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Designer Turkish Belly Dance Costumes
Commonalities among Turkish designer Belly dance costumes are harder to nail down because the nature of designing
is the individual creativity of a designer. But some commentary can be made.
Beaded fringe remains in vogue, both long and short strands. Trends lean toward a fuller fringe on the belt with
minimal, accenting fringe on the bra. Attaching fringe along the base of the belt is favored. If a skirt with no
separate hip belt, ample fringe is attached (unlike its Egyptian counterpart).
Designer sets tend to use large and small glass stones heavily in combination with fabric, sequins, and seed beads
to cover and decorate the surface of the bra, belt, and accent the accessories. Alternatively, the surfaces may be
intricately stitched in dainty glass beads of contrasting colors. There is the tendency in both instances to
decorate in flowing abstract patterns. Skirt and accessories are often heavily decorated, mimicking the work on the
bra and belt.
Bra shapes vary from the classic bra to adjoining half vest, asymmetrical half top/half bra, large diamond shapes
on the bottom of bra... Belt shapes are also varied though the V shape is trademark (designer sets tend to be
daintier than mass produced counterparts).
Full designer costumes include decorative headband and necklace, some type of arm adornment as described in the
foreword, a veil, bra, belt, and skirt. Fabrics used are velvet, crushed velvet, stretch velvet, chiffons and some
lycra - mostly matte.
Many American dancers have an image of this nature come to mind at the mention of Turkish Belly dance costumes.
Lets explore how this stripperesque association developed. Few Americans traveled to Turkey to research Oriental
dance in the 1960's and 70's. Those that did report Turkish Roman Oriental dance as a "gutsy", "primal", "raw",
"unrestrained", "passionate" dance and Turkish Oriental dance (different from the Roman version) as "joyful",
"energetic", "lively", and "bright". However, in the 1980's the dance became, largely, debased. It was used to
cater to the soft core market and often to 'advertise the goods' at low class venues. The pictures and video
produced in Turkey at that time were, primarily, targeting the sex industry. This is the type of material that
became accessible to American dancers. The majority had no other frame of reference and the ill represented Turkish
Oriental dance was taken at face value. Which was "exceedingly underdressed, blueplate special raunch" to quote
Morocco. That is (more or less) a bygone era. Turkey sustains trained, quality artists who are well costumed and
respectably showcased. It has become a popular destination for dance tourists.
Haute Couture to Novice Turkish Belly Dance Costumes
Bella and Sim Moda Evi are the unrivaled Haute Couture of Turkey. Full costumes from these fashion houses start at
650 dollars and go upwards from there. Bauchladen and Dahlal International carry high end Turkish designs that
start at 800 dollars. Topkapi Designs produce middle of the road costumes starting at 400 dollars, and some high
end costumes starting at 700 dollars. Istar Costumes and the Turkish Emporium sell novice sets starting at 150
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