Anatomy of a Costume, Cues Edition

It’s time once again for Anatomy of a Costume!

Anatomy of a Costume, Sophia Ravenna, Cues & Tattoos

This is one of the most popular features on my blog, where I discuss the thought process and artists behind a costume for a major performance. This time around we’re of course talking about Cues & Tattoos! If you want to see this costume in motion, check out my performance.

Dancing at Cues & Tattoos

As you can see, I went for more of a tribal aesthetic than I usually do, because Cues is a traditionally tribal event and asked that even its fusion performers try to give a little nod to that in their dancing and costuming. So how did I put together this look?

Anatomy of a Costume

This costume had two requirements: it had to have a tribal feel, and it had to go well with my green SUPERFAN because I feel it’s very important for a prop and a costume to complement each other, especially when performing at a major festival. Now usually when I buy green costuming, I go for more of an olive tone, so most of my green stuff did not go with the fan!

The Color Scheme

Rather than going for a really green costume and a really green prop, I decided to instead go for a black costume with multi-color accents, including a couple of major green accents. The result is a really versatile costume that I can easily pair with other props, and I can swap things in and out to change up the look as needed. I actually liked it so much that I wore it again for my performance this past weekend, which did not involve the superfan.

The Things I Made

Usually these posts are chock-full of items I purchased from other vendors, so I am happy to say that I made several significant parts of my costume! The bra is an old workhorse that I created when I was dancing with Fire & Gold Belly Dance, and I still break it out whenever I need to be “tribal.” It got a bit of a makeover for Cues, however. I put on a new, sturdier halter strap, sanded off the sharp edges of the metal bits, reinforced the stitching on all the metal bits, and then I added some Swarovski Crystal AB rhinestones for a little sparkle.

I also made my belt! This is a very special belt. I had seen online how you could make a tribal belt by just stitching a bunch of medallions down on a base, so I decided to do that… But rather than buying a bunch of medallions in one go, I picked them out specially at several events. This belt includes medallions purchased at Datura Studio during Cultivation, at Waking Persephone in 2015 and 2016, at my last Tucson gem show, and at my first Med Fest. It’s a belt that is also a scrapbook.

Finally, I made my headband. It’s just a bit of sari trim leftover from an old costume project, with some added bead embellishments and some elastic at the back. Nothing could be simpler.

The Things I Bought

Sure, I may have made some things, but a festival performance is a great excuse to expand my costume wardrobe too. Let’s talk about the awesome artists who provided the pieces I couldn’t make myself.

First of all, of course my SUPERFAN is from Kate over at Silkdancer. I don’t know if anyone else makes these giant fans and I don’t care. I am quickly developing Silkdancer brand loyalty.

And next I had better tell you about my pants, because that’s what almost everyone keeps commenting on when I share photos from my performance. Aren’t they gorgeous? They’re by the incredibly talented Jillian aka The Verdant Muse. You can custom order them in a variety of patterns of very nice rayon. They have a hip cut-out that is really well structured and not too gappy. That cut-out is mostly hidden under my hip scarf, though.

And speaking of the hip scarf, I bought it from World Emporium Kiosk. I was really impressed by the fact that the green assuit was just as vibrant and beautiful as it appeared in the photos. I suspect I’ll get a lot of use out of this scarf because it’s good for layering as part of a costume, dressing up my yoga pants for a workshop, or I could even wear it as a special accessory with normal clothes.

Of course, no tribal belly dance costume is complete without a hair garden! Most of the flowers in my garden are from Beckabomb’s Buds, a combination of off-the-rack and custom buds, some that I already had and some that I bought to bring out the colors of the pants. There’s also a beautiful Miao hairstick with Swarovski crystals that was a gift from Becka and which I clearly need to do a better job of securing in my bun!

I’ve also got a flower from Super*Natural Flowers. I found I had a little gap in my garden and she was vending at the Fat Chance Belly Dance booth so I ran over to her and she quickly sold me a beautiful golden yellow flower. Not only did it fill a much-needed gap in my garden, it’s also a color I didn’t already have so it will be a nice accent in future hairstyles.

Finally, of course, there’s the jewelry! My pendant was purchased from a local dancer at a costume swap. My earrings are from Kami Liddle, purchased at the show the night before. They’re made with vintage steel cut buttons!

Final Thoughts

This costume worked out. It embraced the tribal aesthetic of Cues & Tattoos while still feeling authentic to me and my dance. It flowed nicely on stage and didn’t interfere with or detract from my movement. The pieces work great together, but I can also use them with other pieces in my collection to create different looks. There’s nothing that I bought for this performance that I won’t wear again for other performances, as evidenced by the fact that all I changed when I wore it again was adding MORE flowers, a different headband, and leaving out the hairstick.

What do you think?

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