A staple of childhood amusement that emerges around the same time as spring blossoms and lingers much like the heavy perfume poured forth from pastel petals is now an accepted source of inspiration and can be found on a multitude of accessories. The fact that new designs are constantly appearing means there is enough of a demand on the consumer’s part, and in a way I am happy because it preserves a small part of Circus culture, though there is also a feeling of detachment from the history and tradition. Fashion does not need to be so serious though, particularly when embracing retro vibes and the kitschy elements that can be found in certain types of art derived from images found in carnival sideshows. Imaginative interpretations readily available on affordable products that can also be worn is definitely a bonus since I tend to be keen on adornments which also serve a practical purpose.
1 – Modest statement pieces such as the Two Headed Deer Necklace offer versatility through unassuming standards, the black stainless steel cutout appealing to my adoration of barnyard oddities while others may appreciate it for other reasons. Hanging on an 18 inch chain, the pendant can be tucked under Peter Pan style collars or drape nicely with low-cut necklines.
2 – Vertigris green enamel on gold tone brass creates the base of these hand crafted Coney Island Earrings, which feature the iconic George C. Tilyou Funny Face surrounded by a distressed piece of jewelry that looks as though it was plucked from the facade of one of the historic seaside buildings. The tiles dangle from wire hooks and would be a great way to compliment evening attire, particularly if attending a show.
3 – Combining the essence of circus with stripes, sequins, bright colors and Victorian accents, the Contortionist Brooch is made for collectors of the outrageous. A vintage illustration has been framed by a blue satin ribbon and pleats of black and red stripes, and it can adorn any of your garments or even an avante-garde hairstyle.
4 – Fully adjustable, this wide Backstage Burlesque Cuff could very well be an all-access pass to a world most never get to see, or it could just be your way of letting people know you appreciate the elements of the illustrations that are painted on the surface of the cuff. Either way, get used to people wanting to read your wrist and watching people’s expressions when they realize they are looking at naked bodies.
5 – Printed with Toni-Lee Sangastiano’s original painting, the Gator Girl Clutch is a water resistant way to store valuables, cosmetics or anything else that you want to keep safe. Fabricated from durable vinyl, the clutch has a snap closure that seals as tight as a gator’s jaw and will instantly add visual interest.
6 – Take pleasure in remaining out of the ordinary with the Freak Belt Buckle, a peter rectangular piece that can effortlessly be attached to any belt [up to 1 7/8 inches] showcasing distinctive lettering and an overall old-school rending of a sideshow advertisement. Coated in hand-poured, crystal-clear resin gives it a glass-like shine and ensures durability so you can wear it with any of your favorite outfits.
7 – Brighten your day with a dose of Happy Pills, an iron pill box that has been chrome plated for added durability and has two white compartment trays that fit 14 – 16 average sized capsules. Though it closes tightly, the lid is easy to open and the white faced clown on the cover will surely prevent thievery of the contents.
8 – Whether a spectator or participator, the Queen of Burlesque ID Case serves all of your fiery desires and serves it up with a smiling sassy pinup style burlesque girl ready to deliver heart-stopping performances warned to be for adults only. The snap-close case can hold about a dozen business cards or six plastic ones such as a driver’s license or credit card, ensuring the valuables are safe when you are out and about.
9 – Touted to last as long as your own ink, the Tattooed Lady Compact is a chrome plated iron round almost three inches in diameter that has a regular mirror and a magnifying one on the inside. Outside is more art influenced by the sideshow, this time in the form of a tattooed pinup who presents a novel image of beauty.
10 – Sideshow banner art played an important role in publicizing the amazing acts that were said to be alive on the inside of a canvas tent, and the Zandar Cigarette Case is an example of how it can be immortalized on a contemporary object. The polished steel case will hold half a pack of smokes, business cards or cash, the items protected by the all seeing, all knowing visage emblazoned on the cover.
11 – Exhibiting my sense of humor here, the retro charm is almost literally pouring out of the Gasoline Flask, the red, white and yellow graphics giving fair warning of the contents that are inside. Would recommend filling it with fire breathing fluids for easy transportation, and so that someone does not mistake it for an alcoholic beverage.
12 – Towering on over five inches of spine is a black and white striped boot capped by a flat black toe and matching heel, which is painted with an emblem proclaiming a five cent freakshow. These brilliant Spine Boots by Too Fast express the brand’s own history of showing love for fierce sideshow fashions, working well both on and off the stage.