Superstars of Burlesque: Catherine D’Lish

Superstars of Burlesque is back, with another American beauty to tantalise and titillate. She is one of the world’s most famous contemporary performers, she is renowned for her jaw-droppingly- stunning costume designs and feather fans, she’s very good friends with Dita and she’s one of only two burlesque artistes to have won the Miss Exotic World pageant not once, but twice. She is of course, the incomparable Catherine D’Lish.

Who is Catherine D’Lish?

Two-times winner of the Miss Exotic World pageant (1992 and 1994) she’s also held just about every other top title going in the world of striptease and burlesque. In an impressive career spanning over two decades, Catherine D’Lish has built herself a reputation for glamour, poise, decadence and a style truly reminiscent of classic burlesque of the golden era. Her acts incorporate large-scale props, such as her giant champagne glass, spider’s web and most recently, the ‘Biggest Fans in the World’.

Her costume designs are highly coveted; she is known for designing and crystalling some of Dita’s most opulent outfits but she also auctions off some of her stunning handmade garments on eBay; lush, ostrich-trimmed robes and enormous, deluxe feather boas.

How did she get into burlesque?

Much like Dita, Catherine began her career in the strip clubs. Her choice of music (classic burlesque pieces) set her apart from the other strippers of the day. This was also when she began playing around with costume ideas and making her own pieces. From the strip clubs, she moved on to competitive stripping and this was where she began to make her name for herself with her classic burlesque performances.

What style of burlesque does she perform?
As mentioned, Catherine’s shows are very much in the classic style of burlesque. Her opulent sets, props and costuming are a modern day homage to the ostentatious glamour of the bygone era. Her prop collection is the envy of many, including a giant birdcage and a waterfall set with working fountains and decorated with flowers.
Although not trained in ballet, she has honed her movement over many years of performing and so has a seemingly effortless fluidity and style.

Some interesting facts about Catherine

*She headlined Playboy’s 50th Anniversary tour in 2004.

*Having rather perfect boobs, Catherine is often asked whether she’s had cosmetic surgery. She hasn’t, and describes her assets as completely “homegrown”.

*Catherine was inspired by the beautiful women of Playboy from a young age; she admits to having spent many hours hidden in the garage flicking through her father’s vintage magazines.

*Rather than coming from a dance background, Catherine actually trained as a musician when she was young and she has cited this connection with music as an influence on her onstage style and movement.

That brings us to the end of the second part of our Superstars series. If you missed part 1, our Spotlight on Dita, pop along and check it out.