Blue Assiut Look

davina-blueassiut-torquay-headshot-webI recently posted a blog about the sources from my assiut, and I received several requests to share what products I used to create my “Blue Assiut” makeup look.  This photo was snapped in the Toorkok Hotel in Torquay, UK at the Celebrating Dance festival. This is the look I put together to wear while I was just walking around enjoying the workshops, teaching, and shopping in the souk.

Because I was traveling internationally, I really had to plan strategically to take the minimum amount of makeup to make a maximum impact.

Before I travel I “rehearse” my performance outfit from head to toe.  That includes putting on a full face of makeup.  My method is to put on my makeup as I would before a performance, and as I use each product, I put it into my makeup bag.  This simple procedure makes sure that I have everything I need with me.  Because I put my cosmetics into my checked bag, I always choose affordable internet and drugstore products.  If they don’t survive the rigors of travel and become either broken or lost, they are affordable to replace.  I also avoid taking special or limited edition makeup that I would be sad to lose.

If you are interested in hearing more of my thoughts on the pre-packing ritual of the makeup rehearsal, and the cosmetic products I used to create this look, check out the YouTube video below.  Enjoy!

Happy Costuming & Dance,
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
November 21, 2016

Permalink: Blue Assiut Look

Sources for Assiut, Fall 2016

davina-zills-assiut2-webHello Gang!

I’ve been PUMMELLED by requests for assiut!  Not my book, The Cloth of Egypt: All About Assiut, but the cloth itself.  The truth of the matter is that I buy assiut and I use it. I simply don’t stockpile to resell. However, in the past year, I have been purchasing modern assiut panels and dresses to start the costume build for an upcoming book that I’ll be working on in 2017.  Now is a great time to share my trusted sources for purchasing assiut.

Besheer on eBay

My longest running relationship with a vendor of assiut is with the eBay vendor who goes by the handle Besheer.  I have purchased more than 20 panels and three robes from this dealer in the past four years.  The robe I’m wearing in the image on the left was purchased from them several years ago.  It’s soft, has held up to numerous washes and still looks stunning both on stage and up close. I’m especially fond of their assiut triangles with crocheted beaded trim.  These panels really hold up to the abuse that our dance gives them.  This is the person I recommend most often when folks ask me who I buy from.  They have a store on eBay, be sure to check them out.


Desirees Treasures on Etsy

A more recent addition to the vendors I’ve been shopping from is Desirees Treasures over on Etsy.  Her store is filled with new and vintage assiut in a variety of colors and designs.  I’ve only purchased a few pieces from her so far, but her service is fast and her items have matched their photos and descriptions.  I especially love the blue assiut ensemble at right, that I put together with an assiut robe and shawl that were purchased separately, but come together to make a lovely ensemble.

21st Century Vamp on Etsy

If you are looking for exceptionally high-quality antique and vintage pieces collected with taste and care, you can expect to find the finest on the Etsy store of the 21st Century Vamp.  Her exquisite pieces are delicious to behold, and often draw the highest prices – and rightfully so!  Although I’ve only been able to make one purchase from her collection, it’s a great place to window shop for the most sumptuous cloth.  If you are building your vintage collection, her shop is a must visit!


SaftiCraft Website

Perhaps my all-time favorite piece of modern assiut is a long narrow scarf with a rich diamond pattern embroidered into it purchased from SaftiCraft.  I’ve made several purchases directly from their website and though I had to wait a bit of time for the item to arrive, the cloth they carry is glorious.  They make rich, densely patterned soft modern assiut that rivals vintage pieces for the number and quality of metal stitches.  You can see my scarf, affectionately known as “Waldo,” wrapped around my head in the image at left.

davina-torquay1-webMelodia Designs Website

If you love the look of assiut, but find the metal is irritating to your skin, why not take check out the faux assiut cloth designed and manufactured by Melodia. This San Diego-based designer has created an entire line of day wear, practice, and performance pieces.  Printed on high-quality stretch fabrics, the pattern is so authentic, at a glance, it fools the eye of even discerning assiut fans. I simply love my Melodia skirt! Though I adore real assiut, this skirt is so comfortable to wear, that I find myself reaching for it over and over.

61HupZBUVPL._SX394_BO1,204,203,200_If you would like to find out more about this fabulous cloth, might I recommend checking out my book?  Over 20 years in the making, The Cloth of Egypt: All About Assiut is my most ambitious research project, turned book and it includes information about the history, technology, and use of this beautiful ethnographic textile.

Good luck on your own personal quest to find the assiut pieces that are perfect for your collection or costuming project!

Happy Costuming!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
November 16, 2016


Permalink: Sources for Assiut, Fall 2016

Models & Books: Becoming a Belly Dancer: From Student to Stage

2016-fall-festival-flyer-webOver the weekend, we had a vending table at the Fabulous Fall Festival hosted by BABDAMA, a local Bay Area belly dance event-hosting organization.  This was the first opportunity for us to share our new book Becoming a Belly Dancer: From Student to Stage.  We took a stack of pre-release copies to this event to share with the ladies and gentlemen who took the time out of their busy lives over the past two years to join us in the studio for photos for our book.  Many of these dancers we hadn’t seen in a few months, so it was great to reconnect, share the finished book, and hear about the adventures they have been having since we met for photos!

I brought my book rack,  Sara brought the books, Alisha brought her camera, Poppy brought additional awesome, and we spent the day hanging out and watching a fabulous show.  We had a great view of the stage and enjoyed watching a fun mix of students and teachers, life-stylers and pros, troupes and solos, recorded and live music.  There was something for everyone.

During the course of the day, folks came by to check out our new books.  Along with Becoming a Belly Dancer: From Student to Stage, I also had copies of my new book, Zills: Music on Your Fingertips, with photos by Alisha Westerfeld and Illustrations by George Goncalves.   You can see a copy of it lying on the table next to my coffee.

We got a lot of great feedback about Becoming a Belly Dancer.  What struck me was how much time people would spend flipping through the book, nodding and smiling to themselves.  Several people mentioned how much the book resonated, and how they have lived through the phases of development that their dancing progressed through.

Another piece of very positive feedback concerned the variety of models.  We asked our friends, students, event hosts, and local professionals we work with on a regular basis to join us in this collaboration.  Our models included women and men from all walks of life, from students to pros, from young to older, from thin to curvy, from pale to deeply colored.  The belly dance world is so diverse and creative, by the time we were finished we had nearly 50 dancers had participated!


Models like Basinah above, stopped by to pick up their copies and Sara took their photos holding a book opened to one of the pages featuring their photograph.  It was pretty hard to pick just one sometimes!  Basinah came to about half a dozen photo shoots and consequently, there are dozens of images scattered throughout the book.  But she loved this dramatic pose with veil.

At the last minute, I was asked to substitute for a fellow dancer who was under the weather and couldn’t make it, so I had the opportunity to perform in their gala show.  I was so glad Sara was on the ball while I was putting on makeup and getting ready because she captured many more dancers picking up their books!




Thank you to all our friends and models.  If we haven’t gotten your copy of Becoming a Belly Dancer: From Student to Stage, yours is waiting for you!  Also, we have two days left of our fundraising Kickstarter to help us get the final funds together to help us make that hurdle from manuscript to printed book.  If you’ve already pledged, thank you!  If you are thinking of picking up a copy of this book – now is the time – because it’s probably $10 cheaper than the final MSRP will be when it appears on

What a great event – What a great weekend!
Now I’m back to processing the thousands of photos we took on our UK Belly Dance Book Tour!
More Pictures and Posts to follow.

Until then, Happy Costuming!

Dawn Devine ~ Davina
November 14, 2016


Me – hahaha. @basinahdances caught this perfect moment #BellyDance #veil #bustamove #spin #propeller#turn

A video posted by Dawn Devine (@davinadevine) on


Permalink: Models & Books: Becoming a Belly Dancer: From Student to Stage