Category Archives: Event Journalism

Dark Garden Corsetry Hosts Dita Von Teese Live

The Burlesque Queen Celebrates Her New Line of Lingerie and Perfumes at San Francisco’s Hidden Gem

Dita wearing Dark Garden.
Dita wearing Dark Garden

On Sunday, January 5, between the hours of 2 and 4pm, Dita Von Teese will be appearing at San Francisco’s best kept secret: Dark Garden Unique Corsetry and Bridal Couture, located at 321 Linden St. in Hayes Valley. This date marks the availability of Von Teese’s Von Follies lingerie at Dark Garden, which was voted “Best Lingerie” local retail location by SF Weekly in 2013. In addition to Von Teese’s line of lingerie, Dark Garden will also be featuring Von Teese’s perfume, including the treasured and rare Erotique fragrance. To celebrate the arrival of Dita Von Teese’s lingerie, Dark Garden will be revealing a new mini-collection of corsets to compliment the line.

What’s really titillating about this intimate venue appearance is that there will be fan interaction and a giveaway for participants. With purchase of Von Follies lingerie or the star’s perfume, lucky attendees will have the opportunity to be photographed with Von Teese and receive the gift of an autographed portrait of the burlesque goddess modeling her new line.

Dita Von Teese, who is inspired by Golden Age cinema, classic pin-up imagery, and vintage aesthetics, is credited with bringing the art forms of strip tease and burlesque back en mode with an air of elegance and sophistication. She is an internationally recognized style icon, world class performer, and a powerhouse in the business of beauty.

Dita Von Teese in corset, garters, and lingerie by Dark Garden
Dita Von Teese in corset, garters, and lingerie by Dark Garden

Von Teese is no stranger to Dark Garden Unique Corsetry – she’s on the star studded list of celebrity clients who have custom garments made from scratch by artisan makers on-site. Von Teese has worn Dark Garden on the cover of Playboy magazine, as a Virgin Atlantic pin-up, and for countless burlesque performances. Says Autumn Adamme, Dark Garden’s proprietress and Master Fitter:

“I’m incredibly excited to be able to offer Dita’s lingerie to our clients. Her sense of style is a beautiful combination of sexy and classy, sensual and fun. She’s really brought all of these things into the line, which I am certain will be appreciated by both wearer and viewer alike.”

Dark Garden makes all their corsets and other in-store items on-site in their brick and mortar shop at 321 Linden St. From the looks of the humble little alleyway in the otherwise very posh Hayes Valley, one would never know just how special a shop lies therein. Masters of their craft, they’ve been in the business of corseting curves for 24 years. With an extensive ready-to-wear line to boot, featuring corset styles and sizes to flatter every form, even those of us who aren’t celebrity pin up models can feel and look like it at Dark Garden.

Photo by Edward Saenz, hat and custom outfit by Dollymop Designs for Dark Garden
Photo by Edward Saenz, hat and custom ensemble by Dollymop for Dark Garden

Euphrates X

Tightlacing Liaison | Expert Fitter

Dark Garden Unique Corsetry

Rant: Folsom Street Fair 2013

Leather harnesses: leather harnesses everywhere.

I ran into my good friend Jason, a gifted San Francisco stylist, at the end of my shift at the Dark Garden booth at the Folsom Street Fair, and so we took to the street arm in arm to enjoy the festivities.

A man in a cock ring and not much else struts by. “Those shoes are Balenciaga,” Jason whispers to me. “And that slutty secretary look over there,” pointing to a young girl in a pencil skirt and chrome slave collar: “designer.” I feel like I’m experiencing the directors commentary to the kinky fashion event of the year.

photo (18)
Photo by Bigguy, and featuring Anneka photo bombing.

We quip back and forth our praises and criticisms of the fashions of our Dionysian, hedonist, burner, political, and otherwise creatively empowered fellows. I feel free and comfortable in my G-string, thick knee high leather buckle boots, patent leather Dark Garden corset, thigh high stockings, spiked bra and collar. I rock a bun-hawk and the joke was that I was Miley Cyrus for the day (turns out that’s a fetish for some people).

Suddenly, jarringly, I hear a voice from the past ask if I went to <my high school>. To my awkward surprise, I turn to be face to face with one of my worst enemies …a square.

I detest those who show up to a party as if its a spectator sport. But there I was in full leather regalia suddenly faced with the awkward task of making small talk with some dude in khakis I had nothing in common with. What really gets my goat, in addition to the lack of effort, is the shameless admission of tourism: “I came from San Jose just to see the show!” Fuck. This. Noise.

I feel so blessed to live in San Francisco. Historically this city has enjoyed a critical mass of creatively empowered folk who love to party while making the world a better, more understanding place: from human rights activism to artist community communism. Unfortunately, just two days ago I heard the unsettling news that one of my favorite venues lost their lease. It seems that there has been a lot of changes in the SF subculture scene in the last decade, but I’d love to think the changes are evolution, not devolution. However, it seems that SF, with the influx of Googlers and tech-money, is running out of room for creatives; in fact pushing them out to make room. (Wouldn’t want to mar a glossy reputation with a little sin, now would we?)

This begs for a call to arms. Too many amazing spaces for creative expression have been compromised and shoved around in recent years to take it sitting down. There are those in a society who are consumers, and there are those who are movers and shakers: who step up to the plate and innovate experiences and environments for others to enjoy. There are many, many roles to aid this design into fruition, however. Legal, zoning, fire marshall issues, interior design, talent and/or volunteer coordination, contractor labor, fundraising, marketing outreach, branding… In order for these communities to stay alive and thriving, this is a crucial moment to ask: how can I contribute in an impactful and sustainable way?

What does this manifesto have to do with corsetry, some of you might be asking. Well, corsetry is different things to many people. Some are brides, looking for shape wear or a dress bodice. Some are scoliosis patients looking for pain relief. Some are endowed ladies looking for bust support. Some are fashionistas, making a statement through aesthetic and silhouette. But to me and my kind, it’s an expression, sensation, and signifier of leather subculture.

Mainstream fashion incorporated the corset for many centuries, up until the 1920’s, when empowered young women wanted boxy boyish figures and short locks. In presenting this image, they eschewed femininity and presumably likewise, the turn-of-the-century definition of lady-like behavior. Corseting came back into main stream fashion in the 1950’s with Dior’s “New Look”, a fit-and-flare style that featured a tiny waist and an extravagant amount of fabric in the skirt — in celebration of the abundance suddenly allowed at the end of the Second World War.

But subculture folk never stopped wearing corsets. Literally compelled by a force greater than the mind, corsetry means more than fashion and weddings. It’s not a trend, it’s an obsession spanning centuries, and in some cases a signifier of camaraderie.

I guess I’m calling forth the camaraderie.

Photo by RJ Johnson.


Euphrates X

Tightlacing Liaison | Expert Fitter

Dark Garden Unique Corsetry