Interview with Catherine D’Lish by Jo Weldon.
Catherine D’Lish is known for inventive, hyperglam, spectacular costuming. Her standard-setting work with Dita Von Teese is best known to many, but Catherine is constantly creating fresh, innovative designs, items that strike us as iconic immediately, working with fabric and trim in new and inspiring ways.
Most recently she has produced devastating sheer ruffled dressing gowns, reminiscent of classic dusters but with more of an intimate sense of the boudoir than the stage. They are, however, outrageously sexy onstage.
These gowns are glorious. When did you start making them?
CD: Thank you, I’m glad you like them! It all started a few years ago when I began cleaning out my costume and stored trunks; I had loads of old costumes I didn’t use anymore and plenty of fabric just sitting around. I unloaded the costumes on Ebay and made some gowns with the fabric I’d accumulated, and auctioned those, too.
Did you start with a pattern, or did you do this yourself?
I just start with some fabric and a pair of scissors, and get busy.
Did you envision them as stagewear, leisure wear, or something else?
I envision them as sold! It’s always interesting to me which of the gowns get the most enthusiastic reactions. I also enjoy hearing what people do with them, and love hearing about the gowns in their happy new homes.
How often do you make them? Do you make them to order?
I’ll make the gowns when I’m on a break from touring. Occasionally I’ll take a custom order or two, but at this time my touring schedule is keeping me pretty busy, so it’s easier for me to make pieces for auction on my own time when I can as opposed to working with somebody else’s deadline. Also, with the random auction gowns, I can see what people respond to. Sometimes I’m surprised that a certain style or colour will receive so much interest.
You are such a brilliant designer, and your work is always so deliciously feminine. What inspires you?
Thank you for the compliment! I think that the only thing that “inspires” me is the process of having a big pile of stuff in front of me and figuring out what to make with it. My first step is to choose a bunch of materials that appeal to me, and then I throw it all together. Every once in a while, the “inspiration” is trying to empty out a box of fabric that has been in my basement for over a year.
What can we look forward to seeing from you next?
I’m getting very (very) close to the launch of a luxury loungewear line… it’s been a long road! This line is a real departure from the work I’ve done that people are familiar with, but I still feel it’s very ‘me’. I’m excited to see what happens next.