How to Rent, Shop, and Accessorize for Women in Film’s Moulin Madness fundraising party

MM flyer_croppedIt’s been well over a decade since Baz Luhrmann released his pastiche-jukebox musical, Moulin Rouge, but sexy burlesque never goes out of style. This year, Women in Film & Television Vancouver is bringing back Parisian fun for its annual Martini Madness (now Moulin Madness) fundraiser, which kicks off the VIFF Industry Conference.  Keep in mind that you don’t have to go full-out “can-can” when deciding on your look of the night! Here are 10 great tips to help you achieve that sexy Nicole Kidman-inspired Moulin Rouge look – and maybe win the Best Dressed Award judged by Chloë Angus Design! 


  1. You Can-Can Rent a Costume

Check out great local costume rentals like Party Bazaar, More Madness Costumes, Watts. Don’t get discouraged by Watts’ website, you have to go in store to get the full experience. Bonus tip: there’s a Saloon Sweetie costume available at Party Bazaar that will do the trick if you really don’t want to spend time planning your costume!

  1. Don’t Forget About Tink

In one short, but memorable, scene in Moulin Rouge, Kylie Minogue appears as the green fairy. Stand out at the event by going with a spritely emerald fairy costume.


  1. Couture Corsets

Lace Embrace Atelier is your go-to corsetiere in the city. Melanie Talkington creates the most gorgeous Victorian and Edwardian waist-shaping corsets. Getting a custom corset done will certainly be a splurge, but if you get one in black you can easily use it again in the future. Pair a black corset with a full red skirt to get fully into the Moulin Rouge style.

  1. Search High & Low

Go through your closet to see if you already have any high-low skirts from past summers; they’re a great substitute for the full-on crinoline circle skirt. If you don’t have one, then scour the massive Forever 21 on Robson Street. You just might find what you’re looking for.

  1. Cropped Top

Thank goodness this past summer fashion brought the cropped top back in style – opt for a cropped top if you don’t want to splurge on a corset. Find one that’s slightly fancier with lace or lacing in the bodice. Shop for one at affordable stores like Garage and Urban Planet.

  1. All Red Everything

Although you can go for a variety colours, red is the colour most associated with classic can-can dancers. If all else fails, go for a red dress with a flouncy skirt, throw on some red lipstick (I recommend Russian Red by MAC, it was made famous by Madonna in the 90’s), and stick a red flower in your hair. You can’t go wrong in a show-stopping red.


  1. Bedazzle the Crowd

Did you, your friends, or kids still have a Bedazzler gun lying around? If so, lucky you! You can easily jazz up a corset, cropped top, or if you dare, a bra with this little devil. Not everyone still has this baby around; a realistic substitute is to hit up the Yokoyaya or another just as good dollar store to get stick-on cell phone case studs. True story: I did this for my first burlesque performance and people loved it!

  1. Head-Turning Headpieces

Feeling crafty? Head down to Dressew on Hastings to find everything you’ll need for a head-turning headpiece: thick elastic band, glue gun, ostrich feathers. Simply attach the feathers to the back of the elastic headband and voila!


  1. Fascinate Your Date

Have you got a fascinator lying around from a fancy event like the Deighton Cup? That could very well be your statement piece. You can opt to go with a simpler outfit in this case.

10.  Finishing Touches

If you decide to go really simple to the Martini Madness fundraiser, dress up in your favourite LBD (little black dress) then glam it up with long gloves, boas, sparkly jewelry, top hats, body shimmer and even necklaces as hairpieces. Oh, and don’t forget, diamonds are a girl’s best friend!

Whether you decide to rent, buy, or even make your costume, remember that the spirit of Moulin Rouge is all about being sexy and having fun.

By Miranda Sam

Miranda Sam is the Editor of, the source for Vancouver retail news and fashion events. In her spare moments, she enjoys working on handstands in yoga class and doing 10K runs down to English Bay. Shop talk with her at @stylebyfire.

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