Photo of Shira



PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Meet Dina Lydia,
the Belly Dance Costume Goddess

Part 1: Regular Costumes


This is Part 1 of a two-part photo gallery featuring Dina Lydia, the Costume Goddess. Dina has contributed over 50 articles to this web site. Here in Part 1, she shows some of her regular belly dance costumes. Part 2 showcases some of the novelty costumes she has created for herself and others.

Dina has been sewing for more than twenty-five years (yes, she started as a toddler!)

She's also an artist (Maryland Institute of Art) and perfected her sewing techniques apprenticed to various designers, freelancing for small theaters, restyling vintage garments, and altering wedding gowns.

Dina fell in love with belly dancing costumes upon her very first lesson. Now the pleasure of wearing her own designs, and seeing others wear them, offers as much pleasure as dancing. She's become expert as well in altering those troublesome ready-made Egyptian costumes, and modifying designs to flatter individual figures.

She holds workshops in Seattle to teach design and construction of cabaret costumes, and analysis of figure characteristics. She will also give private lessons, or resize or repair a secondhand costume. She's thus earned her Costume Goddess title.

Photo of Dina Lydia, The Costume Goddess

This photo gallery shows some of Dina's costume creations.



Using Sleeves for a Varied Look

These five photos show how Dina gives the same bra / belt set costume differing looks by using various types of sleeves.

Dina Wearing Lace Gauntlets

Dina put this look together to go with her Spanish - style fusion piece to the song "Amayaguena".

She is wearing lace sleeves attached to the bra.

Click on either photo to see it in more detail.

Dina Wearing Lace Gauntlets
Dina Wearing Ruffled Red Sleeves

When Dina wears the large ruffled sleeves shown in the photo to the left, her arm movements tend to be flamboyant rather than snakey or subtle — the costume influences her dancing style.

In the photo on the right, Dina is wearing triangle-shaped chiffon shoulder drapes. Click on this photo to see it in more detail.

Dina Wearing Chiffon Drapes
In this photo, Dina is modeling velvet gauntlets that match her pantaloons with a chiffon scarf attached.
Dina Wearing Red Gauntlets



Turquoise & Silver Costume

This is turquoise and silver with a "feathery" style skirt of silk chiffon and flesh-colored mesh sleeves with sequinned appliques which match the sequinned lace pants. The bra is studded all over with turquoise, blue, amethyst and diamond jewels.

Dina Wearing Turquoise and Silver

In the photo to the right, Dina is joined by her friend Katia who is wearing a purple and green costume that the two of them designed and made together.

Click on either photo to see the costumes in more detail.

Dina Lydia with Katia



Baladi Dress

This is a baladi dress which Dina admits she pretty much shamelessly copied from Hadia's instructional video Number Five, The "Raks Baladi" section.

Dina's is sheer turquoise on black stripes, with sequinned trim, paillettes on front and black fringe on bottom. She is wearing it with sheer black pants, a beaded copper hip scarf (hard to see) and copper shoes and copper metallic head scarf. It's open down the sides and she's wearing a black bra — a plain one, because a decorated bra might snag the fragile dress fabric.

Click on the photo to see the costume in more detail.

Dina Wearing Baladi Dress



"Gypsy" Fantasy

Dina Wearing Gypsy Fantasy Costume

This is Dina's idea of a Gypsy-style costume with a sheer black peasant blouse with coin-festooned bra worn on top, and sequinned ghawazee-style vest over that. Several scarves and coined belts, multi-color cotton gauze skirt, lots of jewelry and face-framing gauze scarf drape.

Dina uses this for Turkish, Gypsy and international music - it may not be authentic, but it sets the mood!!

Dina Wearing Colored Vest



Dina's White Costume

In this photo, Dina appears with her pals Yemaya (on left) and Mahira (on right).

Dina is wearing a costume with silver and gold tassels on white velvet with white jewels and silk chiffon "Feathery" style skirt and arm bands. It is accessorized with a metallic white choker with tiny coins.

Dina Wearing White Costume



The Spotted Veil

This is simply a beautiful silver and black veil draped over Dina, but to her it communicates the magic of belly dance.
Dina Wearing a Spotted Veil



Bolero Jacket

This is a bolero-style ethnic jacket decorated with red cord in two thicknesses which Dina twisted into a pleasing design, then sewed in place by hand. She added beaded tassels front and back, gold coins all around the edge, and a faux undersleeve extension in red silk.

She wears this over a calf-length sheath with red and gold metallic motifs and slit sides, red and black harem pants and beaded shoes. A little pillbox hat might complete the "all-dressed-up-in-the-harem" look.

Dina Wearing Bolero Jacket



Multi-Colored Costume

Dina Wearing Multi-Colored Costume
This costume is made from multi-color jewels, beads, paillettes, sequins, and silk chiffon scarves over black velvet, lace and rayon.
Dina Wearing Multi-Colored Costume

The photo to the right shows Dina wearing this bra / belt set with lace sleeves for a varied look.

Click on the image to see the costume in more detail.

Dina Wearing Multi-Color Costume



Black Velour

Dina Wearing Black Velour Costume

This costume is made from black velour decorated with silver coins, chains, tassels, bells and rhinestones.

The pants are silver and black lace and a black chiffon skirt goes over that. Black net sleeves are sprinkled with tiny rhinestones. A silver sequined headband is hung with silver jewelry. Dina was going for maximum contrast here — black against skin, and silver against black.

Dina Lydia Wearing Black Velour Costume



Ghawazee-Cut Dress

The neckline of this dress is inspired by the cut of the coats worn by women in the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century. The neckline is cut in a keyhole shape to expose a costume bra underneath. The word "Ghawazee" is used to describe it because European visitors to Egypt during the 19th century saw public women known as the Ghawazee wearing the clothing cut with this style of neckline. Dina Wearing Ghawazee-Style Dress



This concludes Part 1 of 2 of the photo gallery for Dina Lydia, the Costume Goddess. Click here to view Part 2.


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