Designer Profile: Ella Fontaine
Date Posted:6 March 2018
Designer Profile: Ella Fontaine
With a career in Commercial and Creative Visual Merchandising (for brands including: Peter Alexander, ESPRIT, Furla and CHANEL) as well as 15 years experience on the stage (The Sugar Shakers, Burlesque and MC-ing), Ella has comprehensive experience in performance, design and retail.
Ella is the front-woman for Australian band The Sugar Shakers with strong vocals across a range of genres: blues, rockabilly, rocknroll, swing and soul. The band is in its' 8th year, and will soon be releasing a 4th and 5th album of covers and original music.
The band's first 3 albums include: The Sugar Shakers (self-titled), Red Rocket Baby, and Chin-Up Pin-Up! ( Chin-Up Pin-Up! - official track for the Miss Pin Up Australia Competition 2011, and Hoochie Coochie - official track for Miss Burlesque Australia 2012). All albums are available on iTunes, and www.sugarshakersband.com.au
Ella's first foray into Burlesque, was with The RagTag Revue in 2007, as part of the "double-or-nothing" duo: The Gamble Sisters. With a focus on comedy, singing and classic themed Burlesque, Ella and her identical twin Rita went on to perform regularly with Brisbane's "first generation" of Neo-revival burlesquers; who helped to cultivate and inspire the scene in Brisbane. Within a year, they were performing interstate, fronting their very own live band, and soon secured their places on a tour of Australia with The Burlesque Ball.
Soon after, Rita Fontaine left the duo for Sydney and Ella's focus was on The Sugar Shakers and her career in Retail. But, the glittery sequins, lush feathers, and "anything-can-happen" nature of burlesque was too tempting to miss, and Ella stepped back onto the stage in her new role as MC...or infact, she was pushed! ...........While assisting MC Rita Fontaine at the 2012 MBA Grand Final, her twin decided that Ella needed to try MCing herself, and they did "the old switcharoo"!
Ella has sinced clocked up a considerable amount of time as a burlesque MC, hosting numerous events for:
- The Australian Burlesque Festival 2018
- The Bombshell Burlesque Academy
- Bebe Le Buff's School of Performance
- Big Bang Burlesque
- Sunday Night Burlesque (at The Press Club)
- Miss Burlesque QLD 2015-2017
Across her career, Ella has designed a sensational portfolio of costumes, including those worn by herself and other performers. Combining her retail experience, and skill in creating stage-worthy outfits, she felt it was a natural progression to join Rita in launching Crystal Queen, an e-commerce site that sells all things sparkly and fabulous.
It has been an eventful and exciting journey for Ella, with many highlights including:
- Festival Tour - MC for The Australian Burlesque Festival 2018
- Sell-out shows across 3 consecutive years at The Powerhouse Wonderland Festival with Bombshell Burlesque Events
- 3 years opening and hosting Miss Burlesque Queenland
- supporting international rockabilly star Imelda May and swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
- Working for the "Ultimate House of Luxury"
- And, starting a business with her equally ambitious sister: Rita Fontaine.
2019 - WATCH OUT! This year's goals include:
- expanding Crystal Queen into the fitness competition arena - done
- Developing a range of high end fashion pieces
- Continuing to develop great partnerships with peers, designers and fitness competitors
- Develop opportunities for performing interstate
- Releasing 2 new E.P's with The Sugar Shakers
- learning guitar - working on it
Follow Ella on Instagramm @ella_fontaine_sugarshakersband
Photos 2018 by Thom Kerr Photography