When I came across (on tumblr) this old photo of a proud stripper, showing off her turquoise fringe satin jacket and the matching chaps that bare her French-cut tan lines, I had to know where and who it came from. These days, Rhonda B-Chaparro, aka Odd Artist, works more with melting and painting found plastic objects, but she used to have a business sewing exotic dance costumes.
“I got into making costumes when I was a dancer myself, making all of my own stuff then starting to sell to co-workers. Once I was too old to dance (an ancient 26 or so) I started a business called Baring and Daring Designerwear in Canada and began taking special orders from the strippers up there. It was great fun because most of the time they had nothing more than a color in mind so I had free reign with designing the costumes. I would LOVE to do Lady Gaga’s wardrobe!” Without further ado, here are some of her personal favorites from Baring and Daring Designerwear.
Rhonda gave up costuming after she moved from Canada, finding that dancers in the US typically wore lingerie and didn’t care about costumes. She tried to keep up with crafting when her kids were younger, but got into a car accident that kept her from doing much for years, until her daughter introduced her to Craftster. “It got my creative juices flowing and I have returned to my roots, working with secondhand and recycled supplies like when I was growing up. When you are the only artist in a family with seven kids you learn to work with whatever comes your way!
“While I never know what strange idea I’ll come up with next, most of my work lately has involved experimenting with the painting and melting of various plastics like CDs, DVDs and vinyl records, a line I call Melted Media. But the dirty old lady in me loves making Naughty Bits, which are jewelry and decor items made using just the best parts from recycled romance novels.”
So would she consider making stripper costumes again? (I know I’m not the only one who needs that red Rob Halford number and a “White Wedding” dress.) “It’s been a while since I made costumes, but if someone wants an outfit that uses recycled supplies like large drop sequins made from melted CDs I would be happy to tackle it. Hmm… strippers going green…”