Sunday, 29 July 2012

The Gilded Lili

This weekend I performed in a show I've been looking forward to for a long time - the glorious Lili La Scala had assembled a fabulous cast for her show 'The Gilded Lili' at the Milton Keynes International Festival and we were performing in a gorgeous Victorian Speigeltent!

'Speigeltent' is German for 'Mirrored Tent' and it was as beautiful inside as outside!

The festival, which ran over ten days, was only small, but the weather was so beautiful - a far cry from the last festival I went to!

The show was hosted by Lili La Scala herself, and the sold-out audience were entertained by an elite cast of Cabaret superstars, including Mat Ricardo, Abi Collins, The Boy With Tape On His Face, Ruby Deshabille and Chantilly Lace.

A 'Carry On' moment backstage with Abi Collins

I had never met Chantilly Lace before, and although I didn't get to watch her act, I loved her sparkling balloon pop costume. I did, however, make an effort to watch Boy With Tape On His Face as I'd heard so much about him, and I wasn't disappointed: Hilarious and oddly moving in parts with plenty of surprises and audience participation, he can communicate complex emotions without words. Mat Ricardo and Abi Collins were as fabulous as ever (I will never get tired of the sight of Abi as 'Peggy Sued' performing the splits, half naked, while straddling two strangers shoulders!) and Ruby's 'Rhapsody in Blue' act was mesmerising.

Mirror Picture! With Abi Collins, Lili La Scala, Ruby Deshabille, Boy With Tape On His Face, Mat Ricardo and Chantilly Lace

I am so looking forward to performing with some of these lovely people when I go to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in a couple of weeks. Several of them are up there already for the preparations!

We were lucky enough to have a lovely driver to take us back to London after the show, so Abi, Mat and I piled in to the car and proceeded to bemuse the poor man for the next hour and a half as we excitedly discussed, among other things: Cheese and the Olympic Opening Ceremony, hummed 'Little Spanish Flea' in three part harmony, and waxed lyrical about Pizza and how much we all love London!

Cabaret Car Trip! With Abi Collins and Mat Ricardo

Arriving back in London, I headed over to one of my favourite places, Proud Cabaret, and met my beautiful Burlesque friends Elle Amour and Kitty Devine for some post-show pink wine and a good old girly gossip! A perfect way to end a lovely day!

At Proud with Elle Amour and Kitty Devine

**Things I Love This Month**
**The Olympic Opening Ceremony! (A 40foot tall Lord Voldemort being chased away by fifty flying Mary Poppins, anyone?!)**Raclette from Nova Festival**Peacock Feathers**eBay Bargains**Pesto**

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Vintage Collection

My name is Mia, and I LOVE vintage!

Fur, Hats and Jewellery from the 1910's to the 1950's are the bits I especially look out for, but I collect all sorts, and blogged about my favourite era's here - however I thought I'd share with you some of the beautiful vintage items in my collection.

**Please note, the furs here are all vintage**

1930's Double Fox Fur

My most prized vintage possession is also probably my most contraversal: this stunning double fox fur is from the 1930's and it was won on eBay for a song! The quality is incredible as it has been stored, with great care, in someone's wardrobe for the last fifty years (so smells a little musty). With one head but two complete bodies, this makes a wonderful statement but can only be worn at a very few events due to the strong emotions real fur evokes in some people. I call him Ronnie, by the way: no reason, he just looks like a Ronnie!

1930's Fur Collar


This was the first real fur I ever bought: from Stockport Vintage Market for quite a bargain as I got another piece thrown in too (it's worth hanging around until the end of the day to see if any stall-holders are trying to get rid of stock!) I think it's ferret, but I'm not 100% sure! I call it Stitches as there is a little damage to one side of the nose that has been stitched closed. I'm not 100% sure whether this is genuine 1930's however the company on the label was registered in 1857 and had premises in Halifax until around 1936 so I assume it's around that old!

1940's Mink Collar

This was the fur I bought together with Stitches at the Vintage Fair - again I think it's 1940's and it feels like mink but there's no label on this one to be able to tell. There are two bodies with two sets of feet and tails, and although it's quite small, it sits perfectly over a cardigan or coat collar. I call this one Tails because of the amount of tails! I was told it was 1940's however I could be wrong.

1950's Stole

This beautiful fur was bought for me as a birthday present from the lovely Glorian Gray - I don't really know what kind of fur it is to be honest! The colours are stunning and the shading in the stripes looks so beautiful when the light hits it. It's a particularly large piece of fur which makes it perfect for throwing over my shoulders when it's cold, or after a show over an evening dress.

1960's Fur Stole

This is not real fur, but is a good simulation - the stole is shaped and fits perfectly over shoulders: I wear it closed with a brooch usually but the shaping is so good that it doesn't really need it. There are several pleats of fur which makes it look really luxurious - another fabulous find from the Stockport Vintage Fair! 

Edwardian Ladies Jacket


This is surely one of the most unique vintage items I've seen - obviously as time goes on, the quality of clothes specifically degrades, so to find something like this, from the early 1910's, in such wonderful condition, is remarkable. It is mostly handmade, as most clothes for the middle and upper classes would have been, in dark brown pinstriped cotton with a silk modesty panel, gorgeous lace detailing on the cuffs and covered buttons. The only sign of wear and tear is a little rust on the hook-and-eye fastening of the modesty panel so it has weathered the years incredibly well! I bought this from an antiques collector friend of mine, who has a talent for finding beautiful and unusual things, that he knows I'll go crazy for!

Victorian Lace Collar


This gorgeous creation is a handmade lace collar from the late Victorian era, possibly 1890's. It was designed for adding over blouses as a modesty panel or to add a little more detail to an outfit. The beautiful, handmade lace is stitched over a black backing and secured with two press-studs. The only damage is a little discolouration, some rust on the studs and a small hole in the lace pattern. However it is still a beautiful piece and is among the oldest things I own.

Red 'Leslie James' Hat


This beautiful vintage hat from the Leslie James company in California was a gift to me by my antiques friend - it is a gorgeous soft red felt and is shaped so it can be worn in a few different ways.  There are bands of red felt around the edges and a black fabric trim on one side. I was told this was 1940's - the company was trading from the mid 30's to the late 60's so it's reasonable to agree!

1970's 'Frederick Fox' Hat


I picked up this little gem at 'Room at the Top' Vintage store in Stockport one rainy Sunday. It is a tear-drop  shaped felt pill-box hat with felt peak detail and white knotted tassels hanging from the back. The gorgeous soft felt sits beautifully on the head and it is made by Frederick Fox who has made hats for the Queen, Princess Diana and '2001: A Space Odyssey'! Although it is a relatively modern piece, it is in a vintage style and looks beautiful as part of a 1940's styled outfit.

Vintage Dressing Table Sets


I wish I had a beautiful, large dressing table to display these in the way they deserve: the silver plated mirror and brush set are from the 1950's and have only slight tarnishing to show their age - these were another find from the Stockport Vintage Village (I spend so much money there!) The painted hand-mirror is from the 1920's and is in such incredible condition for its age. This was a birthday gift from my antiques collector friend as he knows how much I love the 1920's - it has been hand-painted and fired and, at the time, would have cost more than silver which makes it highly collectable and rare!

1950's Pearls: "Pompadour Pearls - Pearls for a Princess"


Another gift from my lovely antiques collector friend! Pearls are my birthstone and I absolutely adore them. Pompadour Pearls also used the slogan "Pearls for a Princess" and since my nickname is the Burlesque Princess, it is especially fitting! These beautiful 1950's simulated pearls are in their original box and have a lovely diamant√© clasp - I wear them so rarely as they are very precious to me, but I always get compliments when I do.

1920's Purse


Another little bargain from 'Room at the Top' vintage store: this 1920's pleated silk purse in a beautiful pale blue with cream lining, came with the original hand-mirror still inside! It has a little clip section for loose change and is just big enough for a lipstick and a phone - what more do you need?! The clasp is missing one or two paste jewels but the metal detailing is gorgeous enough without it, and the few loose threads in the handle are the only signs of age.

Well I hope you've enjoyed looking through some of my vintage collection - I've blogged about a couple of the vintage fairs I've been to here and here, or why not have a nosy at my review of the book 'Vintage Style'

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Love Vintage

As regular readers of this blog will know (or people who know me in real life!), I am an avid fan of beautiful vintage and antiques: every period produces beautiful collectors items, but I have a few favourite eras that I keep an eye out for:

Belle Epoque: considered to be the years 1890-1914 - Art Nouveau typified this period (which I love) and the Moulin Rouge and Folies Bergere were in their heyday. It was a period of glamour, scandal, courtesans, dancers, joie-de-vivre and bohemia.

Beauties of the Belle Epoque ** Art Nouveau Seasons (Mucha)

1920's - 1930's: I adore the fashions of this era, even if they don't really suit my body shape! I like the clean lines of Art Deco and the opulent, over-the-top clothing the upper-classes wore. The Roaring Twenties introduced Jazz, Flappers, and the Bright Young People. Silent pictures had soundtrack introduced in 1926, part-talking in 1927, full talkies in 1928 and the first full-colour film was produced in 1929.
The 1930's saw some of the most enduring literature ever produced, including 'The Hobbit' and 'Brave New World' and ladies fashion was revolutionised with the influence of Coco Chanel.

Ladies of the 1920's ** 1930's Ladies Fashion

1940's - 1950's: the fashions of this era suit my body shape and lifestyle, and I love how 'pulled-together' they make me look and feel. During the war years, womens rationing meant that, although they couldn't spend as much on clothing, more was made of what you could afford, and ladies looked good on a budget! (Lessons for today, I think!)
During the 1950's, there was much more of a youth culture and clothing and fashions reflected this: outfits were fun, music was faster and ladies could dance all night - in trousers if they wanted to!

1940's Dancing ** 1950's Fashion (Dior: New Look)

I love shopping for vintage - check out some of my finds here or have a look at this amazing book I found!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Wonderful Wet Spot

I have arrived home from performing at the fabulous "The Wet Spot" in Leeds - this show has been going for years after it was set up by Ryvita Von Cheese, has survived the founder moving to the other side of the country, and always has incredible line-ups.

The audience

The show was run by Morning Star and Daisy Cutter, and hosted by the inimitable Joe Black. The audience were as raucous as ever, which definitely helps with Joe's style of hosting!

Backstage with Joe Black

I was performing alongside the gorgeous Amelie Soleil, Bijou Noir (whose Josephine Baker tribute act is one of my favourites!) and I got to see Sherry Trifle's fantastic new Lady Liberty act too! The only act on the bill I'd never met before was the wonderful Moorita: I didn't get to see much of her acts but they sounded brilliant, and the little I did see was fabulously funny.

Backstage with Bijou Noir and Amelie Soleil

With Sherry Trifle (she had hat-marks from the Statue of Liberty headpiece!)

Unfortunately I missed the last third of the show as I had to dash and catch my last train home: I had really wanted to see Joe and Arran's new double-act but I suppose I shall have to wait until it surfaces on YouTube!

However, after catching a packed train full of drunk girls, angry men and the smell of late night McDonalds and beer, I arrived home in one piece to a cool glass of pink wine - how blissful!

Mirror Picture! With Joe Black, Amelie Soleil, Arran and Moorita

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

High Tease and High Glamour

On Saturday I was excited to be rejoining High Tease at The Lowry - this fabulous venue was the first place I ever performed with The Ministry of Burlesque a little over two years ago and it's always lovely to be back.

I was Stage-Managing the first half, which is terrifying: I always get much more nervous for kittening than performing (and I get nervous as hell for that already!) as there is so much more responsibility, but it went without a hitch! Mostly thanks to Dan from Circus House Manchester who helped with Ms. Merlin's 'Wonder Woman' act as it involved lots of throwing of things and I don't have the best aim - I throw like a girl, hehehe.

Ria Lina was hosting and we were joined by the incredible Mazeppa Cossack dance troupe who recreate traditional Russian Folk dances with a modern, audience interactive twist. There were also two guys from Circus House Manchester who did LED poi and staffing as a chimney sweep! It was a very exciting show and the audience loved it.

The best thing about doing a show so close to home is being able to get back to my own bed for the night and I was soon tucked up with a glass of wine and a classic movie! Bliss!

The next day I had a wonderfully glamorous photo shoot planned with a fabulous, up and coming photographer - we were hoping to recreate some classic Hollywood shots for a couple of exciting projects I have in the pipeline.

Classic Hollywood Glamour

We began with a more natural look against a white background, and worked through a high-contrast glamour look and a decadent green satin drape before ending with some beautiful black and white images.

High Contrast Glamour

All of the images from the shoot are available to view on my website at and hopefully I'll be able to reveal more about the project in a few weeks!