July 24, 2007

Burlesque and Gangsters

The party theme for my last cake order made for the young@heart 30 year old; Nick.
The couple was an interesting match indeed. His wonderful girlfriend; Jennifer was so nice to come up with a long write up to aid me with my cake design. It was going to be a surprise for Nick. I came up with at least a thousand ideas! There was so much I could do! But unfortunately; only so much cake to cover :(.
Here's bits of the email she sent me. *I hope she's not going to mind me publishing this* ;)
Good morning Su Yin,

It was great to speak with you last night, I had dreams of cake designs all night!
Ok, so I'm going to barrage you with information in the hopes that it better describes our birthday boy.
His full name is Nicholas Edward Christian Vincent. He owns a company which produces architectural illustrations (Visualise It). As you know, this is a party to celebrate his 30th birthday. Nick is blonde, blue-eyed and about 172 cm. (in comparison, I am a curly headed brunette who is a further 6cm taller than him). He has an infectious smile.

He is a very talented artist, and is often found sketching or drawing. He is particularly passionate about nudes as subjects for his drawings. In fact when you mentioned that you had been thinking of setting him 'centre stage' so to speak I was picturing him in a burlesque or a gangster costume. I now think that a far more suitable presentation would be him as the artist documenting the scenes around him. Perhaps with a sketchbook, or at an easel?

The venue where the party will be held is called 'Nude' and is the top level of the Australian Youth Hotel in Glebe (behind Broadway Shopping centre). This pub is quite old, and in the eralier parts of last century the level now called 'Nude' used to be a brothel. The interior design there now reflects the saucy orgins of the building, with rich drapery and velvet upholstered wingback arm chairs. The walls are completley covered edge to edge with nude erotic paintings, from clasical eras to contemporary expressions. It's quite a luscious environment. In one corner is a stage, where Gypsy Wood will perform (her website is www.gypsywood.net).

The theme that we have chosen has meanings that run deeper than just a good costume concept. Nick and I are developing a business that will provide an online community for the creators and appreciators of erotic art and literature - you can see our placeholder website at www.scintillateme.com. In our research we have been attending many burlesque vents (which are popping up everywhere in Sydney these days) and we have both been really taken with the cheek and the wit of the artform. I'm not sure how much you know about the origins of burlesque, but there is a great write up in Wikipedia to help fill out any knowledge if you are in need (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burlesque). Basically, even though the genre spans from the mid-late 1800's to today, the driving force behind it is that it has always been somewhat subversive, an artistic challenge to the sexual sensibilities of the time.
The addition of the gangster theme was to offer those guests less familiar/comfortable with burlesque an associated genre for costuming. Certainly the burlesque houses of the 1930's were well-frequented by the mobsters, so it isn't a great stretch.

When thinking of key words to associate with both genres, the following things come to mind:

- feathers, headpieces, legs, gloves, elagance, smiles, lipstick, glitter, fishnets, partially exposed (legs peeking out from behind curtains, arms extending out...), cocktails, props

- travel in packs, hats, trenchcots, arms on guns in hip holsters, guns, cigars, card playing, no smiles, dark colours, ties, suits, cars, bars, whiskey

I hope this is enough information to get you going - and that it is not too overwhelming!
Ok, I'll leave all this to settle in your clever brain. If you look at all this and think you have a great idea, but you just can't make it happen within the budget, I might be able to stretch another small amount. Not surprisingly, with the other expenditures, I would prefer not to, but do let me know :)
Have fun and take care,
Shes just too sweet! I hope they had a wonderful party! Dress up parties are so much fun~
I initially came up with this...

Which I took apart eventually...I hated everything about it. I was going to have 2 girls in burlesque outfits on top; him with an easel in the leather seat. *sigh* So uncreative...I've done too many of these...I had to come up with something fresh!After reassembling the cake pieces...I created a composition of items...

All the little separate items were cake underneath...even the tiny pot of paint. They were covered in coloured fondant and brushed with whiskey.
I made a pallete to represent Nick's artistic side; the revolver and stack of cash hidden under a handkerchief for a touch of gangster.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

erm...sorry to say this but the cake looks messy to me..

Anonymous said...

Hey gal..u can do much better den that!!=) Jia you okies.

littlewoozie said...

First time visiting your blog and I can only say, wow! You are really talented and patient! I love baking too, but have never had the time to do such creative stuff. My cake toppings are usually just a simple choc ganache or even simpler, just choc fudge! So I am really impressed!

Anonymous said...

not sure what are you trying to achieve, too messy. I thought it was just your scratch and didnt know it is actually the end product. my 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

Your so good!

Anonymous said...

At first I thought you were going to put all those items onto a cake and decorate it abit more.
It doesnt resemble much of an actual cake. Just looks like little pieces put together.

You can do better :)

But I love the way you did those little items! very nice

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

You made a beautiful cake for my friend's engagement party a few weeks ago...
would you be available to make a car-themed ice cream cake for me?

drop me a sms/phone call, THANKS!


Anonymous said...

I thought that the individual items are so precious, but when put together, it just didn't give off a very burlesque feel.

Anonymous said...

hey i think its very unique and different, and those who don't like it, can u do better?!

Anonymous said...

Wow! all these individual pieces are so decorative and done so creatively and perfectly. I especially love the colors on the palette. However I think you might have gotten too overly excited : P imo, which is not a bad thing!. You have passion and love for what you do which is a huge achievement in that itself. The composition doesnt go as well as your other works, but individually its very beautiful.

I dont like how some people can be so spiteful though. It's like any chance they get, they'll jump at a negative situation. They need your zest in life : <

Anyways Ill stop rambling.
Keep posting luv!

- Jens

Anonymous said...

Hi girl. I think the individual pieces looks absolutely stunning. The only problem is you tried too hard to put too many ideas into one cake. Don't worry we learn as we go along you will improve in time. Keep at it you are certainly above average. Luv. Pa

Anonymous said...

well, i think the woman who commissioned you did give you an overwhelming amount of info. as a burlesque fan myself, i don't even see how one could begin to make a burlesque themed cake! especially since your style tends to be very cute and whimsical, and burlesque does have a silly side, but is mostly very sexual.

that being said, i think you did a neat job of combing those elements and the gangster theme, as well as what the customer indicated her man was into for hobbies. however, to capture the burlesque theme best i would have just gone with that adorable name placard you made and make it like a playbill sticking out of the cake. all of those things together does look a bit like a jumble.

i could never do what you do so i am always amazed at your cake designs! i can tell this one was tough for you! keep it up and as they say in japan "ganbatte!" (fight hard!)


ScintillateMe said...

As the recipient of this amazing cake I feel I should pop in my response!

It's always difficult to measure how much information to give a creative person when they are designing something for you. My technique is often to swamp the person with information to allow them to gain a better picture of the intended outcome. But normally I work alongside them to develop the concept.

I think in this case I may have given you too many themes to present in so small a space (and budget). As other people have commented here I did feel that it lacked in cohesion overall.

That being said... in situe, the cake was an absolute smash hit!
It sat alone on a little table and was the centre of attention all night! Everyone took pictures.

Then later... we cut it up. Seriously, I have never tasted such a beautiful chocolate cake. It was unreal. People were stunned.

But the best part? Nick says it's been his best birthday party ever.
Thank you Su Yin, your cake was a big part of that.
- Jen

Anonymous said...

Babe, you just get better nad better lah.

And you know, this may not be your best work so far, but pursuing your passion means accepting failure (altho, this is so NOT failure, in my books!), learning from it, and pushing the boundaries a bit.

My hat off to you! Keep up the good work.

ioyces said...

xledHi Su-yin!
:) loved how your friends and even father rallied around to support you!!
i agree with the rest that there seem to be too many themes on this cake..but i guess we only have such high expectations of you cos we have seen your previous work (if anyone else had came up with the same cake, there would, no doubt, be alot of 'oohhhs' and 'wow's....)
and the information that Jen gave was quite overwhelming.....
but like what she said, the guests were very impressed, not only with the appearance but also the taste of the cake!!! Plus the birthday boy had his best bday party ever...so it would be fair to say that your cake was a success!!
Kudos girl!

Su-Yin -D├ęcorateur said...

Hey guys..thanks for both the negative and positive comments. I value everyones perspective of what I have done. Extra thanks to Jennifer for posting up her thoughts on the cake and how it did at the party; I guess what matters is that the person paying for it was happy with what I had done. *sigh* I was getting a little worried there with all the bad reviews! *laughs*
I'm just curious why the negative comments are usually anonymous ;) ...I'm not petty guys...*grin* I don't bite :P