The night I became a burlesque queen

This is a recent posting from the Independent written by Dierdre Reynolds.
The night I became a burlesque queen
Fishing out her fishnets, Deirdre Reynolds was beguiled by a tantalising mix of song, sparkle and striptease ‘Burlesque is closer to theatre than erotica’
Burlesque photo
Wednesday June 15 2011

Friday daylight fast fading, I’m hotfooting it to a city centre night spot to kickstart the weekend by shaking a tail feather — nothing unusual about that. Unlike a regular girls’ night out, though, this time there’s likely to be actual tail feathers involved.

Unglamorously hauling a bag of fishnet stockings, high heels, strapless bras and nude knickers, I’m off to join the stars of Tease — Dublin’s newest burlesque and cabaret soirée. And while ‘Deirdre Von Teese’ doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, for one night only I’m gearing up to be transformed into an all hip-swinging, lip-syncing, glove-stripping sex goddess — or at the very least, try not to flatline from mortification in front of my friends in the front row.

In Tinseltown’s most recent big screen musical Burlesque, Christina Aguilera plays a small-town girl with a big voice (what else?) who stumbles upon an anachronistic cabaret club which flips her fortunes in the concrete jungle of Los Angeles.

Corny as it may sound, in Dublin’s after-dark desert of samey night clubs thumping with chart tunes, greasy kebab joints and tacky high street fashion, Tease is the same sort of eye-rubbing mirage. While at street level the after-work crowd is just starting to loosen its collective tie, once you descend the steps to Break For The Border’s basement club you may feel like you’ve suddenly awoken in some kind of Boardwalk Empire-themed dream. Girls in corsets, pearls and fascinators mingle with men in pinstriped suits, braces and fedoras over cool cocktails and hot jazz against a crushed red velvet backdrop.

On stage, a curvaceous redhead — the lead singer of house band Madame Anne and the Teasers — is purring out such loin-loosening numbers as ‘Mad About the Boy’. Only the smoking ban stands in the way of the full Prohibition-era effect — replicated by more pulmonary-friendly puffs of dry ice instead. Tease may take place below street level — but to call Dublin’s neo-burlesque scene an underground one would be a misnomer.

Since the birth of The Tassel Club (which has since relocated to London) seven years ago, the city has been under the spell of Twenties vaudeville-inspired entertainment. Between the Irish Burlesque School, Secret Boudoir photography studio, Dublin Burlesque Ball and even an annual hunt to find Ireland’s Next Burlesque Star, it seems everyone wants to become the next Dita Von Teese.

“Burlesque thrives in times of recession,” explains Tease co-founder Edel Kelly, mercilessly yanking on the ribbon zig-zagging up the back of my black and red corset. “Whether you’re on stage or in the audience, it’s a chance to get dressed up and escape all the doom and gloom for a night.”

To the uninitiated, burlesque involves tarty women swinging their nipple tassles. But burlesque is about tease, not sleaze — we even have security on the door to make sure no ‘undesirables’ or stag dos wander in. Anyway, there are usually more women and gay men in the audience than leering guys!”

Good to know, as I anxiously wriggle into fishnets, frilly French knickers and red high heels for my debut on the Tease stage. With its tantalising mix of song, sparkle and sometimes striptease, the monthly club plays host to Ireland’s new generation of showgirls (and boys) — as well as international burlesque and cabaret acts. Already, Ireland has (s)exported top burlesque performers Miss Bella A Go Go, Ms Harlot Deville and singer Camille O’Sullivan to the global stage. Now more and more regular girls here are taking a page from Bettie Page too, by twirling their tassels at burlesque dance classes and stripping off for pin-up photo shoots.

“Burlesque lets women indulge in their two favourite childhood pastimes — dressing up and make-believe,” adds Edel Kelly.

As resident Tease make-up artist Emma Farrell says: “Why be ‘Jane Smith’ when you can be ‘Azaria Starfire’ or ‘Sapphira Swan’? Why wear a Topshop dress when you can swan around in a silk evening gown, pearls and red lipstick à la Veronica Lake?”

‘Women learn to embrace their curves and feel sexy and confident,” adds boudoir photographer Edel, who also takes sensual near-nude snaps popular with women ranging from brides-to-be to cancer survivors. “It’s a really liberating experience.”

Confidence-boosting as a burlesque makeover may be, my corset is remaining firmly fastened as I follow renowned Dublin performer Mz Epiphany DeMeanour on stage for a impromptu routine. Luckily, it’s early in the night and there are only a few non-plussed soundmen, fellow performers and my own wing women to witness my pathetic first foray into the world of professional seduction — wiggling, shimmying, shaking and twirling to Peggy Lee’s ‘Fever’.

Sweating and contorting as I try to follow Epiphany’s lead, I look like I’ve got a fever, alright — though not in a good way. Still, even divine fan dancer Mz DeMeanour — aka interior designer Sinead Curran — got her big break by winging it.

“I was working front of house at The Tassel Club when the organiser asked me to fill in for a performer at a show in Limerick,” says Epiphany. “I figured nobody would know me, so I agreed. I got up on stage in a showgirl costume with a live band — and somehow got through it.”

As her foxy alter ego, Epiphany dexterously protects her modesty with pristine white ostrich feathers — managing to leave something to the imagination even when totally naked. Yet even the most talented burlesque starlets have been denounced as nothing short of glorified strippers by some. “It’s not about what you take off, it’s about how you do it,” argues Epiphany. “Ultimately, a burlesque performer and a stripper are both girls on stage taking their clothes off — the difference is how they do it.”

Unfortunately, a lot of people have been exposed to bad performances calling itself burlesque,” she adds. “Burlesque is closer to theatre than erotica,” chief Tease Edel agrees. “A typical performance might include expensive costumes, props, music, dance, comedy and, yes, occasionally striptease. Unlike strippers, burlesque performers often do it for fun and spend more on their act than they make.”

As the venue fills up with a mixture of couples, groups of girls and the odd single bloke who hasn’t read the poster properly, sure enough there follows a series of extravagant strip routines you’re unlikely to find on stage at Stringfellows — from a sex-kitten cat burglar to a naughty nun driven to desire by a pair of ‘devil gloves’.

But don’t worry, ladies — there are male performers too. To the Bond theme tune, three burlesque buachaillí with a licence to thrill slowly disrobe until the lights are killed at the critical moment.

To para-pinch a line from the aformentioned Burlesque flick — the basement club may not have any windows, but from where I’m sitting it may just have the best view in town.

See www.tease.ie and www.boudoir.ie

– Deirdre Reynolds

Double Sided Corsets

We just sent out our first reversible corset the other day. A truly amazing bit of kit. You have the ability to have two corsets in one with one colour and a completely different colour on the other side. Great if you want to be able to change your look when away from home. Just think, it’s one less item to pack away as you have two corsets for the price of one. Goout during the day in a red corset and then change it around to the black side for example for going out to dinner in the evening. Great.
Included in this ensemble is a detached modesty panel as you can imagine itcannot be connect to just one side as that would just not work. This modesty panel is made in the same colour options as the corset and you then have the choice whether to use it or not.
Reversible corset red side
Reversible corset black side

To Turf or Not To Turf

That is the question I ask you today. Although it’s a bit off topic I can’t spend all my waking life dealing in corsets, I have to have the odd diversion. Plus we always need something to keep the home fires burning espically with the price of oil these days. One thing I have discovered is that you do not need a gym membership anymore, not unless you intend to bodybuild. Being out on the bog turning turf or clamping depending upon which technique you follow is a great way to burn off those unwanted calories! Mind you if you want to challenge yourself a bit more wear a corset whilst doing this. Wow does this make things tough! I have found that looking at the amount of turf I have to do is a very daunting thing as it seems to go on for miles and miles. You just have to set a goal and plug away one bit at a time. Getting to the end of hopper is a very rewarding thing as you feel a great sense of achievement having managed to keep on going and getting to your goal.
As we have another day off tomorrow this is what I will be doing again, weather permitting, as the turf wont turn itself and as you know it needs to be turned to dry properly and get a chance to season in the sunshine. There’s nothing worse than limp turf. My leg muscles are already buring at the thought of it. Ah well, someone has to do it.

New Shop Update

With the opening getting closer I find myself looking at new items to fill the shop. I will be having a great range of corsets but alomg with that I will have a modest range of lingerie. The lingerie will be from Milavista and Alisee.Alisee lingerie, bra and knickers
Alisee lingerie, bra and knickers Really looking forward to having some of these in the shop. The new range will compliment the corsets so you can look stunning in a complete outfit and make that real va va voom impression.
For now this new lingerie range will be only available through our shop in Ballina, Co. Mayo.

New Corset Shop

In the next couple of weeks Corsets Ireland is going to have a shop where all of you can come and see our range and even have a fitting. We will have some designs here in store for you to try as you know everyone is different and may not suit all styles. Most importantly you can get yourself measured and get the correct sized corset. No more time waisted having to send back returns!!
We will be based in Ballina, Co. Mayo just off the main high street. Come in and visit us! See the corsets and accessories in one place and get a proper look at a corset rather than guessing online. Seeing the corsets in real life is so much more than any image on the internet no matter how good they are.
We will be happy to go through our ranges with you to determine which one or ones will be the most suitable for you and you can get a feel for the quality and craftsmenship of each corset which you just cannot do online.
The changing room will be larger than normal to accomodate wedding dresses or debs dresses and plenty of room for helpers. Why should you try on clothing in those tiny little cubicles that make you feel like a sardine. Here at CI there will be plenty of room to move, sit or walk around. So you can tell what it will be like to be wearing a corset during the day all done in complete privacy.

Everybodys wearing corsets! Why aren’t you?

Look around today and you see corsets being worn all over the place. I saw a model wearing a particularly beautiful corset in the Sunday Independent paper. I turn on the tv and see that the latest videos are full of models or singers wearing a corset or two. This is great! It’s what we like to see at Corsets Ireland. Even the fashion tv show (name eludes me right now) with the two presenters, one male and one female. Have for the last two weeks had ordinary people wearing corsets to help improve their look. Oh boy did they look good when they went out onto the runway in the shopping centres. Now the question you should be asking is why aren’t you wearing one? Hmmm?
Remembered what the show is. It’s “Off The Rails” with Brendan Courtney and Sonya Lennon.

High Street Retailer says Hourglass figure is coming back

High street retailer Debenhams has revealed that Britain’s perception of what an ideal woman should look like is changing.

After five decades of worshiping tall, thin, slim-hipped women, society is moving towards favouring the traditional hour glass figure, sales figures suggest.

Demand for shape wear saw a sales peak of +225 percent last year, creating the impression of a classic Marilyn Monroe style figure, as well as women’s clothes, which create the perfect body silhouette.

Debenhams spokeswoman Michelle Dowdall said: “It looks like big busts, big hips and narrow waists are on their way back.

See more at

Facebook Fan Page Update

As Facebook is constanly changing it is getting harder and harder to use to inform your friends out pages you like. The have removed this facility from users and left it solely to companies to pay for as part of their advertisement budget. If you haven’t noticed FB only does page suggestions now which are actually paid advertisements. If you want other poeple to know about a page you have to post it in your profile and then it becomes part of their news feed. This can unfortunately be easily missed if you have a lot of friends updating all of the time. We have put into our website FB links on each of the pages to help you spread the word about Corsets Ireland and to show everyone that you like it. Feel free to use this to help keep FB informative and fun to use the way it use to be.