The Gilded Serpent
To Cabaret or Not Cabaret?
"Cabaret Belt and Bra"

Book 3 in Dina Lydia
's Costuming Series
Book review by Krista Gettle  

If the beautiful sparkling costumes we see on stage look complicated, that is because they are. In an attempt to teach ordinary humans how to make such delightful creations, Dina Lydia has produced her bulkiest how-to book yet in her The Costume Goddess Tells All series. "Cabaret Belt and Bra for Bellydancers" is a great resource for those planning tomake or adjust a pre-made Cabaret costume. In this book, she develops a systematic methodology for building a complimentary bra and belt combination.

The Goddess begins the book with a very important question for all of those considering this undertaking, “Is a revealing cabaret costume for you?” 

Once you see all of the work that goes into the construction of a costume, you will understand why it is critical that you invest a lot of love into a piece that will love you back. After you have made up your mind to jump into the fire, peruse the twenty black and white pictures of dancers in different costumes to begin to decide on your own style. Dina strongly suggests the costume design begin on paper with a sketch of your own silhouette. This way, you can identify misguided ideas early and create a balanced, flattering costume. She also has an exceptional selection of bra and belt designs, as well as fringe placement.

After the design is drawn, Dina takes you through the various steps required to make a pattern that will ultimately be three-dimensional.From my own experience, this is the particularly critical phase. Dina outlines the common costuming pitfalls well (each of which I had commited)..

In the following sections, construction of both the bra and belt are broken into steps complete with pictures. My only apprehension of her content came in the bra section. In most of her pictures she covers the bra without first removing the cup from the straps. This technique can give a less than flattering presentation of dancers' cleavage and chest. Additionally, she suggests covering bras with scarves or chain mesh. If not done well, this can appear tawdry on stage. Finally, she only casually mentions bra cup strength as an important factor in bra selection. Experience has taught me nothing short of industrial strength cups will do! All of these items are personal preferences that each dancer will have to define for her or himself. Despite these criticisms, Dina has done a wonderful job of compiling this manual.

If you have struggled with all of the steps involved in making a cabaret costume, this book is a great investment. There are many nuggets of collective costume wisdom in its pages. The Costume Goddess' checklists, sketch figures, and design templates will help keep you creative and on track to creating a stunning, new costume.

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Ready for more?

12-20-01 Frank Words about the Whimsy of Costume, A Review of The Costume Goddess’
Flattering Costume for Bellydancers
by Krista
Book 1 in Dina's costuming series

5-21-01 Learning from the Goddess, Book Review of Dina's #2 by Ignatia
No matter what your body type, there is a style in there for you. This is the first reference guide I have ever found of this sort.

9-1-01 On The Costumer’s Bookshelf, by Dawn “Davina” Devine Brown
Indian Embroidery by Rosemary Crill, Davina's second in a series of book reviews
. This book includes a chapter on textiles made specifically for export to Europe and other parts of the globe.

The Gilded Serpent