When I see a client in the garments I’ve made for them come alive, its beyond words for how I can describe the joy that gives me. Ever since I can remember clothing has played a huge part in my life – from the comical memories of me being determined to dress myself (and doing it all backwards) to wearing a see through blouse to my Nana and Grandad's house and there being a mumbling of ‘maybe Ariane needs to start wearing a crop top’… clothing is etched in many of my memories. With that, and I think for many comes early memories of how we felt wearing these clothes and how we felt others perceived us… combine all this together, add in some school yard knock backs and taunting and it’s no wonder many of us are walking round full of worry and concern of how we look and what others are thinking of us.
I met Claudia in Jan 2017, when her and Jay came to me for a costume for Rainbow Serpent. I remember these two strong inspiring women coming into the Den. I was excited to create for them - they had been booked to perform at the festival and wanted matching outfits to wear. We made gold for Claudia and Silver for Jay.
The two of them put on an incredible show and were happy with what i'd created for them, also coming along to the first ever Sparkle Gang photo shoot
The next outfit for Claudia that was made was for her to perform at Mardi Gras in Sydney… we needed something that was comfortable for her to move in, would maintain modesty while performing and dancing and also fitted the theme of the Mardi Gras – so we had to include Rainbows <3
The next outfit for Claudia was another combo outfit for her to wear with Jay. They had seen the Annie waistcoat that I had made for others through the year and wanted to incorporate that shape into a look to perform. I suggested using the red/black reversible sequins and off I went to create.
The two left me to develop the design for them I changed how the front fastened and added in a hook and eye as I didn’t want it to come open at any time.
They wore the outfit at Burning Seed, when it was the fire circle before the man burned. I sat watching them with the biggest smile on my face, love in my heart. Claudia was up there looking amazing, fire twirling and shining bright.
It was only after this that Claudia began to tell me how I had helped her through the year with how she feels in clothing. I‘d had little clue as to how she was feeling… always making sure that shorts fitted how she liked or necklines were in the correct position – but I’d done that naturally as I want people to feel at one when wearing clothes, and not worried of what others are thinking. I want that to wash away and the wearer to be the best version of comfortable as possible.
When it came to the Reflections shoot I didn’t know which outfit Claudia was going to pic for either photo, I left it for her to choose the one she wanted to wear to represent herself. She chose the red/black marching band inspired outfit… for the rest of the days memories I’m going to hand over to Nush and Claudia… but in response to your comment Claudia, I’m learning how I’ve helped you, and I’m so grateful to be part of your journey, its one that so many people never face or learn to address and I’m incredibly proud to be able to work with you
Words From Claudia
1. Tell us a little about yourself
By day, I work at a private training institution supporting students with learning needs. By night, I’m a passionate circus performer who loves to play with FIRE!
2. Describe your first outfit: Why did you choose it to reflect the person everyone is used to seeing?
Working in a corporate environment, most weekdays I’m wearing corporate attire.
2. Describe your second outfit: The process of having it made by Ariane, why you chose to, its design, original inspiration The process was super fun, we shared a lot of ideas and she even went above and beyond to make us matching hats without us knowing – which totally made the outfit. Jay and I were in the works of organising a theme camp at Burning Seed and wanted some costumes made for the event and future shenanigans, so we arranged something that would resemble both our personalities and what we did – sparkles and circus!
3. How do you feel when you wear your outfit?
Like a boss - super pizzazz
4. What was the 'take away' feeling or emotion you had from the shoot day?
Complete gratitude and admiration to the designer (Ariane) the makeup artists, the photographers and all the other incredible women that were present.
5. Anything else you would like to comment?
ALL costumes Ariane has made for me have given me the confidence to perform at 150% at any event I have attended and performed at, we still don’t think she really understands exactly how much her creations have inspired us. So much admiration. Thank you
Words from our photographer, Nush
Claud is an entertainer. That was clear in front of the camera. That was clear behind the scenes. That was clear in her interactions with the rest of the women there- it was just clear. She came in with so much joy and energy, regardless of what she was wearing. I did get the occasional “you want me to what?” expression, but for the most part there was dancing and jumping (and scarf eating) and…life.
Some of the others came in to watch, and that’s when I realised what I was looking for from Claudia. The spectators must have said something about a sexy pose. The answer to that was the following two shots:
It was less sexy, and more of a parody of what one thinks of as a “sexy pose”. More importantly it was the first time I saw Claudia look even a little bit awkward. I can’t say it became a goal, I typically like to see where people take me on shoots instead of trying to force them down one direction or another, but I thought to myself: “I want to see sexy from her. Audience, or no, that’s what I want to capture.” But first I’d have the pleasure of watching her, Jay, and Simone ………………………… being Claudia, Jay, and Simone together :)
And then sometime in the night I got exactly what I was looking for. In the middle of a pillow fight, with everyone watching, the look was just: relaxed, confident, straight on, and really sexy.
SO. MUCH. YES.
(Claudia is wearing the Romance Lace Dress, also by Ariane Bingham - from her label The Lioness and Her Unicorns - Click here for more information)