Occupation: Artist by day, burlesque performer by night

Age: 21

Personal style: Black magic

James Sherwood: Darling, with a real name like Byzantia Harlow, it begs the question why you need a stage name. And while we're on the subject, I see nothing bizarre about your look. Sinister, exotic definitely. But bizarre?

Byzantia Harlow: What I mean by bizarre is that I'm not the Dita Von Teese school of stripper burlesque. I'm more in the tradition of burlesque as a comedy performance.

JS: You're also studying art at St Martins and have been known to turn the odd tarot card. What an intriguing creature of the night you are. Tell me about your cocktail dress. I'm sure it can tell a tale or two.

BH: It's 1950s; I bought it at the closing-down sale for Steinberg & Tolkien. It's a silk chiffon that stops at the knee: a simple little black dress that I like to dress up with fetish accessories such as the platform-stilettos I bought at Showgirls on Holloway Road and the leather gloves I picked up in Rome.

JS: I'm in awe of the seamed stockings.

BH: I get them from a website called What Katie Did. They are the real Cuban-heel seams. I've done a little modelling for the website, which is useful, because I do get through them.

JS: Your necklace terrifies. It's like someone you don't want to meet in Haiti on a dark night. Pure voodoo. Am I right?

BH: My father Paolo Guidi is an artist-jeweller and he made this piece for one of my collections at the London College of Fashion, where I was previously studying. The skulls we bought from a witch doctor in Camden, who had carved them from bone. It's a talismanic piece; I used to wear it a lot when I was tarot reading.

JS: You're scaring me. I have never met quite such a dazzling Renaissance woman, nor one who dresses with such deadly glamour.

How to get the dark-lady look

Vintage pillbox hat 15, from Beyond Retro, 020 7613 3636, www. beyondretro.com

Seamed stockings 15, by Agent Provocateur, 0870 600 0229, www. agentprovocateur.com

Long gloves 35, by Cornelia James, from Fenwick, 020 7629 9161, www. fenwick.co.uk

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