The Costumes of Burlesque : 1866-2018 book cover
1st Edition

The Costumes of Burlesque

ISBN 9781138742260
Published June 6, 2019 by Routledge
320 Pages 307 Color & 107 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The Costumes of Burlesque: 1866-2018 is the first volume to inclusively document burlesque costume from its birth in the 1860’s through the global burlesque movement in 2018. This lushly illustrated book presents the history and development of this American art form by documenting the origins, influencers, and genuine articles that created its aesthetic. Showcases of legendary performers, including Lydia Thompson, Gypsy Rose Lee, Sally Rand, Bettie Page, Kitten Natividad, and Dita Von Teese, demonstrate costume styles through the years.

This guide gives readers a clear view of how burlesque costume looked and why. It teaches collectors, burlesque performers, and fans alike to recognize vintage pieces for what they are and to design their own costumes with inspiration from the originals. By including detailed costume documentation, over 400 images, and interviews with prominent costume designers such as Catherine D’Lish and Garo Sparo, The Costumes of Burlesque brings 150 years of burlesque costume history to life.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Leslie Zemeckis  Introduction  1- The Birth of Burlesque 1868-19teens  2- Flappers and Film Stars 1920s-1930s  3- "The Golden Age" 1940s-1950s  4- The Death of Burlesque 1960s-1970s  5- The Strip Club meets Neo Burlesque 1980s-2001  6- Modern Burlesque Costume Design  - Epilogue

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Coleen Scott is a Costume Designer with an MFA in Costume Design from Boston University, where she received the Kahn Award upon graduation. She has worked for nearly 20 years in theater, opera, film, and television, including projects with Academy Award winning costume designer Ann Roth and film designers Stephanie Maslansky and Tina Nigro. Coleen taught Costume Production and Makeup for Stage and Studio at Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn, NY from 2005 to 2018. She works with her creative partner, photographer Ben Trivett, doing makeup and styling for fashion and fine art portrait photography.


"The Costumes of Burlesque: 1866-2018 by Coleen Scott is an exquisite book that fills a long-empty gap in the costume history library….General readers will devour this book for its details and beautiful illustrations. Scholars will appreciate the comprehensive bibliography that will lead burlesque enthusiasts and researchers alike to deepen their knowledge of this American art form."

-Laurie Kurutz, Theatre Design & Technology Fall 2019

"Scott’s text offers a visually and materially exciting overview of the costumes for burlesque; her use of images of extant costume and interviews with performers, designers, and makers of burlesque costume reiterates the significance of costume to cultural studies and performance studies. As such, The Costumes of Burlesque, 1866–2018 offers a valuable contribution to the emergent field of costume studies. Specifically, the book provides a significant visual record for costume makers, who are all too often left in the margins of the field of costume studies."

-Louise Elizabeth Penn Chapman, The Journal of Dress History, Volume 5, Issue 4, Early Autumn 2021