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Design For Burlesque

Central Saint Martins
Taught by
Bella Towse


This course covers the exciting, expanding area of burlesque. Designing the costumes for burlesque is a new and thrilling area of design. We will explore how to draw and interpret feminine bodies - including life drawing - so that you can fully express your fashion ideas on the page quickly and spontaneously.

By the end of the course you will have created your first sketchbook crammed with ideas and you will be in a unique position to enter this fast-growing area of design.

Topics covered

  • We will also explore how to design for the movement of the body, the importance of fabrication, colour and stage lighting design in conjunction with the costume design - both the erotic and exotic.
  • You will be shown lots of techniques to unlock your most creative ideas and to challenge yourself on a journey to designing a series of outfits for a themed performance.
  • The course will help you source, research and develop your fashion ideas whilst being fun and exhilarating.
  • We will consider silhouette, textiles, print, draping, pattern cutting and illustration techniques.
  • Also covered is the history of burlesque from the 1890s through to the present.

Who should take this course?

People looking to unlock their most creative ideas and wanting to understand in more detail how to design for the human body.

Entry requirements: Basic spoken English is required.

Level: Beginners

Please note: This course is for students aged 18 and older

Tutor Description

Bella Towse is a creative strategist at graphic design agency Bulletproof and is a freelance Illustrator & Designer. Her illustration clients include Taylor Swift, Elizabeth Arden, Jamie Oliver and Crabtree & Evelyn. In a fashion capacity she has worked for prestigious designers Alexander McQueen, Paul Smith and the portrait/fashion photographer Platon. She studied BA (Hons) Fashion Design with Marketing at Central Saint Martins where she had the opportunity to work under the infamous Head of MA Fashion Design, Prof. Louise Wilson, Will Broome, Illustrator for Marc Jacobs and Heather Sproat, Designer at Louis Vuitton.  You can view Bella's website at


Please bring along on the first day:

1 x putty rubber or ordinary rubber
2 x A3 sketchbook (Hardback)
1 x roll of masking tape
1 x B6 graphite pencil
1 x progresso¹ graphite stick

From day 2 onwards:

1 x Daler & Rowney Acrylic paint starter set (6 tubes of 22ml)
1 x Conte a Paris (12 sticks of colour) sq. conte chalk
1 x prit stick
1 x small can of fixative
1 x plastic water pot
1 x plastic bag
1 x plastic paint mixing palette
1 x household paint brush (cheap)
1 x square end brush
1 x number.6 or 7 paint brush
1 x small pot of P.V.A. glue
1 x pair of scissors
1 x stapler (not essential if you don¹t have one)
1 x sewing kit (of basic thread, pins and needle)
1 x A4 or A3 Tracing Paper Pad

Stabilo pencils (aqua type & thick body):

1 x Yellow no.200 (or any light colour)
1 x Red/Scarlet no. 370 (or any medium colour)
1 x Jade no.470 (or any medium colour)
1 x Blue no.425 (or any dark colour)
(If you can¹t find these don¹t worry just buy similar colours in oil pastels)

Available dates

If no dates are showing then please Enquire about this course and we will contact you when new dates are published.