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    Closeups: Frank’s Dinner Corset

    These are photos of the corset as it looks today (well, after purchase in 2000).

    Yes, it’s faded; time is rough on us all.

    How We Got It:
    I purchased the costume at auction from Dori Hartley, an early NYC Frank, at the 25th Anniversary on Oct. 13, 2000. Dori says she was handed the corset by Sue Blane at a convention many years back.  Thanks to Jaimie Froemming, who lent me some cash when the stash I’d been saving for a house downpayment wasn’t quite enough.  She also took several of the photos.

    Keep in mind that while it’s in very good shape, the corset has faded a lot over the years.  The paisley pattern is visible on the Blu-Ray, but in 2000 most of us had no idea that Frank’s corset was paisley: it looked like plain black velvet on most prints and video.



    The front of Frank’s dinner corset.


    Corset Front - Top


    Closeup of the velvet. Note the lines of stitching for the boning.


    The back of Frank’s dinner corset.

    The back of Frank's dinner corset, as it looks today.  That shiny spot is a silver sequin; not the glue spots where others came off.

    The back of Frank’s dinner corset, as it looks today. That shiny spot is a silver sequin; note the glue spots where others came off.

    Observe how the netting fabric is actually sewn onto the chiffon shirt, whose texture is clearly visible. Nice closeup of several star-shaped rhinestones and one 3x3 unfaceted plastic "gem" grouping.

    Observe how the netting fabric is actually sewn onto the chiffon shirt, whose texture is clearly visible. Nice closeup of several star-shaped rhinestones and one 3×3 unfaceted plastic “gem” grouping.

    Right Shoulder - Back

    Corset back, closeup on the right shoulder, showing how the netting/flowers wrap up and over the shoulder to the back


    StitchedFlowerrhinestone Corset front: The netting/flowers extending onto the velvet; closeup of stitched flower.

    Star Shaped Rhinestone

    The faceting is clearly visible, as are the metal prongs (which do not extend through the velvet beneath).

    Rhinestone closeup. The faceting is clearly visible, as are the metal prongs (which do not extend through the velvet beneath).

    Note the soutache button loops, the iridescent rounded oval buttons, and the lace edging along the back opening (with embroidery on it as if it's the same material with the silver flowers).

    Corset back. Note the soutache button loops, the iridescent rounded oval buttons, and the lace edging along the back opening (with embroidery on it as if it’s the same material with the silver flowers).

    Frank N Furter – Sweet Transvestite Costume

    frankstrutBlack curly wig

    • Loose curls, not tight ones. Frank has slight bangs (pick out a few strands to lie on your forehead to make the wig front less obvious). The wig is sort of pyramidally shaped: shorter on top, longer on the bottom.
    • Should fall about to the shoulders; choose a wig that is slightly too long over one that is slightly too short (you can always trim it). Do not use an afro wig: you will almost certainly look like a mushroom.

    Black sequined corset with shoulder straps

    • Scoop armholes (tank top-style) in front, with straight straps in back. Straps are a separate piece from the main corset, and are not sequined.
    • Corset is boned. If you’re making yours, take note; it will help hold you in.
    • Lined in white; a strip of white lining shows along the left side of the lacings, and a little shows at the left armhole.
    • The bottom back and front center of the corset both come to a point (very slight at the top). The point in front down over the stomach will help hold you in; don’t omit.
    • TIP: Ideally corset zips up the back or side so you can change quickly. Frank’s may zip under the left arm.
    • Laces up the front and ties at the top in a bow with big loops.
      • Corset has two separate black laces–each lace knotted, then fed through a bottom eyelet of the corset. The top pair of eyelets isn’t used.
      • ~13 eyelets to a side.
    • There is bare skin between the corset and the garter belt all the way around. Many Franks make this too short: don’t. Make yours as long as Tim’s or a little longer: this costume has no pity if you have any tummy at all. Corset should extend almost all the way down to your garter belt.
    • Covered with black, green, dark blue, magenta and a few gold sequins–sequins are bunched rather than evenly spaced and are sparser on the sides.
      • Some people think they are rhinestones, but holes are visible on some of them on Poster Magazine 1 and the 2004 Mick Rock calendar.
      • In a December 1999 interview with Crazed Imaginations, Sue Blane, when asked her all-time favorite RH costume, said:“The first one is Frank’s first corset, from The Maids. I did everything on it. I painted it, put the sequins on…”
      • Sue almost certainly glued them on; if you’re in it for the long haul, you might want to sew them on, or commit to a lot of maintenance.

    Black satin cape with stand-up Dracula-type collar, lined with silver lamé.

    • Shimmery black satin — a full half circle (buy material on sale). Really big shoulder pads; cape is loosely gathered at the center neckline in back.
    • Cape just covers the tops of Frank’s heels. Make sure it’s not too long or you’ll trip on it. The collar has vertical lines of boning (visible about every 4″ along the collar).
    • Hold the cape shut with left hand crossed over right, arms over your chest like a mummy.

    Oversize pearls, separated with little tiny spacer beads.

    • TIP: Buy beads at craft stores or buy a necklace (discount, accessory and department stores; $12-$30).
    • I wondered for years if there were knots in between the pearls or spacer beads; the Mick Rock book answered that question – knots don’t shine.

    Black half-finger elbow-length gloves with woven-in silver threads (Lurex?).

    • Some people think the threads are multi-colored; I think it’s just the light. Whatever works for you.
    • TIP: We bought black socks shot with silver Lurex and chopped them up. Places like Urban Outfitters have carried these for years.
    • What I originally thought was a long vertical rip on Frank’s left inner wrist is apparently the wrist opening of a button-at-the-wrist glove. It is repeated on the right wrist, and I have caught a glimpse of the buttons on the big screen. Thanks to Shawn Anthony for pointing this out.
      • Right glove:
        • 5 parallel rips on the outer arm just below the elbow, 3 rips over back of his hand, small hole on back of index finger.
      • Left glove:
        • 1 hole between fingers and thumb.
        • 2 dirty Band-Aids crossed on left inner elbow.
        • There is blood where they cross.

      Black garter belt:

      • Belt is a wide band of lace with repeating medallion design, edged on top and bottom with a strip of thin, more solid lace. Straps are plain black/dark gray elastic, with slight vertical ribbing and silver clips. The actual rubber nubbin that holds the stockings is white (check the poster magazines).

      Seamed fishnet stockings and black satin undies.

      • Fishnets have a plain narrow black top. In a pinch, buy fishnet hose, chop the top off and treat with No-Fray. There are two holes at the right knee, one hole at the left knee, and one hole at about mid-thigh above the left knee.

      3-row rhinestone anklet.  

      • 3-row banded rhinestones; rows are staggered in a checkerboard pattern (so the rhinestones form little “X”s), not lined up. Worn over stocking on right ankle, later over boot.
      • TIP: Buy rhinestone trim (often called “rhinestone banding”) by the yard and a jewelry catch at a fabric or craft store (may be in the bridal section). Sew onto a black ribbon or elastic to avoid snagging your stockings.
      • If you must have the staggered rows, you’ll probably have to buy three single rows and sew them, very close and staggered, onto the ribbon/elastic yourself (I have never found staggered rhinestone banding anywhere). My husband did this and it looks quite nice.
      • Most rhinestone trim nowadays is made on a plastic support instead of metal; make sure the plastic isn’t too prominent or it will look wrong. I prefer white to black plastic; it looks more like the shiny silver-tone metal supports from 1975.

      Glitter-covered black peep toe platform d’Orsay sandals, white heels.  

      • “d’Orsay” shoes expose the sides of the foot; these are what some shoe manufacturers call a “two-piece” shoe. Closed back (heel cup) and a thin back-strap (rhinestone buckle). The loop next to the buckle that the strap tucks into is silver.
      • Heels are a good 4″ or 5″; actual height will depend on how tall you are and how well you can walk in them. The heel is essentially straight up and down, not curved-in at all; when I’ve found this style in modern shoes the heels were way too wide.
      • Both shoes and heels are covered with sparkly glitter (try coating shoes with glue, then white/clear or black glitter, then shellac or nail polish so shoes don’t shed).
      • You may want to wear shoes with black heels and make removable white velcroed heel covers, removing the covers before Creation Scene. It was only in 2011 that I actually saw anyone do this: it appears to work.
      • Heels are scattered with 20 or so rhinestones (I count 12-14 on the back of each heel in the elevator); some are blue and green. On the Blu-ray, rhinestones can also be seen on the black part of the shoes (check the closeup on Columbia holding Frank’s leg during “maybe a bite”).  
      • TIP: Platform sandals can be bought from Frederick’s or Wild Pair, or at a number of on-line shoe sites (check the Links page.). When platforms are in fashion, even JC Penney’s (!) has featured them in their catalog.

      Small white paper cone cup.  

      • Brave Franks will fill this with water and splash the audience. (Avoid splashing people wearing expensive leather jackets!) Water not OK? See if your theater’s OK with glitter or confetti. In a pinch, torn-up napkin pieces work and provide a nice visual as they flutter down.