Saturday, November 14, 2009

Louxor, j'adore

Great! I have a crazy week of sewing before me, and we have all come down with the flu (that is, my Sweetheart, my Baby Daughter and I). This will be a very short post.

This is one of my Sweetheart's favorite song (if it isn't, he plays it quite often for someone who doesn't like it). It is Louxor, j'adore by French singer
Philippe Katerine.

What does this have to do with costumes? Have you seen what Katerine and his dancers wear? My Sweetheart has made jokes about me making one of the dancer's costume (a lilac lycra top and a pair of light green undies, with a short white-blond wig).

And that's my effort for today. I'm going to go rest now... Nah, sick or not, I have to work on my Irish Dance Dress.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Victorian Dandyism is back in style!

First there were costumers, dressing up in Victorian Garb. Then there was Steampunk. Movies joined the party with such flicks as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), The Prestige (2006) and There will be Blood (2007). And now we are here: Victorian fashion is back in style for men! That is, according the the New York Times article, This Just in From the 1890's by David Colman (thanks again to J. for pointing it out out to me).

Note: The following pictures are all from the aforementioned article. They are Tintype photographs by David Sokosh for The New York Times and were photographed on Governors Island, New York. They are used here for illustration purposes. They can all be found

Victorian Sport

Brothers in Arms

Hunting Day in 1890

Family Affair

Oxford Elite

Country Outing

Yes, men, I do sometimes think of you too!

By the way all the clothes in these pictures are designer pieces, some retailing for over 2000$! But you get a good idea of the look, and if a costumer knows one thing, it's to achieve the right look by making clothing pieces him/herself.

By the way, don't you just love the Tintype photography and the vintage effect it helps give the outfits?

Thursday, November 12, 2009


This is really neat: I found out about it through a friend on Facebook.

Have you ever wanted to make a hat for a costume but didn't know how to make it? Here is a tutorial from ThreadBanger and Victor Osbourne:

Awesome, right? I would have never thought to use insulating foam as a base for a mould. And I've visited Hats by Leko and I'm in love. I now know were I'll order all the hat bases for the numerous projects I've been wanting to make, including Tricornes and of course, a Beauxbâtons School uniform flower hat!

Clémence Poésy as Fleur Delacour, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

To make that hat though, I intend to by the Flower Hat Shaper (from Hat Shapers).

Well, I'd love to stay and chat about headwear, but I have an Irish Dance dress to make (and a teething baby who won't let me work on it all that often).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday Weekly Wishlist: Private Helga Geerhart

British Humour, for a North American or French person, can be a little strange. But I love it. One of my Sweetheart and mine's favorite TV show is an old British sitcom called 'Allo, 'Allo!. It ran on BBC1 from 1982 to 1992, so of course, I was too young at the time, but my aunt and uncle introduced us to it some years ago and we couldn't get enough of it. It's stupid, but funny.

The story is set in a small French town during the German Occupation. On the one side, you have the Germans, mainly Colonel Kurt Von Strohm, Lieutenant Hubert Gruber, Captain Hans Geering, Major-General Erich Von Klinkerhoffen and Private Helga Geerhart, and on the other, the resistance lead by Michelle "of the Resistance" Dubois. Stuck in the middle, trying to mind and run his own business is Café owner René Artois, his waitresses, Yvette, Maria and later Mimi (all of whom are madly in love with him), his wife Edith, his mother-in-law Fanny and the Forger/Pianist Monsieur LeClerc. Oh, and the two British airmen hidden in his cellar.

Kim Hartman as Private Helga Geerhart, Sue Hodge as Mimi Labonq, Gorden Kaye as René Artois and Vicki Michelle as Yvette Carte-Blanche, 'Allo, 'Allo! (1982)

I love the character of Helga. She is devious, will associate with the strongest man around, doesn't mind getting her clothes off to get what she wants, and has iconic phrases such as "BRRIINNG-THEM-IN-HHHERE!". Plus she has that Marlene Dietrich look. So I would like to make a Helga costume, but there is an important "But": to anyone not familiar with the series, I would be wearing a German WWII "female of the opposite sex" uniform, and that might be misinterpreted as me being a Nazi. Which I'm not.

I guess as long as I don't wear silk knickers "with little swastikas around the edge", I should be OK, though, right?

I'm very interested on your opinion on the matter; not the knickers, but wearing a costume that might offend people. Are you for or against?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Military Uniforms: Evolution from Napoleon to WWII

Tomorrow is Remembrance Day. Although I am against Wars and don't particularly encourage the Military, I can't really ignore the date. Sooo...

No one in my family ever served during the two World Wars. My Grand Dad, a Frenchman, was recruited as a translator after the Second World War, but only because he lived in the mess that was Europe after fighting was over (and because he was too young to be drafted before that).

But my Sweetheart did take the Officer's Course (if that is the right term) when he was in his twenties, my friend Sciath was in the Navy and I have another friend, J., who still is in the Navy. So for them, I salute this days the only way I, your favorite Costumeholic, can.

By talking clothes. Military Uniforms to be exact.

Costume Militaire, Le Petit Larousse Illustré, 1990

Well, there's not all that much I can say: this is not one of my areas of expertise.

What I do know, and thank you Sweetheart for feeding me the info here, is that there was a very important change in uniforms with the First World War. As you may remember from High School History, the Great War was the first to be fought in trenches (instead of on a field).

A century earlier, at the time of the Napoleonic Wars, uniforms were splendid and colourful; the point was to be recognizable on the battlefield. Battles were bloody, but they were disciplined affairs. It was all about courageously running out on the battlefield. During the 19th century, military uniforms were highly decorated, moreover in peace time.

But with the new (deadly) technologies available to armies in the early 1900's, being easy to spot, was no longer desired. Besides, colourful, decorated uniforms for all was way too expensive during this war time. Slowly, throughout the 20th century, Military Battle uniforms (different from Dress uniforms) changed, to blend itself more and more with the environment over time. Cubism, a popular new Art style of the early 20th Century was the inspiration for Camouflage, a print we all know of today and used by the Military all around the world.

That's pretty much all I know. If you would like to see more reference pictures, I suggest you visit the New York Public Library Digital Gallery - Military Uniform. With about 31,770 search results, you should find what you need.

Of course NYPL Digital Gallery is also a great source of pictorial information, whatever you are looking for.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Movie Monday: Gone With The Wind

Next Saturday, November 14, at 11:00, there will be a special HD presentation of one of the greatest movies of all time (meaning about the last 115 years really, since cinematography was officially invented in 1895): I'm talking about Gone with the Wind (1939).

Scarlett O'Hara's costumes are classics! They have been copied for TV shows and made it into Barbie's wardrobe.

Of course, I have my favorites. First of is the Green Drapery Dress.

Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara, Gone with the Wind (1939)

Here is a better view:

The Green Drapery Dress, Gone with the Wind (1939)

Because I love it so much, and for when I decide to make it, I have in my collection of patterns the following Butterick:

Butterick 4051

I know, I know Mom. Again with the green velvet. To this I respond with the BBQ dress:

Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara, Gone with the Wind (1939)

It's pretty, light and floral. And I already have the hat.

And the pattern:

McCall's 3597

So now all I'm missing is the fabric, the money and the time, and I'm good to go. Oh wait, those are important details. Darn.

If you would like more information about the Gone with the Wind costumes (and more pictures), visit The Costumer's Guide to Movie Costumes - Gone with the Wind or Scarlett Online.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Happy Birthday "Sesame Street"!

By now you must have heard that Sesame Street is turning 40. Think about it: over 40 years, it has touch many, many generations of kids. I got to watch it when I was a toddler, and now, I'm watching it again with my daughter. This post is therefore dedicated to one of the best and longest running kid's educational show. And who better to illustrate today's theme than my friend Mageknightterra and her Elmo mascot suit:

Mageknightterra as Elmo, Urgence-Santé's Kids Christmas Party, 2008
(Photo property of L'Alliance Impériale)

Elmo loves Santa so much, he couldn't resist sitting on his throne.

Dancing Elmo (Mageknightterra), Urgence-Santé's Kids Christmas Party, 2008
(Photo property of L'Alliance Impériale)

Mageknightterra is known to the other Alliance Impériale members as "Dancing Queen"; an Elmo costume is not going to stop her moves!

As a kid, my favorite Sesame Street street character was Big Bird, but nowadays, it's Abby Cadabby: she's pink, wears turquoise and blue , and she casts spells. What's not to like!

Abby Cadabby

Guess which Sesame Street costume/mascot I'd like to make one day?