Sultan’s Tent inspiration summary

Links of goodness for the belly dance costume elements

Hair and makeup

If I end up basically just re-using what I already have, and dont make anything new really, I thought it would be cool to do some interesting hair or makeup.

Hands of Kali

From the Hands of Kali site, I liked this portrait, the gold eyeshadow, the jewels on the brow and forehead, and the flower with the sequins and feather.  The messy buns certainly contribute to the overall look, but I’m not sure if that’s something I’d want to recreate…

Hands of Kali

The headband on this portrait (also from the Hands of Kali site) is also really great – there’s a lot of detail – a lot happening on this one, and yet pretty simple too.  There’s the headband, the flower, the dangling adornment, and then the beaded braids.  The make up is a lot more simple, with just the forehead jewel.

The nice thing about both of these- they both keep the hair off the face – something that always bugs me when I’m dressed up.  (Having my hair in my face..)



One thing that I’ve noticed is that a lot of these ideas sort of blur together in ways. The ‘tribal’ bellydance style blends very well with the more historic styles, the goth, and the steampunk styles.  Steampunk and goth blend pretty well too, and steampunk and historical too at that.  Something tells me that instead of helping me narrow down my idea, all of this ‘research’ has actually made the focusing even harder – but, has also made me much more interested in using what I already have, simply due to the lack of time!

I really have TOO many ideas, and this hasn’t helped much focus on what I really want to do….

Sultan’s Tent – historical inspiration

More historical/covered up

from Tribe - Kathleen Crowley

from Tribe - Kathleen Crowley

This image I found in a number of places, but this appears to be the original source on  It’s attributed to Kathleen Crowley, and is described as “Silk shantung ghawazee coat layered over cotton voile”, the silk shantung is the blue/green coat/dress, and the voile is presumably either an underdress, or describes the paisley-printed sleeve falls or the black underskirt (or both).  I do have one (or two?) ghawazee coats (sleeveless though) but I don’t know if they fit right now.  However this could also be accomplished by wearing a normal black dress- since it’s not really as though anyone there will know the difference… LOL

Part of what makes this successful though, is the limited colour palate, and with the brass beads/bells, it’s also vaguely steampunk too dontchathink?

Velvet Peacock Designs

I don’t think that I want to do anything like this – but it is rather inspirational isn’t it?  The colours are amazing, and I think it’s the fact that they DON’T really work together that gives this costume it’s energy.  I don’t think that I like the laced-up front (it would really only be flattering on the nicest of figures in my opinion) but I do like the elements of laced-up things.  I like the split sleeves a lot as well, and the use of trim/contrasting fabric.

Another from Velvet Peacock Designs

Another image from Velvet Peacock Designs – I really enjoy this one – the more subdued colour scheme certainly work better for me, although I’m certainly not about to do anything in PURPLE…  I could totally see this in shades of steel blue, steel and grey perhaps, or my old stand-by of black and red.  I think that this closes in the front with decorative hooks and eyes, which isn’t my preference, but it would work just find with a zip as well, or even a zip with a false placket with hooks instead over top.  Hmmm though the only thing I ‘have’ of this outfit/design would be the skirt – I’d need to make the coin bra and the coat entirely, and it’s really unlikely that I’ll have the time for that.

Maralagnerians photo

Another beauty showing the same style. This one is from a different designer though (again, click the image to go to her page).  This one uses decorative cloak clasps as fastenings on both the front and the lower part of the sleeve.  I like the stripes and the contrast lining, (though again, the colours are probably a bit too varied for my personal taste).

Links, make up, and summary

Sultan’s Tent – Gothic inspiration

Then, the more goth/fetish side of things

Hands of Kali

Hands of Kali

From the Hands of Kali website, I love the PVC front skirt, the bracers, and I adore the Victorian-style bustle at the back.. awesome.  The studs, the Thai fingers, wacky headpieces, lots of adornment, tassels, grommets, lacing, etc -it’s a buffet of different ideas and styles all wrapped up together.

This video has a lot of amazing ideas (not to mention fantastic dancers) full of goth, industrial, “tribal” and vampiric belly dance costumes. As an aside, I also adore the white linen “classical Egyptian” style costumes too.  My only problem with the video – too much to look at! Another kudo though – that the group dances really look good together – rehearsed and working TOGETHER – versus the all-too-common competition-style group dances.

From Infogirls blog

With the above image, I’m not sure what the image has to do with the blog it’s hosted in – I have the sneaking feeling that the writer loves photography, and includes a photo with every post for interest… but the post doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the photo.  Never-you-mind though – what a gorgeous photo!  If you click the photo you’ll be taken to the blog, where there’s another photo from the same dance.  Blog review aside, and back to the costume….  I love the face paint, the fishnet, the colour scheme, the tassel belts..  none of which should be surprising, because my existing costume has all of these elements!

Synaris belly dance costume

I can’t say that this is what I want to do – but how AWESOME is this belly dancing costume?  Ok, the accessories really make it, but just the idea of using plaid is just awesome.  This is done by an Etsy artist called Synari, and she has a bunch of other pictures of custom costumes she can make.

Next up – historically-inspired belly dance inspiration that is more covered-up.

Sultan’s Tent – steampunk inspiration

So, first up – inspiration on the steampunk belly dance front…

Hands of Kali

From the Hands of Kali website – I don’t know what the intention of this costume was, but to me it has a lot of steampunk elements, mixed liberally with a bit of goth as well.  Steamy- the red and brown striped fabric, the short bustle with the great black ruffle.  Goth – the fishnet, the grommets and lacing, the dreads… It would be interesting to see this one from the front as well.

Deshret Dance Co

The Deshret Dance Company performed at the Carnivale Mechanique, (as per the original link I found on MakerFaire) as part of a performance of steampunk art and culture.  While the costumes themselves are beautiful, I’m not seeing a lot of elements that really scream steampunk though – other than perhaps the colour palate – though I suspect a lot of that has to do with photo editing.  Perhaps if the shot was on an individual costume I could appreciate more of the detail though?

Belly Dance Blog

Now THIS is beautiful – ok, part of it is just that the model is fantastically lovely, but I love the fresh, light, and feminine feel that this displays along with the steampunk elements.  This I found at the Belly Dance Blog – this thread was all about steampunk.   The collar is awesome (though I couldn’t wear it – I hate having things that close to my throat most of the time) the gauntlets/gloves are great too, the bra is all frilly and girly like the hip belt, which has a cameo-like buckle, drapes of pearls, and ribbons. I really like the soft colour palate…  The mini top hat, parasol, and hair sticks are great in this outfit too.

The Blight - Serpentine

From the Blight – check out these beautiful dancers – the group is called Serpentine and they’re from Oregon.  First off, check out the feathered gauntlets – I think that they really make the outfit.  The monochromatic scheme is interesting as well, and it has a vaguely gothic/tribal steampunk feel.  The headpieces look like bird skulls too, but I don’t think that they are…

Next up – gothic and fetish-y inspired belly dance inspiration!

The Sultan’s Tent

March 22, 2011

So, here’s another post that I’m writing long before it will be published – due to another surprise party!

So the next dress up party will be a Moroccan Theme, extrapolated to ‘The Sultan’s Tent‘.  There are a few different things happening for the birthday, some of which I might attend, others not so much… but, all in all, it will likely include a costume for the theme party.

So it’s about 3 weeks away, which means I certainly wont be making much that is new, but perhaps re-use some of my existing costumes and mix them up a little bit – perhaps adding a new piece or two to refresh things.  I’ll use this post over the next few days to hold some of the ideas and inspiration, just like I did with the Winter Wonderland planning posts.


Timing is everything, and I was wandering around, and found this photo from the model Kato’s website.  There is a whole set of photos that are vaguely harem-like, sort of belly-dancer-meets-steampunk in feel, which I found lovely.  (Just as an aside – Kato is the designer for Steampunk Couture, and she’s been mentioning a new collection.  Some of the photo are similar to photos she’s posted of her new digs in Oregon, which makes me wonder if some of the harem-esque pieces are from the upcoming (and as-of-yet unreleased) collection.) (n.b. April 18- Kato has been releasing photos of the new collection, and no – these are actually from a modeling job)

So, from this inspiration piece (as always, click the images to see them in their original format) I selected it mostly because of the flowers/feathers in the headpiece.   I like the tribal belly dance feeling that comes with this.  Of course, coming right off making the two recent tiaras, (one in the style of the Shape of Clouds and the other in the style of Twiggy Wire) this might not be surprising.

So, my thoughts wander in three directions for this one.  My existing gear includes SCA costumes suitable for “Turkish” inspired personas – some historically accurate (or there abouts!) and others more Ren. Faire styled.   Most of them are really covered up, and I have a lot of accessories (belts and things) that go with the outfits in an SCA context, but don’t actually match 🙂   Secondly, I have my goth belly dance costume from a Sultan’s Tent adult party I helped throw a number of years ago.  All of it is coordinated, but it’s a lot of exposure, and with the way I’ve been feeling lately, it might be more exposure than I can really handle right now.  Then, t here’s also the more steampunk aspect that I’d also be interested in pursuing.  Several of the costume ideas I have would work well to translate to this, so it wouldn’t be a waste or a one-of, thought it might involve having to make more than with the other two ideas…