26 Jul Supporting the Sisterhood – Kiwi Women in Business: Asphyxia Couture
As a full-time burlesque performer, there are a huge number of facets to my job. I simply can’t do everything myself, so I regularly outsource some tasks/aspects to experts.
Sometimes we collaborate to create art together, sometimes I commission custom designs, and sometimes I just have a project I need help with. Wherever possible, I like to support local small businesses, and especially my fellow self-employed women. I’ve decided to write a series of blogs introducing some of the amazing Kiwi women that I work with, who help me keep my brand running. Over the next 10 weeks, I will be profiling each of them individually. I look forward to sharing them with you, darlings. I know burlesque is built on a very DIY attitude, but remember, when you support your friends, it means they can afford to live their dream jobs, too!
Ivy D’Auton, Costume Designer
I first met Ivy in passing, as one tends to in the burlesque scene, back in 2012. However, it wasn’t until late 2013, when I commissioned my first full burlesque outfit, that I required her services.
Until that point, I had been cobbling together costumes from various sources, embellishing off-the-rack lingerie and making simple pieces myself. I had decided it was time to be a bit more professional, as I was in the process of designing “Rain” – my first ever “classic-inspired” routine. I wanted a proper, custom, steel-boned corset, and when I went for my initial consultation and explained all the layers I had in mind, and how I wanted them all to come off, Ivy said she wanted to move into the complete costume field, rather than just focusing on corsetry – and so she offered to make the whole costume.
That was the start of our relationship. Over the years, Ivy has become my go-to costume designer.
Not only did she create an impeccable and beautiful costume for Rain, she was also the wizard mind behind my Lion:Tamer outfit (which needed to survive an underwater photoshoot), White Russian (which is constantly drenched in milk, and yet still looks brand new) and, of course, Wild Orchid (which you can read about here).
Ivy is an incredible designer. As a vegan, she extends her morals into her business, using only animal-free products from ethical (and preferably local) sources, and makes everything herself, with no outsourcing of the less-than-desirable parts (like the endless rhinestoning she ends up doing). Consequently, she knows exactly how every single piece of every costume was created, because she did it all herself. You can read more about her business ethics here.
Ivy makes costumes for all genders, and she does more than just burlesque outfits: as a trained corset-maker, Ivy can also facilitate proper waist-training, and she makes absolutely stunning bridal outfits.
Although she’s now based in Melbourne, Australia, Ivy continues to be a force of creativity, crafting beautiful costumes for performers in New Zealand and all over the world, by using the wonders of the internet and Skype to communicate with her clients. As for me, I’m excitedly awaiting the arrival of my brand new costume, Galaxy, in a few weeks’ time.
Support the Sisterhood: Check out Ivy’s brand new website and follow her on Facebook and Instagram, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an information pack, and get yourself a piece of Ivy’s brain in costume form.
Tune in next week to meet one of my favourite photographers.