Monday, 19 March 2012

Millies Frillies: Turning all that glitters into burlesque gold

I'm a great believer in surrounding yourself with inspiration.I know that when I feel like I need a boost reading interviews or watching programs featuring creative forward thinking people really helps.Its with this in mind that Ive decided to start doing a series of interviews called Bee Inspired. Chats over a cup of tea with men and women walking to the beat of their own drum and making their individuality work for them. 
To kick off this new blog feature I thought I would catch up with the sensational Millie Dollar.
Millie is not only an internationally respected burlesque performer, she also runs the amazing Martini Lounge burlesque night in Liverpool  and has just launched a brand new venture called "Millie's Frillies" 
A haberdashery boutique aimed at Burlesque performers, it stocks amazing appliques,beaded trim, fringing, even  G-strings. Its an idea which is simply inspired.

Image by Nick Beedles at Betty Bee Photography

Betty Bee:Your new venture Millie's Frillies is such a clever idea. Could you tell us more?

Millie Dollar:Well for years I've been costume making for myself, and very rarely for others. I've also travelled around a lot and usually bee lined for the fabric and trim shops looking for those perfect pieces.
Sadly the UK seems to be severely lacking in beautiful pieces perfect for burlesque costumes, and I'd had an idea rolling around in my head for a while of a one stop shop for all your burlesque costume making needs. From appliques and trims, to g-strings and gloves eventually we'll stock it all!

One of the lovely appliques available at Millie's Frillies
BB: It seems your idea has already really caught on and your facebook page was alight with ladies wanting you to source stuff for them. Did you expect this level of interest? 

MD:I decided to start by testing the waters with a few amazing appliques, and will build up slowly adding more as it grows. But the interest was very instant and led to a lot of comments and emails looking for pieces to fit particular costumes, the best is when other people chimed in to help. It's not just for selling, it's also there to help, from me and from other burlesque performers!

Image by Lorraine Ross

BB:You are hands down one of the best costume designers working in Burlesque. When did you realise you had this skill? did you study fashion?

MD: A lot of it was trial and error to be honest! I look back at some of my old costumes and cringe! I was never taught how to sew, use a machine, figure out patterns, etc. I actually studied fine art so I can imagine the most over the top ideas, how I want it all to look and I go from there, as you never really know till you try! I think I've improved a lot, and I still think i have some way to go yet!

Image by Glo Mason Inaglo Photography
BB:Millie's Frillies is currently an online venture any plans to roll it out to the high street?

MD:Sadly with the economy the way it is I've seen so many of my friends shops close down and go under, it's a risky business to run a shop, but as burlesque is so international now online seems to be the easiest way, as you can clearly see the items, it'll always be open, and I won't have to close up for cigarettes!!

Image by Martin Bond
BB:As well as being a massively in demand burlesque performer you also run the hugely popular Martini Lounge, what keeps you motivated?

MD:Burlesque isn't just a hobby for me, it's been a life long passion. It's what I've always wanted to be, and all the money I make from burlesque shows goes straight back in if it be for costumes, merchandise, new ventures etc! I work harder on this than anything in my life,and I've had to build it up from nothing.

Sourcing the perfect embellishments for the burlesque  community

BB:Tell us about the next Martini Lounge, what can we expect?

MD:The next show is going to be a corker!! With burlesque from myself, Bijou Noir, and Luna Rosa! At long last, aerial performances from Black and Blue, amazing tricks from Mat Ricardo, and your host as ever, the wonderful Fred Bear!

Image by Nick Beedles at Betty Bee Photography

BB:You are known internationally as a Burlesque performer,any tips for girls starting out on a burlesque career?

MD:Research, rehearse, and respect.Without those three you'll get nowhere.

Check out Millie's Frillies facebook page 
For details on the Martini Lounge check out their website

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