¨¨¨°º the adventures of choklit chanteuse º°¨¨¨


CoutureLust: Scoundrelle's Keep

It was a striking image on her Flickr photostream that enamored me to Heather Luca's brilliant clothing line out of Saint Paul, Minnesota, Scoundrelle's Keep. Heather's designs are both playful and elegant.

Heather's recent collaboration with Samantha Rei of Blasphemina's Closet is breathtaking. It premiered at a recent Dances of Vice event (oh, if only I lived close to New York!). Images by Photosynthetique.

How did you get your start making clothes?

I learned the basics of sewing from my mom as I was growing up. She made many garments for us, even matching mom-and-daughter sets. Looking through the photo albums still makes me wince! When I had my daughter, I found myself with many small pockets of free time that I would end up wasting because I couldn't really go out and do stuff with an infant.

That Christmas, I asked my family to buy me a sewing machine, and thus picked up the hobby again. When I got married the following summer, I made my own wedding gown, including a beautiful white-on-white brocade corset. It was my first serious attempt at a corset - it was a kit from Farthingales in Canada, and it turned out really well. From there, I had friends asking me to make them corsets, and word spread like wildfire. Soon I was taking clients from even out of state!

Where do you find inspiration?

I am very inspired by classic Victorian clothing. I tried doing historical recreation of garments, but I found that far too restricting, so I integrated modern fabrics, materials, and techniques that would not have been available in that era to create something new and decadent. I create from the past that never was.

What are three things that please you the most in the world?

My family, especially my 7 year old daughter, Kaia; being able to dress fancy in neo-Victorian and Lolita styles, and collecting Asian ball-jointed dolls (ABJD).

What do you do besides design amazing clothes?

I went to college for photography, and I love being able to capture images. With most of my local orders, I offer a free photo shoot at the completion of a corset or outfit, both as a bonus to the client, and as a way to keep my portfolio filled with the newest garments I've made.

What piece of work are you most proud of?

Its hard to narrow it down to one piece. Each garment I finish is more beautiful than the last. I really love the fall collection of clothes that I showed at Kakkoi|Con and Schoolgirls and Mobilesuits (SGMS)- it was the first full line that I have made, and it went from design to fruition really smoothly.

Where can we find your line?

I am available locally in Saint Paul, Minnesota for in-person consultations for orders; you can also purchase custom-made items directly from my website.

Thank you Heather! I'll carry on dreaming of owning a corset-dress from Scoundrelle's Keep.

...Read the full interview...


Things That Please Me: Sepiachord

Perhaps I'm predictable, but lately I've been delighting in a genre of music best described as sepiachord. And what, you may ask, is this "sepiachord"?

I'm shamelessly borrowing the term from the Seattle-based Web site that coined it, and explains it thusly: ...something that looks back to the past to comment on the present while looking sideways at the future. A cubist aural experience... assembled like a clockwork orchestra... It is the music our grandparents or great-grandparents would have listened to, if they were as off-set as we are.

Like steampunk, sepiachord is open to interpretation, and the genius is in the marriage of seeming opposites. The label is broad enough to include genre-busting favorites like Beirut, Tom Waits, and the Dresden Dolls, but it's the electronic-beats-versus-old-timey-jazz-samples that I've been swooning over as of late.

This whole notion was first introduced to me by my dear friend of startlingly impeccable tastes, Meester Ralph, and then furthered by Stache. Both have gifted me with delicious play-lists featuring all manner of lovely musicians - British band The Real Tuesday Weld, French hip-hop talent Wax Tailor, and Austrian artists Waldeck and Parov Stelar spring to mind.

It's the mash-up that pleases me most ~ the thoroughly postmodern pursuit of blending the most disparate elements into an enjoyable and seamless whole. Behold "Crazy in Love" by the Puppini Sisters - a cover of a Beyoncé song, remixed by The Real Tuesday Weld. Brilliant.

San Francisco Bay Area band Beats Antique takes the fusion a step further by adding a dash of middle eastern flavor and a sprinkle of circus whimsy... which just may spontaneously combust into the coolest beats ever.

I've only recently discovered them and I have yet to see them live, but I hear they're splendid. Who wants to come out and play?


Why I Love Isabella Rossellini

Truly, one just can't help but adore the fabulous and talented Isabella Rossellini.

Never mind that she came to New York from Rome at age 19 and paid for school by being a translator and circus ringmaster. Never mind that she's been romantically linked to Martin Scorsese, Gary Oldman, and David Lynch. Never mind that she's stunningly beautiful, brilliant, and an active environmentalist.

I love her for her fearlessness. She was mesmerizing as the masochistic lounge singer in Lynch's neo-noir classic Blue Velvet. And who could resist her as a double-amputee beer baroness wearing beer-filled artificial legs in the beautiful surrealist film The Saddest Music in the World by Canadian genius Guy Madden?

But it's Green Porno that sealed my love for Ms. Rossellini. When asked by the Sundance Channel to make a series of "flashy environmental" shorts, Isabella took it upon herself to illustrate the frequently disturbing sex lives of insects.

Most definitely not safe for work, but delightfully bizarre and candid, the series features a charmingly amorous Isabella frolicking about in an oversized, cartoonish set, mostly made of paper. And she's just released Season Two - on sea creatures. Please let there be an octopus episode, please!

Here's a recent interview with Isabella. And my favorite snarky feminist pop culture rag, Bitch Magazine, just featured the series in an article called Wings of Desire, on the radical gender role implications of documenting bug sex.

You know you want to see Isabella as an orgasmic snail in a giant homemade paper maché costume. And her accent makes a statement like "We're sequential hermaphrodites" sound positively sensual. Just go.


Fuchsia Sparkle Glam and Taxes

They say only two things in this world are certain. For me, of late, it's been glam and taxes. Baby Seal Club just played our first gig of the season, and early on it was announced that not only was it a glam theme, but my band-mates wanted it to be hot pink glam. Witness the results.

Faithful readers will know that although I am a consummate costume freak, "hot pink glam" has never entered my lexicon. I tend towards the rich fall hues and corsets, goggles and fishnets, feathers and stripes ~ my own bizarre little genre-bender I like to call Tribal Victorian Burner Circus Freak. After several days of *shudder* combing the trashiest teeny-bopper stores in the mall to no avail, I decided I'd have to make it myself. And own it.

Thus began what shall henceforth be known as the "Week of Fuchsia Sparkle Glam-ness." Sewing zebra spandex is not for the faint of heart. I even let my brilliant friend Amber Lee have her way with my make-up, and ended up coming out like a cross between Jem and Bowie circa 1973.

Yes, that's my man Stache behind me, wearing a giant hair-metal wig ~ he was in the opening band. And my much-adored bassist Lord Wizzbang Hopton also took the glam thing to new heights. And I, for all my complaining, totally pulled it off. So much so that three or four people came up after our ridiculously fun show and said we should dress glam all the time.

Alas, to come down from being a glam diva and spend ten more hours slogging through those painful taxes was misery. Having to figure out inventory was making me feel like I was trapped in a nightmare of algebraic word problems: "If Choklit bought 1 spool of velvet ribbon for $20 and made 4 collars with 12 inches of ribbon each, and a train traveling south was going 50 miles an hour towards a train going north at 35 miles per hour, how many yards of velvet ribbon would it take to tie a bow around the southbound train before they collided?"

But I finally triumphed. Over the taxes, AND the glam. Overall, the weekend was incredible. So now we're trying to figure out how to incorporate some glam elements into our usual costuming to spice it up - but still feel like ourselves. Any ideas? Gaslamp Glam?