It was a Monday night, and whilst the rest of the cabaret world was enjoying a thoroughly deserved ‘cabaret weekend’, burlesque queen Immodesty Blaize and I had arranged an after hours photoshoot at the historic Hotel Cafe Royal to promote her Le Nuit de la Diva show. It was such a strange feeling to be turning up to start shooting so late in the day, but as the last of the afternoon tea guests filtered out of the hotel, I knew we were going to have a brilliant shoot.
Immodesty Blaize and I have worked together a few times now. From our very first costume shoot in the boudoir at Murder Mile to our Jayne Mansfield/ Sophia Loren inspired nude shoot at Eaton House in 2014, a common theme seems to be an epic location to shoot in! On this occasion, the shoot took place in the decadent golden ballroom setting of the Oscar Wilde Bar. Originally established in 1865, Hotel Cafe Royal maintains the bar’s authentic Louis XVI detailing, with parquet flooring and stunning mirrored walls. Arriving on location, we were also joined by the incredible costumier Ian Frazer Wallace, who would be dressing Immodesty Blaize in a brand new bespoke showgirl costume.
With the Oscar Wilde bar being a fully mirrored room, finding the right angle to shoot and light from was extremely challenging. Using the ornate wall decor in the corner of the ballroom to hide my reflection, my Elinchrom ELB 400 head and soft box were hidden off to the left of the shot, providing some dramatic lighting for Immodesty’s red showgirl costume, mixed with the ambient tones of the room. Later on, the soft box moved more central for Immodesty’s white showgirl outfit.
Whilst one of the images was used to promote the event last November, the rest of the images have been kept under wraps until now to announce the burlesque queen’s appearance at Rome Burlesque Festival’s incredible 10 year anniversary later this year. Having attended the festival myself back in 2011, I’m certain it will be an incredible festival. If you’d like to go and watch Immodesty perform in one of her rare public performances, you can buy tickets for the event here.