Sewing more drag for the Life Ball. A Klimt-inspired dress.

Way back in May I collaborated with Maxi More and did some sewing for a costume for the Life Ball. The Life Ball is a huge charity event in aid of people living with HIV and is held in Vienna, this year theme was Klimt with a heavy gold influence, beautifully illustrated by this poster of Conchita Wurst as Kilmt’s Golden Adele.

I’d wanted to work with Maxi for ages, who wouldn’t? You’re unlikely to forget her, not just because she’s a 300-foot tower of beauty, Maxi’s one of those people who is just wonderful to be around. There’s a really positive, gentle energy there and, would you look at that face?!

Prior to this project, we’d only really seen each other at stupid o’clock at Savage (Sink the Pink weekly club night) so it was nice too meet up in daylight. It’s always a bit of an adventure to meet up with performers in daylight, will we recognise each other without the lights and shadows of the club? A bit like being a spy. Should I carry an identifying object? Should we synchronise nail polish?

We decided to use Klimt’s Pallas Athena as inspiration and worked from there. It makes perfect sense looking at these two images side by side.


What a face. Mirror, mirror…I think we can stop asking that question now.

We started with an existing gold dress and built the look from there. I’m not going to pretend it was fast.

Maxi More

I cut scallops and layered them to give the dress more movement and texture. I liked the idea of a nod to amour whilst giving it a bit of a fishy-mermaid feel. Actually, I mostly like the texture. We had a lot going on in this look and it was a true collaboration. Maxi constructed the helmet and suggested the addition of the chain mail drape on the shoulder as well as the sarong taffeta wrap round the waist. Genius.

Because I am a filthy cow and I like to be subversive (also I was going a bit mad from the repetition of scallops) I thought I’d throw a cock and balls into the mix. You can see it on the left – sorry mum. I added our names as well so we’d effectively signed our work.

Maxi More


Paula Abdul liked it. So did Dita. And Conchita.

And what was I doing whilst Maxi was in Vienna? Throwing myself into a plate of Pad Thai and cheering her on. I loved working with Maxi. My cats are crazy about the scritches they got from those nails and I’m so happy with how this all turned out. I’d be hard-pressed to name a more lovely human being I’ve met this year and I’ve met a lot of contenders for that title.

Go check her out. When my beard comes in (let’s not fight biology) , I’m heading Maxi’s way for advice. There’s more to be enjoyed over here  and info on the Familyyy Fierce  and their performances.

You’re going to have to excuse the pic quality. Sew sorry, sew fast.


About Vanessa

Sewing and assorted nonsense. For reasons that escape me, I left the sunshine and beaches of Australia for the crisps and glitter of London in 2001. I now live in the middle of some kind of feline drop-in centre in East London battling for space to make costumes and clothes. Over on twitter and instagram as @smittenness Email over here ------>
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One Response to Sewing more drag for the Life Ball. A Klimt-inspired dress.

  1. Absolutely stunning outfit. You can’t go wrong with a bit of Klimt. Xx

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