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Costume Design Analysis

Thinking Like a Designer – Analyzing Style and Costuming

Design is a process that often begins with the spark of inspiration. That inspiration could be a flower, a painting, a vintage photograph, or simply another favorite dancer that you admire and love. This is slide number 4 of 60 from my upcoming talk, “The Design Gode” hosted by Mahin.  If you find this slide intriguing, why not join us for this deep dive into how to “Think Like a Designer.”

Research and Analysis

Once you have an inspiration and an idea for what your next costume purchase or creation will look like, it’s time to conduct some research. Your goal is find examples of past and current costumes worn by dancers you admire, share your style and taste, and even share similar body shape characteristics.
Once you found your inspiration image or images,  it’s time to put your designer goggles on and perform an analysis of your favorite dancer. In this step-by-step review, you will figure out how they achieved their overall look.

5 Layers of Belly Dance Costume Appearance

Over my years of teaching, I’ve developed a five approach to talking about costuming which serves as a great step-by-step checklist through an analysis of a dancer’s overall style.  But, let’s take a moment to admire Juliana’s look on the left, and work through these five layers.
1 – Body – Juliana has decided to emphasize her voluptuous curves with a demi-cut bra and low-slung belt.  Making the belt as low as possible means her torso looks extra long. (And putting up your arms in a photo further lifts the chest to enhance that length.)
2 – Grooming – This photo dates from the 70s / early ’80s and features many “Show-girl” style makeup details that one would see in a Vegas-style show.  Notice the shape of her eyeliner, eyebrows, and false lashes, the over-lined lips, and long false nails.
3 – Costume – During the 1970s, the “metal bikini” look in belly dance costumes was quite popular and used by many dancers across the US.  In Juliana’s costume, she’s elevated the style to resemble a disco ball by using tiny mirrored squares.
There is so much more to talk about such as the shapes of the costume pieces. There’s the whisp of a skirt, the shape of her belt, the choice of pink, and her jewelry styling. To find out more about the “5 Layers,” and many more strategies on how to think like a designer, come to my next talk!

Design Workshop

“The Design Code”
Principles & elements of Belly Dance Costuming
With Dawn Devine ~ Davina
90 Minute Slide show with Replay Access & Handout
Live Via Zoom, April 24, 2022 – Noon Pacific
Hosted by Mahin of Belly Dance Quickies
Perhaps I will see you there?
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
April 8, 2022 
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