Friday, March 6, 2009

Lessons from La Liberace, Part III

Sadly(happily?), today marks the final day of our tripping the light fantastic through the Liberace Museum.

But happily(sadly?), I have painstakingly saved the best for last. (Although that may be up for debate)(Talk amongst yourselves; leave me out of it, please)

Let me tell you something - it has been sheer torture keeping these pictures tucked away. Patience, for the Baroness, is not a virtue, but a scourge.

So with a flourished wave of my hand, let us:

Begin the Bedazzled!!*

(*I encourage you to click on the photos for maximum retinal damage wow factor)

Oops! Wrong photo.

Let's try this again. Flourish with arm, pas de bouree ballet move, yadda yadda yadda, "Begin the BeDazzled, an-n-n-n-nd here we go:

Ahh. Much better.

Here it is; where it all the magic happened - the drawing board. . .

. . .as in, "back to the".

Because why would the King of Bling settle for this?

(uh, hello? I'm referring to the tuxedo)

When he could have someone design this?

So who were the players in this glitterati brain trust? Most were Hollywood types, trained costumers to the stars and to the movies.

We can first lay the blame honors on Syd Devore. It was he who first ventured to the drawing board to pimp out the tuxedo worn to Liberace's inital Hollywood Bowl appearance.

For the bugle beads, braids, and sequins, we can blame praise Frank Acuna; his experience in costuming bullfighters and swashbucklers for cinema gave the edge when it came to cladding our tuneful toreador and buckling his swishes, er, swashes.

Then came Frank Ortiz, master of rhinestones. Michael Travis, latter-day costumer. And no friend of PETA; Anna Nateece, furrier.

If I could just ask you to lay your skepticism aside for an oh-so-brief moment, I will tell you this - while these outfits are not only over the top, but out the back, down the road, and well on their way to Candyland - there is no question that there is real craftsmanship and artisanry here. These numbers are truly labors of love, and works of art.

The amount of time spent on each piece must have been staggering.

So if you must, scoff at the playah - but lay off the creatah.

Design #1: Pretty in Pink

Some say the clothes make the man. Here I am willing to posit that it's the cape.

Some poor turkey gave its feathers for this baby.

How fowl.

Design #2: The Lasagne
Liberace playfully coined this getup "The Lasagne", as he could slop Italian all over himself (yes, I deliberately left this open-ended), and no one would be able to discern the stains.

This was quickly followed by Part 2 of "The Condiment Series":

The Mustard.

Design #4: Pink Kitten...
...with a whip.

Oh, Pinky. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Pink. Shiny. Little furry bobbly things that tickle, tethered on what appears to be either a sparkly whip or a curtain rope.

Very "Gone with the Wind."

Design #5: King Neptune Costume
Called this because of the scalloping and Boticelli-esque visual nods. Personally, I think it's because when you press your ear against it, you can hear the ocean (and when you press your nose against it, you can smell tuna fish - see Designs 2 and 3)

Weighs in at 200 pounds. Yikes.

Design #6: God Bless America
Let freedom (and hot pants) reign.

Design #7: A Vision in Violet
Apparently the cape is 5-tiered. Meh.

I was more dazzled by the boots.
They are made for walkin'.

Design #8: The Czar Nicholas
When he made his entrance onto the stage wearing this, he was accompanied by two Russian wolfhounds (affectionately named Sigfried and Roy).

Design #9: The Dr. Zhivago

OK, I didn't write down the name of this one, but it does kind of look like a continuation of the Russian series. All that's missing is Lara.

Oh, wait! There she is - virginal and untouched in her muff.

Design #10: Bond via Borat
While the tuxedo is very 007 (ish), the cape appeared to be creepily constructed of either the hair of young Balinese boys or bags of black-market pubis.

The sign said it was monkey fur, but I'm not buying it.

Last but certainly never least,

Design #11 - El Matador
Olé , indeed. No self-respecting bull is going to have the will to charge this.

Viva La Toreador¡

Viva Las Vegas ¡

Viva La Liberace!!


♥~♥ Tracey ♥~♥ said...

Oh My God. The red/white/blue jobby...

There are, truly, no words!

THANK YOU FOR THE POSTCARD! I love it! *smooch*

Blog Antagonist said...

Oh my God, those outfits are works of art. Yannow, Bobby Trendy should take a page from Liberace's book. He knew how to do camp with class.

Mental P Mama said...

I was all, meh. Until the boots! I must have them!

Baroness von B said...

Countess Tracey: I KNOW!! If this isn't patriotism, I'm sorry - I don't what is. This should be standard issue for every male over the age of 21.

OK, I might want to re-think that last sentence.

Countess BA: Wouldn't it have been great if he actually had a retreat somewhere called "Camp Camp"?

Think of the brochure...

Countess MPM: Fine. Hand over the red roach killers, and you can have the purple.

You can't be greedy and have both, missy!!!

Bubs said...


This is truly fabulous. That "God Bless America" outfit? Get this--back when I first started my blog, I horrified my 3 readers by posting This picture of Liberace dressed in that costume

Baroness von B said...

Count Bubs: And know I take the Tiki torch and carry on with my 3 readers.
Ah, the spectacular circle of life! ;)

imom said...

Those costumes are fabulous. I hate to play favorites, but I'm in love with "The Lasagne" Oh. My. God.

Baroness von B said...

Countess iMom: Well, I'm not afraid to play favorites.

In a family of all men, I have to flaunt the estrogen - so I would go with The King Neptune - so pink and gleamy!

Joe said...

Ooooh.... I need Number 10 if not no. 11 for an upcoming gay hollywood black tie... Do you know anyone who could put such a piece together? I love 10!!!

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