Saturday, October 17, 2009

Original Star Trek Conventions

I don't know about you, but I was brought up a geek, by a family of Trekkies. My aunt used to go to Star Trek conventions all the way in California, sometimes on a moment's notice. My mom once called all the Shatners in the phonebook (you did know he is from Montréal, right?) to find William Shatner's family and she struck a conversation with his mom (she was a teen, we all do crazy things when we're that age). I learned to speak English by watching Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987)(well yes, because as you may have guessed by now, my mother tongue is french).

Now imagine how exciting it was for this vintage loving Trekkie Costumeholic to find this Newsweek article: Where Trekkies Were Born. It features pictures from early Star Trek conventions (we're talking the 70's) from Jeff Maynard's collection and is narrated by costume designer Angelique Trouvere.

At right, Angelique Trouvere in her Deela costume, 1976

I have never claimed to be The original Costumeholic, nor will I ever: clearly, this proves there were costumeholics years before I was born!

Monica Miller doing a Vulcan Fire Dance for the cast, September 1976

Conventioneers did not yet have the Leia Slave Bikini to go for, which apparently did not stop them from donning skimpy outfits.

Kris Lundy (second from left) as Lieutenant M'Ress from Star Trek - The Animated Series (1973) and Angelique Trouvere (center) as a Lady from Wrigley's Pleasure Planet, February 1975

Seriously, if it wasn't for the intense eye makeup so typical of the era, this picture could have been taken last year! This is fascinating stuff.

Jeff Maynard and Kris Lundy as an Orion Slave Girl, January 1975

I have considered making an Orion Slave Girl costume. The full body makeup is a hassle though, but I still might, eventually.

William Shatner and a Fan on a mock-up Enterprise bridge, Chicago, August 1975

Oh... My... Gods! A tie-dyed orange suit! I feel dizzy. It's OK for a skirt or a top, but for a whole suit?

Sorry, I meant, nice costume, unidentified fan!

Helen Wood as Bridge Officer from an Alternate Universe and Marc Billgray as Spock's Ear, 1975

Well... Dressing up as a single ear is, undenyingly, one original costume!

Nichelle Nichols and a young fan

Aw! This is how parents train the next generation of geeks: they take them to conventions and make them wear costume. (I plead guilty in advance: I will do that to my kid).

Masquerade participants, February 1974

All good conventions have their masquerade, and if you have ever participated in one, you know there is a lot of waiting in line involved.

I really must show this to my Aunt. Here is how seriously she has influenced me to love Star Trek: she brought me a Tribble from one of the conventions she went to (don't worry, I haven't fed it).

I bet she'll be thrilled. Maybe. Well at least she'll think it's neat.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dark Elf / Drow Costume (Pop-Tab Scale Mail)

I am of the ecological generation. We talked about saving the planet when I was in first grade. We had paper recycling in my fourth grade classroom. I yell at people who throw away reusable or recyclable things (and watch out if I catch you throwing garbage out of your car!). I want to recycle everything.

Back in 2005, when I went for the first time to a week long LARP, I noticed that some warriors wore pieces of Mail Armour made of Pop-Tabs! What a marvelous idea! It's easy to obtain, ecological, light, original, and, bonus, it'll will bother the LARP snobs of the place, I thought (we never went back to that LARP, so I never got to see their reactions - oh well). The only problem is, I barely drink any Sodas or juice from cans. The solution was easy: most of my co-workers drank one or two a day, so I brought a jar at work and asked everyone to contribute.

Of course, the following year, I had to show them what I did with all of those Pop-Tabs. I decided to make a bra and skirt and I planned to have them in time for Halloween 2006.

Pop-Tab Bra in the making

After looking on the Internet for pictures of Pop-Tab Scalemail (to figure out how to make it), I decided to go with the aluminium ring technique. I ordered 2 lbs of Etched Aluminum 12ga 7/16'' rings (meaning about 2000) from The Ring Lord, made a quick geometrical pattern and set about assembling rings and pop-tabs in April!

Gwenyver as Serekiel the Drow

The idea was that I would use my pop-tab scale mail as part of a Drow costume. Some Drow matrons would wear just the scale mail and use black make-up on the rest of their bodies, but I'm a little too modest for that AND it was for October 31st! I choose to wear a black top (incidentally, it is the same I wear for Irish Dancing these days), black leggings and my black Prom gloves for the "skin". As for clothes, I made a red pleather bodice using McCall's 4549 (but instead of a zipper in the back, both sides lace up with brass eyelets). The pattern for the matching pleather vambraces and leggings was designed by me. They also both lace up.

The make-up I used is Snazaroo face paint in Black (it is really great makeup to work with - it is easy to put on with a sponge, like a creme foundation). As for the wig, I got it from Wow Wigs (but I like my eBay one better).

I wanted to get a pair of Sai to complete the look, but that was the year of the Dawson Shooting (my Fashion School is nearby and some of my Irish Dance friends were students there, so we were very affected by what happened), so I figured it was not a good idea to show up at work with weapons. I had to settle for a pair of plastic toy Sai. Not as cool, but no one call the cops on you!

My Sweetheart and I, OP Valhalla 2008

Last year, my Sweetheart organized an Airsoft game around the theme of Valhalla. Nancy-Raven and I and another player's girlfriend got to play Valkyries. Whenever players died, we had to go collect the and bring them back to Odin, so their valour would be judged.

Gwenyver as a Valkyrie, OP Valhalla 2008

For a quick Valkyrie costume, I mixed and matched a white t-tunic (which I usually wear as an under tunic - I felt naked) with part of my Drow costume, namely the bodice, the vambraces and the scale mail. I added a black leather circlet, a brown leather disc belt (I have one in almost every colour) from which I hung my Sweetheart's old sword (decorative only) and I wore my red and grey wool and silk blend cape (present from my Sweetheart). The lovely goggles are mandatory to protect your eyes from flying BB pellets - although I never felt one, nor were any of the Valkyries shot; apparently, wearing white in the woods while everyone else wears camouflage makes you easy to avoid shooting.

I remember it was on that day that I realized I was starting to have a little tummy (being four months pregnant). Due to the day-long morning sickness I had throughout the first trimester, I actually lost weight during my pregnancy (by the time I truly needed to buy maternity clothes, I was six months pregnant). So at the time, I was about 10 lbs lighter than when I made my scale mail, yet it took a lot of effort to manage to tie it around my waist.

Nowadays, my aunt is the biggest contributor to my Pop-Tab stock: her friend has a dance school and she gathers them for me from the cans her students drink during break. I have more than I need. I soon will have to make another project to use some of them (maybe a dress?).

For my next Recycled LARP project, I'm thinking of riveting metal discs to a leather Cuirass to make another type of scale mail or a ring armour. And where might I get these discs? From frozen juice cans!

You can sigh. It's OK, really. My Sweetheart does when he sees the freshly washed pile next to the kitchen sink.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Costumes in Fashion: First International Islamic Fashion Contest in Kazan

Being a Costumeholic, I sometimes ask questions that may seem awkward to others. For instance, I have asked a few Hidjab wearing girls at school if they wouldn't mind showing me how to tie one on my head. After all, as I stated when I first began this blog, the definition of costume includes "the prevailing fashion in coiffure, jewelry, and apparel of a period, country or class", and I love everything that has to do with costumes. Usually the girls I've asked have been nice, but didn't really want to be bothered. (I'm guessing they have been nagged more than once and don't trust other's intentions - I'm just curious, really!)

All this to introduce today's post.

Look what my Sweetheart found for me: pictures from the First International Islamic Fashion Contest in Kazan! (He reads everyday from many International News Sources including RIA Novosti, where the following pictures come from).

Teal! I don't know about you, but to me, teal and beige have an exotic connotation; it's the sand of the beach and the water of the ocean. (I also love the headdress.)

Great picture! Who else gets a Lawrence of Arabia vibe?

OK, I know it might be a stretch, but I'm sort of reminded of a Vedek Costume here (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - 1993).

I love this one. It seems straight out of a kids' cartoon or movie. It's just so happy and colourful!

Definetly some Padmé - White Battle Costume inspiration here!

I love the originality of this one: the way the crinoline is cut in half and incorporated in the design is very interesting.

See how this one incorporates some of the current trends: balloon skirt, pastel shades and frills. Plus the hat sort of looks like a 15th century hood from this angle.

Every fashion show ends with a wedding gown, and this one is no exception.

Now will someone please accept telling me how to tie a Hidjab?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday Weekly Wishlist: Charmed "All Halliwell's Eve"

I love the TV show Charmed (1998). I watched every season as they were aired and have watched them at least twice since. Not only did the sisters wear lovely cloths, they often got to wear costumes!

Of the eight seasons, my favorite episode is definitely #304 - All Halliwell's Eve (2000), in which the sisters are sent back in time to an 18th century New World Halloween where they learn about Wicca. I love that episode because it shows Halloween the way I see it and the way I like to celebrate it.

And so for years, I have wanted a costume in the style of what the Halliwell sister wear back in time. (I'm sure this is a surprise to you!)

Clare Carey as Eva, Holly Marie Combs as Piper Halliwell, Alyssa Milano as Phoebe Halliwell and Shannen Doherty as Prue Halliwell, Episode #304 "All Halliwell's Eve" (2000), Charmed (1998)

What it basically is is your general Ren Faire outfit: a bell or puff sleeved shirt with drawstring neckline, a laced bodice, a wide skirt, with an optional apron, and a black cloak.

Clare Carey as Eva, Alyssa Milano as Phoebe Halliwell, Shannen Doherty as Prue Halliwell and Holly Marie Combs as Piper Halliwell, Episode #304 "All Halliwell's Eve" (2000), Charmed (1998)

I pretty much have all I need to assemble the right look. Years ago, I bought a Medieval-Fashion shirt with wide elliptical lower sleeves (from the now closed Québec Medieval-Fashion chain L'Échoppe du Dragon Rouge) that looks very much like Prue's. I have my 18th century pink skirt which could do nicely. Lastly, I have a collection of bodices in a variety of colours that I can choose from: black, red, green and natural linen (I also have navy blue jacquard fabric to make one, should I choose to do so). Oh, lets not forget my black fleece cloak - the fabric is not period at all, but it is so comfy!

Alyssa Milano as Phoebe Halliwell, Episode #304 "All Halliwell's Eve" (2000), Charmed (1998)

The one thing I've been missing all of these years (and wanted to make for just as long) is an autumn leaf mask like the one Phoebe wears. But now...

Autumn Leaves Mask by Gwenyver

I've finally gone and made it! I have had the material for about a year, but I recently gave myself a big kick in the butt and actually made it. All it is is a satin covered mask from a craft store and some fabric leaves from the Dollar Store. I'm pretty proud of myself!

And so for once, I'm presenting a costume from my wishlist which I actually have! Maybe I'll wear that on Halloween, to distribute candy (instead of my Dark Maiden Gown).

I know, I just can't make-up my mind.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Museum Exhibition: John William Waterhouse - Garden of Enchantment

Remember when I talked about Medieval-Fantasy sources for inspiration, I mentioned Pre-Raphaelite paintings? I love that style in late 19th century art, it is so dreamy and it was part of the Victorian Medieval Revival (of course, they had no archaeological information on which they based their vision of the Middle-Ages, but it led to beautiful Fantasy images).

The Lady of Shalott, John William Waterhouse, 1888, Oil on canvas, 153 cm × 200 cm, Tate Gallery, London.

My number one favorite painting is without a doubt The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse. I bought a laminated poster version when I was a teen and it used to hang above my bed (when I lived with my parents - nowadays, it's in the living room). I used to stare at it for hours, studying every detail. I even began making the trim for the armbands in cross stitch a few years ago, with the intention of one day making the dress.

My Teenage Dream Bedroom (complete with hand painted stone arch and gargoyles)

Anyways, John William Waterhouse has got to be one of the most famous Pre-Raphaelite. Everyone knows his work. I've long dreamed of visiting the Tate Gallery in London to see The Lady of Shalott, but it turns out, she came to me instead!

It is not a dream, it is true! The Musée des Beaux Arts de Montréal is having an exhibition about my favorite painter from October 2nd 2009 to February 7th 2010, called John William Waterhouse - Garden of Enchantment. I saw the add for it on Tele the other night and I gasped (scaring my Sweetheart in the process).

Circe Invidiosa: Circe Poisoning the Sea, John William Waterhouse, 1892, Oil on canvas, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide.

(Hmm... Circé: now there's an idea for Nancy-Raven's Halloween Party.. Watery colours, fits with The Odyssey family costume theme and I think I already have something I can use, so no money to spend - sadly an important consideration these days... I like it! Oh, sorry. Mussing out loud. Back to topic!)

Tristan and Isolde, John William Waterhouse, 1916, Oil on canvas,109.22 × 81.28 cm, Private collection, New York.

I wanna go! I wanna go! I wanna go!!! Who's with me? If it's a whole group of us, we could even dress up? Wouldn't it be nice, freaking those nice museum people out? Let's set a date!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Movie Monday: Nanny McPhee

Kids movies are so fun and so colourful! I love fantasy movies where the art direction made everything look like a drawing from a child's book. Nanny McPhee (2005) was on tele this week-end and I had never seen it, so I watched it with my Sweetheart and Daughter (I'm trying to show her from a young age to like costumes - we watched The Duchess (2008) when she was three months old and I was telling her the names of the clothes we saw - Robe à la Française, Watteau Pleat, etc.).

Thankfully, my Nanny was not like that. And hopefully, this movie will not give my Daughter any ideas (other than colourful old styled dresses)!

Now, about my favorite costumes:

Thomas Sangster as Simon Brown and Eliza Bennett as Tora Brown, Nanny McPhee (2005)

I love the red and blue dress; it simply is a mix of colours I love. Depending on the light, it sometimes looks purple, and I love this sort of trompe l'oeil effect achieved with colour and fabric texture.

Holly Gibbs as Christianna Brown, Samuel Honywood as Sebastian Brown, Raphaël Coleman as Eric Brown, Jennifer Rae Daykin as Lily Brown, Eliza Bennett as Tora Brown, Hebe Barnes/Zinnia Barnes as Baby Agatha Brown, Thomas Sangster as Simon Brown and Emma Thompson as Nanny McPhee, Nanny McPhee (2005)

The wedding scene between Mr. Brown and Mrs. Quickly has to be my favorite, colour wise: the mixture of toxic green and hot pink is just perfect to show how much bad taste the new stepmother-to-be has, especially paired with those yellow hair. And the poor kids, all dressed up like dolls! It's OK for the girls, but how one pities the boys! (And the lambs, who have been dyed green and pink.)

Emma Thompson and Celia Imrie as Mrs. Quickly, Nanny McPhee (2005)

And yet, the colour mix is growing on me. I feel inspired. How about an 18th Century Dress? Or a Bustle Gown? Wait, I know, an Irish Dance Dress, with satin and sequins. Oh, the possibilities are endless!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mermaid Make-Up

I'm still debating what I should go as to Nancy-Raven's Party. As I was looking at some Ask Me Makeup videos, I found this one that shows how to achieve a Mermaid look (I saw turquoise, I had to click):

Mermaids are mythical creatures, so it would fit with the theme! Although, considering I don't exactly have what one might call a Bikini Body, so I'm not sure what my costume would look like. Maybe a Mermaid Style Dress? Get it?! What, too obvious? OK, I'll leave stand-up jokes for the experts.

Then again, I could use this tutorial in different gray hues for my Selkie costume... Now there's an idea!

Ah! So many costumes, so little time... (And money, and occasions to wear them all.)