The Pastie Project is a book by costume designer and burlesque performer Rosey La Rouge, featuring an archive of vintage and modern burlesque pasties contributed by performers and costumers from all over the world. Around two years ago, Rosey, who has a Master’s degree in Costume Design, started thinking about how she could contribute more to the world of burlesque with her skills, and thus the Pastie Project was born.
‘Creating the ensembles for my burlesque acts had always been my favourite part of the process and it struck me that with my expertise and drive I had the potential to become a leading burlesque costume historian,’ says Rosey. ‘There isn’t much literature out there at present which is strictly focused on the burlesque costume. I saw a gap in an important part of theatre costume history and an opportunity to spread awareness about the significance and uniqueness of burlesque costumes. Not only because they are often beautifully crafted, but also because of how they relate to women’s history. Throughout its history, burlesque costumes were worn by women who were defying what they were expected to do.’
Rosey started small, focusing solely on the pastie, and held open houses in NYC for anyone who wanted to share their pasties. She collected creations from international pastie makers through a social media campaign, and samples were gathered from all over the world at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend in 2016.
‘The Neo-Burlesque movement has embraced the pastie and elevated its existence, so that this significant accessory can be whatever the performer desires: ornate jewellery, a political statement, or the ultimate punchline to the artful narrative of an act. The Pastie Project celebrates burlesque’s appreciation of the body, the pasties’ impact on performance, and all levels of craftsmanship, from DIY to artistic mastery.’
The resulting book is a labour of love; a costume history book full of original content and a must-have for costume designers and historians, vintage clothing collectors, and burlesque performers or enthusiasts. The Pastie Project covers the history, pastie makers, and performers who make burlesque what it is today, and then tops it all off by teaching you how to make your own pair of beautiful pasties.
It doesn’t just stop there for Rosey, though. She’s currently writing a scholarly monograph on the entire history of burlesque costume, and will be publishing with Routlege/Taylor & Francis in 2019 under her real name, Coleen Scott. Rosey plans to travel to England and France this summer to research the oldest burlesque costumes and ephemera in the costume collections of museums like the Victoria & Albert and the Galleria Du Costume. She also plans to work with burlesque legends and collectors who would like to share pieces from their collections for photo documentation.
‘I like to think of pasties as the homecoming queens of Burlesque, and it’s in Rosey La Rouge’s book The Pastie Project that we finally get to see up close what so many have admired from afar,” says Neil Kendall, curator of The Striptease Museum (UK) and Burlesque Hall of Fame Board Member.
The Pastie Project book and Special Edition hardcover will be available via Kickstarter for the month of March only. Kickstarter donor packages include bonuses like Pastie Project Playing Cards, limited edition Pastie Timeline prints, and the opportunity to choose a featured pair of pasties from the book. Platinum donors get a professional photo shoot with Ben Trivett, with makeup and styling by Rosey La Rouge.
The Pastie project features photos by Ben Trivett’s, with book design by Sarah Garcea.
Quoted in major international newspapers and held in high esteem and affection by the international burlesque community, 21st Century Burlesque Magazine has documented the contemporary burlesque scene since 2007. Founded and edited by Holli-Mae Johnson.