt I got for me and two other classmates to wear for one number (St. Patrick's Day Set, for those who might wonder).

Alfred Sung Plaid Skirt, Spring/Summer 2009

It is an Alfred Sung skirt, from last summer's PURE for Zellers collection. I got three in our sizes (or about) for 10$ each! We'll be wearing them with a white shirt which should be cute.

That's it. Now I have to prepare for a hard day's work and an evening of dancing. Gotta go!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

McQueen is dead, long live McQueen!

On February 11, we learned that Alexander McQueen had ended his life (see R.I.P. Alexander McQueen posted on February 12, 2010). On March 10, 2010, his last collection was presented in Paris, at the Hôtel de Clermont-Tonnerre.

Here is what Hilary Alexander, Fashion Director at Paris Fashion Week had to say about it:

The late designer Alexander McQueen's Autumn Winter 2010 collection has been unveiled at Paris Fashion Week. McQueen, who is celebrated as the “bad boy of British fashion”, was working on the collection when he committed suicide in London almost a month ago, aged 40.
These last designs were heavily religious, and inspired by Byzantine and Renaissance artists, including Botticelli. The presentations were held in the 18th-century
Hôtel de Clermont-Tonnerre where seven models processed in courtly fashion through a gilded, mirrored, salon.
The design future of the label rests with the studio team, led by Sarah Burton, who worked alongside McQueen for 16 years.

(Source:, Alexander McQueen autumn/winter)

Personally, I am amazed by it. I'm not a fan of the rooster head hairdo, but the gold, red, off white and black hold a classical elegance and I would love to get my hands on such fabrics. The beauty of it adds to the melancholy at having lost its creator, by his own hand.

Let us now have a moment of silence (meaning I will now shut up - textually) to admire the last of his creations.

Photos from New York Magazine, Alexander McQueen Fall 2010 RTW Show.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wednesday Weekly Wishlist: Victorian Burlesque Shamrock Dancer

Happy St. Paddy’s Day! Everyone is Irish today, even this Frog. What better day to tell you about this wishlist project, my Victorian Burlesque Shamrock Dancer. It’s an original design by me, but it was inspired by the dancers we glimpse in Moulin Rouge (2001). You know the way they all seem to have a theme, such as The School Girl, The Pearly Queen, etc.; well I want to be the Shamrock.

Here is the long story of how the idea for this outfit came to me. It all started with shoes. Back in the fall of 2007, I was shopping
eBay for some shoes for my Fiona costume. I was searching for “green velvet shoes” hoping to find those Velvet Mary Janes you can get from Renaissance / Medieval stores, but at a discount (and I did by the way, for half the price). My search turned up, amongst many other results, these beauties:

They were so gorgeous, I just really wanted them. Somehow, I equated walking in these shoes to walking on money, as if wearing the colour of prosperity on my feet would bring wealth to me. (Bear with the pagan witch!)

I ended up getting them to wear for Christmas, but the pin-up pictures that had illustrated the sale page stayed in my mind until finally it struck me: these shoes were perfect for a costume! Then one thing led to another and I came to imagine the Victorian Burlesque Shamrock Dancer.

Now as with any project, I like to collect images for inspiration. Here are a few.

The first is the McCall’s pattern that was my original inspiration.

McCall's 3674

I really liked the look of the little red number (upper right corner).

Then, there is this drawing of some Victorian Burlesque Dancers.

Victorian Burlesque Dancers

(Notice how curvy they were? Makes a round girl feel good about herself!)

I was also pleased when I found this next one: it is a Burlesque Victorian Vampiress Adult costume.

Burlesque Victorian Vampiress Adult Costume

You know how I usually feel about commercial costumes, but here, the skirt part is just how I had imagined mine.

The way I see it in my mind, it would consist of maybe a corset, a shirt/chemise, the apron and top back part of a bustle skirt (just like in the above picture), long gloves, fishnet tights, a small top hat over my old Irish Dancing wig (a ringlet pony fall), and of course, my wonderful shoes.

For the hat, I think I’ll get one of these small plastic ones sold at the Dollar store around St. Patrick’s Day and use it to make a mould, just like in the Threadbanger tutorial. This way I can make one out of wool. Now, I had grabbed one in perfect shaped from the side walk after the parade last Sunday, but my daughter got to it, and let’s just say, it is unrecognizable.

That’s it folks! Eat, Drink, Be merry, but wary!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The 186th Montreal St. Patrick’s Parade

It's St. Patrick's Week! For this Irish Dancer (of French descent, but as they say "Everybody's Irish on St. Paddy's day!"), this means Parades and shows.

This crazily busy week began on Sunday, with the
Montréal St. Patrick’s Parade, which is the longest running parade in Canada. Of course, as this was our school's first parade (as the Young Academy of Irish Dance - most of us dancers have been doing the parade for seven or more years), it had to rain!

Dancers from the Young Academy of Irish Dance, Montreal St. Patrick’s Parade 2010

Because of the weather, we all wore transparent plastic ponchos, but heads and arms still got wet and with the wind chill, it was freezing cold. Also due to the rain, we (older dancers) all wore old dresses we did not mind getting wet. I was going to wear either my Teal Solo or my old green skirt with the school t-shirt over a black long sleeved tee when I remembered my raspberry dress.

Raspberry Irish Dance Dress - Ville-Marie Feis, 2004

One of the reasons I hated it was that the fabric I used was polyester and did not breath. Was better than a plastic dress for a rainy day? Also, I don't care if it gets wet, it's been hanging in my closet untouched for almost six years (I actually put it in the washer and dryer once I got home, to get rid of the mud that had splashed on it - it did not help the fusing one bit, but again, I don't care all that much what happens to that dress).

So even though it rained and it was freezing, we had fun and that is what really matters. Of course, winning the trophy for Best Celtic Dance Unit would also have been nice, but they won't be giving any this years due to the incident (and I won't talk about it because you might think me heartless - although i have to say, I only learned of it once I got home and was not witness to it, or else I might have a different view on the matter). It's a little irritating, but heck, what can we do about it! Lets just hope we do well next Sunday at the Chateaugay Parade.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Movie Monday: The Runaways

The 70's: a decade I haven't' talked about often. Let me correct that by presenting The Runaways (2010) on this fine Movie Monday. This movie chronicles the band The Runaways from their debut in 1975 to their breakup in 1977 following the overwhelming reaction of fans on their Japanese tour.

What does this mean for us costumers? Plenty of eye candy 70's Rocker fashion!

The original Runaways

By the way, look at this original picture and notice if you please the lingerie worn by Cherie Currie. Now look at this still from the movie:

The Runaways (2010)

I love it when I know the Costume Designer did their research.

On the actor's level, it's also nice to see Dakota Fanning (Cherie Currie) all grown up and Kristen Stewart (Joan Jett) act. I know this may potentially sound mean, but I find she is demonstrating more talent in the 1:30 minute trailer for The Runaways (2010) than I have seen her show in two Twilight movies (my opinion anyways). Good for her!

Grab your leather vests, Rocker chicks, this movie is coming to you soon!

Costumes for this moie were designed by Carol Beadle; this is Carol's first credit as Costume Designer, according to IMDB (and I think she did an amazing job, based on what I have seen in the movie trailer).

Sunday, March 14, 2010

New Irish Dance Wig

Last Tuesday, my dance teacher surprised us with a request, that all her older dancers 9and I'm the eldest) have full wigs for our show... which is next Friday. With less than two weeks, I had to hurry. I spent a good amount of time shopping online and exchanging e-mails with sellers. Here is what I learned: wigs are freakishly expensive and so is shipping when you need it immediately (Okay, I already knew both these things, but they were confirmed to me once more).

Then on Friday the local Irish Dance supply seller (Faery Reel - lovely people) writes back saying if I want to, I can stop by her place and I can look through the bargain bin to see if anything fits my budget and hair colour. So yesterday, late in the afternoon, I head out with my daughter, drive two hours (because by local, I mean "The Greater Montreal Area"; it was still quite a long way from my home, but what choice did I have?) to go get myself a wig.

The wig I found is a double wig (twice as much hair as a normal human being would have) which is a 26" long, full head wig, with large elasticated cap, loose split curls and thick density fibre. I personally don't like split curls for Irish Dance wigs (I was really hoping for tight ringlets), but that was my only choice. The other wigs were either too small or the wrong colour.

Speaking of colour, it was a shock to me to realize how much darker my hair had gotten following my pregnancy. I used to be a Strawberry Blond, but this wig is Light Ash Brown with some Light Blond highlights and it's a near perfect match.

Gwenyver's Morgan Double Wig in Light Ash Brown / Light Blond - Front

This thing is huge. I wonder how it will feel when I dance in it?

Gwenyver's Morgan Double Wig in Light Ash Brown / Light Blond - Side

One thing is for sure: I'm going to look like a lioness with this huge main of hair.

Gwenyver's Morgan Double Wig in Light Ash Brown / Light Blond - Back

Of course, I,m sure you care to know how much Swiffer cost me (yes, I have nicknamed my wig "Swiffer"): 50$ and a half tank of gas. Seems like a lot? New, it costs 120$ on average. I guess the frizz caused by many hands checking the thickness of the curls (in it's previous life, Swiffer was a display wig) is well worth the bargain.

Stay tuned for pictures of me wearing it (and of our show next Friday).