Who’s That Wearing Assiut? Hedy Lamarr

In 1949, the film “Sampson and Delilah” took the world by storm.  Starring legendary beauty Hedy Lamarr and Hollywood hunk Victor Mature it was an absolute blockbuster!

Costume designer Edith Head used Egyptian Assiut cloth to create this slinky two-piece ensemble. I previously wrote about this costume in the post: An Assiut Gown: Heady Lamarr, Edith Head, and Delilah.

Since then, I’ve found this fantastic film clip of the movie scene from Samson & Delilah where you can see this ensemble in action.

Delilah’s/ Hedy Lamarr’s Assiut Dress: Selling Beauty

Paramount knew it had a hit on its hands when the movie debuted in late 1949. Hedy’s image as the exquisite Delilah sold beauty products from basic soap to glamourous face powder. Paramount Pictures capitalized on their beautiful star, leasing her image out through their marketing and sales departments for global advertising.

Hedy Lamarr c. 1949 - Lux Soap Advert

It is unlikely that Hedy would have consented willingly to have her image used with sketchy products like diet pills and weight loss supplements. You can spot Hedy wearing the iconic assiut gown on the right of the image bar right below the text, “Listen to Hedy Lamarr!”

Hedy Lamarr as Delilah selling diet pills

When an image is too generic, some companies boldly state the actress’s name, film, and production company. Here Hollywood makeup artist Max Factor has a beauty product launch with the film introducing different shades of “Amber.”

Of course, while beautiful, Hedy is now better known for her biggest role – the inventor of the internet.  You can read more about her contributions and innovations in technology widely around the web. Here’s an article to get you started.

I’m always delighted when I spot this gown in new places.  Thanks for joining me in this delightful journey of this Cloth of Egypt, Assiut aka Al-Tally.

Happy Dance and Costuming,
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
June, 2024


Two London Fashion Exhibits in One Day?

Two London Fashion Exhibits in 8 Hours?

I wound up in London for a mere 50 hours on a recent work gig.  The team arrived late on Friday and left early on Monday.  I only had eight free hours and four items on my “must-do” list.  The list included some sightseeing, shopping, and not one, but TWO fashion history exhibitions.

Could I do two London fashion exhibits in one day? With careful planning ahead of the trip, I maximized my experience in a minimum amount of time.  Here’s a rundown of how the day went.

“Sargent and Fashion”
Tate Britain, London

My first stop on my day out was at the Tate Britain for “Sargent and Fashion.”  John Singer Sargent redefined society portraiture during the Belle Epoch. He worked in an “alla prima” style, quickly setting paint without the benefit of underpainting, or even sketches on the canvas. Sargent had an uncanny power to capture the essence of an individual in a few bold strokes. This painter was a true creative genius.

In this show, society portraits are paired with the surviving fashion artifacts that have survived the years. Placed side-by-side, you can reach a fuller and richer understanding of how Sargent interpreted these garments in paint on canvas.

The exhibition is sublime – If you can get to it, GO.  If you can’t, but share my twin loves of art and fashion history, get the book. I felt very fortunate this was on while I was there.  What an experience!

Sargent and Fashion @ Tate Britain, London  through July 7, 2024 More Tickets and Info

Boat Ride:
from Battersea to Canary Wharf

After having a snack in the cafe at the Tate Britain, I walked down to the river and caught an Uber Boat for an extended trip on the river.  I paid for an all-day pass that allowed me to go from one end of the purple line at Battersea down to Canary Wharf and back.

Unlike a formal boat tour with a guide, the Uber Boat is like a water bus. It moves quickly from one station to another up and down the river. It was a beautiful method to get from the Tate Britain in Pimlico to the Museum of London, Docklands. More Info on the Uber Boat

Fashion City Exhibition, Museum of London, Docklands

“Fashion City”
Museum of London, Docklands

While “Sargent and Fashion” was about aristocracy and haute couture, “Fashion City” explored the history of the Jewish garment workers, seamstresses, and couturiers who lived and worked in London.

This exhibit was set up like a timeline and as you explored each room, you moved forward in time, beginning with late 19th century immigrants, through war rationing, 50’s glamour, and the 60s mods. The exhibits featured a mix of objects, garments, and ephemera including everything from fashion magazines to sewing machines.

The one caveat is that all the garments are behind glass, so my photos showed reflections of lights and other exhibition components. Fortunately, there’s a very well-written and complete exhibition guide for purchase.

Fashion City @ Museum of London, Docklands through July 7, 2024.  More Info and Tickets

Food, Fashion, Fun in London

Food & Fun

After the fashion exhibitions, it was time for quality shopping time, tea and scones at Marks and Spencer, a visit to a few bookstores, and a walk around the area near my hotel at King’s Cross. Believe me when I say I slept very well that night despite the sudden change in time.

If you want to see more photos of these exhibitions, join me on Patreon for the July 2024 coffee chat.

Happy Dance and Costuming,
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
June 2024

PS: If you love a good Fashion Exhibit Review – check out “Guo Pei”

Two Museums in One Day?


Newsletter & Patreon Updates: May 2024

Belly Dance Mini-MagazineHello My Friends, Family, and Fans!

As I write this post, it’s the first week of May.  Spring is here in the SF/Bay Area and flowers are blooming everywhere. I took the first quarter of the year off to make substantial behind-the-scenes changes to the operation of my tiny publishing/costuming/dancing business.

Newsletter Updates

Are you subscribed?
If not, check out the April 2024 edition here.

Subscribers may notice that the newsletter’s look hasn’t changed much visually when compared to last year. However from a technical and organizational perspective, we’ve changed many things including:

  • Altered Release Schedule – Our mission for this year is to produce an issue of “Studio Davina: Mini Magazine” through December.  Previously, we’ve experimented with bi-monthly, quarterly, and even randomly.  However, the key feature will be releasing the newsletter after my four monthly Patreon classes are uploaded and live.
  • Expanded Curated Links – Based on feedback from subscribers, we’ve expanded the links section to offer more informative and entertaining videos, articles, books, and more.
  • Move Longer Content Here – To make the newsletter text shorter and snappier for easy scrolling, longer content will be available to the blog.
  • Including More Links – Doing research is my jam!  Why save my sources to myself?  Readers will notice more links to primary sources and the websites of my fellow creators from authors to dancers.
  • Relocated Upcoming Events List – After looking at our open rate and statistics, we’ve moved the “Events Near and Far” section to the end. I enjoy supporting my community by sharing local news and events.
Don’t Miss May, Subscribe Today

Classes with Davina for April 2024 on PatreonMay Patreon Updates

Thank you for supporting my ongoing historical research by joining me for talks, demos, and history presentations. Your continued patronage allows me to continue archival research on the subject of belly dance and costume.

I’m adding a new Patreon level – Freebies!

If you’re interested in checking out the chats, demos, history talks, and courses on Patreon, you can begin by signing up at the new Freebie level.  This level will include links to the monthly newsletter, videos I’ve uploaded around the web, research and project updates. I’ve created a Freebie Collection that will grow throughout 2024.

April Classes Now Available on Patreon:

Upcoming May Classes after May 21:

These classes are all pre-recorded and at the $15 level, you get to enjoy the $3 and $7 levels, students also have access to the entire back catalog of classes, courses, and presentations.

Consider taking a class with me today!

THANK YOU to all my current Newsletter Subscribers.  It is only through your continued support, that I can continue my ongoing research and writing projects.

Dawn Devine ~ Davina
May, 2024Azura Performing


Clockwork Alchemy 2024 Schedule

Clockwork Alchemy 2024, April 19-21

I’m pleased to announce that I’m heading to the Bay Area’s premier steampunk event, Clockwork Alchemy on April 19-21. I’m presenting two historical slide shows and serving as MC for the Belly Dance Show.

If you’re interested in learning more about this event, visit their website for schedule, location, pricing, and more.


Tips for Selling Used Jewelry

Are you planning on selling jewelry pieces in 2024? 

I’ve recently had more than a handful of people asking for information about buying, selling, or trading used and vintage jewelry pieces.

If this is you, here’s a list of things I do before I put together a jewelry/accessories drop.  However, this to-do list applies to selling virtually anything from a pair of shoes to a wood-burning stove. 

Vintage Saroyan Coin Earrings

Tips for Selling Used Jewelry

Listing Research – Take some time to have a hunt around the web and find out what’s for sale today.  As you read listings, make a note of word choice, photo quantity, and quality.  The goal is to figure out what things are priced at today, and what the current style in listings looks like.

Ask Yourself “Is it worth it?” – After the research phase is “done enough,” consider the time and energy it will take to create and upload a listing.  If you don’t have the time, skills, or energy, you can step back from this project knowing you’ve e made an informed decision. 

Clean and Repair Your Pieces – Make time to thoroughly wipe down and polish your jewelry pieces.  If you have the skills and tools, make any necessary repairs to get your pieces into their best shape.

Jewelry Supplies for Simple Repairs and Construction

Measure – Make your listing more complete by including the key measurements for the pieces. Listings with complete measurements are more appealing to shoppers. 

Photograph – Take many photos of each piece.  Try to capture every angle, at a distance and close up.  If you can snap photos modeled on a dress form, stand, or even better, a person.  Many online sellers put objects like rulers and coins to show size and provide scale.  

Create your Listing – This is my personal choice, but I build my listings in a text document on my computer first.  Then if I’m going to put my listings in a couple of places I can copy, paste, and repeat.  Think Marketplace, eBay, Etsy, and right on your feed.  

Before Posting – Review and double-check the details. Listings should include specific information about payment methods and shipping costs.  Include packaging details and timelines from order to shipment.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog!  I wish you luck and good fortune in your dance and costuming adventures!
 Dawn Devine ~ Davina

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"Jean Jinglers" chains of charms with double clasps to wear attached to bags, jeans, or even as necklaces. Watch for my yearly Etsy drop in the fall.