Dallas Burlesque Guru Shoshana on Getting Pin-Up Ready, Starting with Makeup
On any given weekend, Dallas is teeming with burlesque. It seems counter-intuitive; while the stereotypes may be overblown, the city is regarded as socially conservative, with an predilection for ostentatious displays of real or imagined wealth and "high-brow" entertainment.
Burlesque culture is a different animal, but not entirely. It is glamorous and over-the-top, with attention to sparkling detail, if a campier version. Consider it a sister to
Dallas' thriving drag scene. Both turn conceptions of traditional femininity on their head, celebrating their beauty and eschewing their limitations.
So it should come as no real surprise that the city boasts a collaborative one-stop boutique for all things pin-up and burlesque, from fashion, jewelry and cosmetics to make-up by award-winning artist Ladonna Stein and a photography studio -- Through the Looking Glass -- where owner and mastermind Shoshana does fashion shoots.
Open since 2008, Shoshana's studio moved to its current location on Main Street last year, where she then founded the boutique section, Dallas PinUp, in October. Since then it has become home to 13 independent, female-owned small businesses, a concept that she likens to an "antique mall without the antiques."
In addition to her busy schedule as entrepreneur and artist, Shoshana also maintains a wealth of knowledge about the history and traditions of the style. So why does burlesque work for a city like Dallas?
"Blame it on Mad Men, blame it on the war, or blame it on the fact that it is impossible to top the overt sexuality of Madonna," Shoshana says. "Or maybe women just started to embrace our feminine curves instead of trying to diet them away and needed a break from G-strings and low rise jeans."
She tells us that the style originated in Paris in the 1890s, but most of us are more familiar with its influence on American fashion throughout the 1940s. "The iconic drawings were everywhere," she says. "Lucky Strike cigarette packs that were distributed to the troops, companies used the legendary pin-up artist Gillette Elvgren to advertise their products and the soldiers even painted the gals on their war planes."
In 1949, a photo shoot called "Golden Dreams" featuring an unknown model became emblematic of the period. Shosana tells us that the rights to the photos were purchased for a mere $50 by an upstart magazine -- Playboy -- and the model, who would later be known as Marilyn Monroe, forever changed the face of American fashion, ushering in the American Sexual Revolution.
Shoshana graciously directed us to more historical information and offered to guide us through a few of the basics. Today, she and make-up artist Ladonna Stein teach us how to create a pin-up style through make-up:
How to get the "fresh face" pin-up look of the 1940s/50s:
Why are we starting with the eyes? According to award winning make-up artist Ladonna Stein of Dallas PinUp, "You start with the eyes so any product that falls from the eye makeup, or mistakes can be removed easily without screwing up your foundation or powder."
Make sure your eyebrows are well groomed before you begin your makeup application. They make a huge difference! You may choose to fill them in a little using an eye shadow that is one shade lighter than your brows and an angled brush.