Saturday, January 9, 2010

The International Costumer's Guild

By now I have mentioned the name a few times, so I though I should tell you what it is: The International Costumer's Guild is probably the largest network of costumers. Created in 1985, its purpose is "to bring hobbyist and professional costumers from around the world together, and to foster, through its chapters, local educational and social costume events".

International Costumer's Guild's Logo and Mascot - Glitziana

Many chapters can be found in the US, and one was founded for Canadians a few years back by Kaijugal a.k.a. Dawn McKechnie: Fibre Fantasy Artists of Canada (the group is based in Toronto, but opened to all Canadians). Although the ICG itself does not organize conventions or events, members will often participate, and often work at them. Chapters also organize their own events.

The ICG also has a very large collection of photos and videos of costumers, The International Costumers Gallery. It contains over 14 000 items!

"At its core is the Pat & Peggy Kennedy Memorial Library – a storehouse of photographs, video and paper ephemera spanning 70+ years of Science Fiction costuming. Also included are accumulated images from Wearable Arts and performance arts events, Living History and other showcases for creativity."

And of course, there are the mailing lists, discussion groups and forums which are opened to all.

Whether you are looking for other costumers in your area, events you should go to or pictures of costumes past, this is a great resource for anyone interested in serious costuming.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Gothic Phoenix Feather Fascinator (or "The Dead Rooster")

A sari was not the only gift I gave Nancy-Raven for Christmas/Yule this year. As I originally planned on cutting up my own sari to make a Victorian Bustle Gown and thinking she might want to do the same, I made her a Travel Bustle identical to my own. Even if she doesn't use the sari for that purpose, I know she loves Victorian styles, so it will be useful eventually.

There was also a third gift. As she has often told me that she thought my Funky Feather Fascinator (also known at "The Dead Parrot") was cool, I made her one too. This time, I made it in colours I know she is likely to wear: black and red with a touch of gold. Introducing the Gothic Phoenix Feather Fascinator (or as my Sweetheart calls it, "The Dead Rooster" - thanks love!).

Gothic Phoenix Feather Fascinator

A better view of the fingertip veil

Flat view of the entire Fascinator

Feathered Cap in details

Sorry Nancy-Raven, I couldn't resist trying it on!

Now if you look closely on the pictures, you might notice that the glue had not yet dried. That's because I woke-up Wednesday morning and I realized that I had not finished making her gifts and she was coming over that night, so both the Feather Fascinator and Travel Bustle were made that day (I had cut her Travel Bustle at the same time as mine, but it wasn't assembled).

Her reaction was priceless. She was genuinely happy. And let me tell you, I have known her for 14 years and I have rarely seen her giddy with excitement the way she was when she saw it (she is generally not the most expressive person - but that's okay, I love you all the same sweetie - plus, she is working on it). She told me that the day before, while shopping with her mother, she had seen some Fascinators and told her mom that mine were way prettier. I'm flattered!

So now, we have to go on some outing together, wearing our respective Fascinators. I wonder what people's reactions will be like? It ought to be funny!

Edit: If you're interested, Nancy-Raven posted a picture of my three Christmas Gifts on her Blog.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sari or Saree?

Nancy-Raven came by last night to bring us some homemade cakes (she is a baker after all), so I got to give her her present, which means I can now tell you what it was. Remember on December 22nd, I mentioned the arrival of a mysterious package? When the postman rang my door to hand me a linen wrapped package that was hand-sewn shut and had wax seals all around, he said "Wow, your mail comes from far!". Can you guess what it was? (Well, the title of this post kind of gives it away.)

It's a Sari (or Saree, both are good). Six metres of gorgeous silk taffeta with a metallic jacquard section and an embroidered section. I got it from my favourite store:
eBay. Specifically, I bought it from an eBay store called Sushila's Art. What can I say, it's easier to shop from home when you have a baby. Besides, this is not something I could have found at the mall.

This is, in details, the Sari I gave
Nancy-Raven for Christmas/Yule.

Knowing how much my mom loves silk, I got her one too.

A few years back, I bought myself a set of traditional Hindu jewelry in gold and pink (I also got it on eBay, but I don't remember from which seller). It includes a very large necklace, some earrings, and a hair piece. By the way, I know the pink looks more red on the picture. I was quite surprised when I received it, but no matter. I look good in pink.

So for many years, I have had this jewelry that I had nothing to wear with. And since combining items reduces shipping fees, I bought myself a Christmas/Yule present too.

My original idea was to buy these sarees, which cost less by metre than some quilting cotton, to make something else, not unlike Trystan's Pink Sari Ballgown or her Peacock Bustle Gown. But as Nancy-Raven pointed out to me, "Who would dare cut up such a beautiful piece?!". So I don't know, maybe I'll go walking around in a sari made bustle gown, or maybe I'll just wear it as is. Time will tell.

Note: The pictures shown here were taken by the sellers, but they feature items I have paid for.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wednesday Weekly Wishlist: Bajoran Vedek

While I'm watching Lost (2004), my Sweetheart is re-watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993). Now I'm sure I mentioned this before, but I'm a Trekkie. I learn to speak English watching Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987), and I remember that we were always allowed to go to bed later on nights when Star Trek was playing.

In Deep Space Nine, I really liked the presence of the
Bajorans, as they are my favourite Star Trek Aliens. I liked the earring they all wear and got myself a few in that style when they were in fashion and the general philosophy.

Of course, I also have a favourite costume: the Vedeks.

Vedek Winn's costume, owned by Thot Pran a.k.a. Jim, Niner's Paradise

The Vedek's costume can vary, which will give me great freedom for creating my own. Generally, for female Vedeks, such as Vedek Winn, the attire includes a robe, some sort of draped "sash" (sometimes similar to a roman toga) and a hat shaped like the Sydney Opera House.

Sydney Opera House

Now you can't make a Vedek's costume without using silk (how sad), so it will be a little pricey to make. For the robe itself, Dupioni or Shantung silk is the way to go. This I can find a local fabric store. For the draped "sash" and hat, I want to use silk brocade with a paisley motif. Once upon a time, I had found a really cool one in orange with lime green details, but I can no longer find it. So I started looking around and I found another nice one on eBay (I have not bought it yet); but this time, it's purple (why niot, I could go with a purple and brown colour theme).

Oriental Silk Brocade - Purple & Black Paisley, Anya's Collection

It is about 13.50$ per metre, plus shipping. This leads me to conclude that when I am ready to make that costume, I will order my Brocade fabric first, and then I'll mach it to Shantung I can find locally.

Ah! I love silk!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Compulsory Costumes


Back in August 2008, a discussion went on on the
International Costumers' Guild's Yahoo group to list the costumes that all costumers should make at least once in their life. I've gone through the archives and this is the list (in no particular order) that was suggested.

  • Ren Faire Garb
  • Barbarian / Warrior (with or without martial arts display)
  • Pirate
  • King/Queen
  • Armour
  • Anime
  • Diva
  • Wizard/Sorceress

Snow Queen by Yerina

  • Snow / Ice Queen
  • Alien
  • Elizabethan (16th century)
  • Georgian (18th century)
  • Regency (early 19th century)
  • Victorian (second half of 19th century)

Black & White Steampunk, Dragonfly Designs by Alisa

  • Steampunk
  • Goth
  • Peacock themed
  • Night/Day
  • Four Seasons
  • Gods
  • Something with an over sized headdress
  • Something with high heels, stilts or extra limbs
  • Something with wings
  • Something with lights / Something that glows and rotates! (Robot?)
  • Something that no one "gets" but you
  • Some version / variety of Ninja
  • Reptile/Insect/Arachnid
  • Furry or other non-human body type

Horta, "The Devil in the Dark" Star Trek (1966)

  • Some form of rock: say rutilated quartz, or such as Grignak (Galaxy Quest - 1999), an Easter Island Statue, a Horta, Rockbiter (Neverending Story), etc.
  • Creature not even remotely human-shaped (may require more than one person in the costume and/or remote puppeteer); a Horta would count here too
  • And of course, something Dead: Zombie, Evil Spirit, Vampire, etc...

Of course some of the compulsory elements can be combined. Some suggestions included a Vampire Pirate Wench with Wings (which probably also qualifies as Goth), or a Polar Bear (furry) Snow Queen with lights. Take your pick!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Movie Monday: Alice in Wonderland

January is a bit slow when it comes to new movies. After all, the Holidays are over, everyone has gone back to work or school, and people need to stop spending for awhile to get over the shopping frenzy that has been going on this past month. So I decided to mention an up-coming movie that has been on everyone's must watch list for quite some time: Alice in Wonderland (2010).

This is a Tim Burton movie, so of course, the general look is half fantastical, half anguishing. It's like watching someone's dream. A very strange dream.

The job of rendering the look of the film in costumes went to Colleen Atwood, the Costume Designer responsible for dressing the characters of such movies as Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), Planet of the Apes (2001), Sleepy Hollow (1999) and Little Women (1994) to name only a few.

Here are some of the main character's costumes.

Mia Wasikowska as Alice Kingsley, Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Alice's dress is always pale blue. This has been true since Disney first made its animated version of Alice in Wonderland in 1951. The fun touch on this dress is the embroidery on the hem: it is a series of animals and flowers, including of course, rabbits. Another nice detail to this costume is the black and white striped fingerless gloves. It's a little punk with a lot of girly. A very nice mix.

Helena Bonham Carter as The Red Queen, Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Not to be mistaken with the Queen of Hearts (although I think the two were merged in this movie), the Red Queen is the antagonist. She wears an Elizabethan inspired dress of black velvet, gold and red brocade, all decorated with pearls and lace. Her hair is even done in a typical Queen Elizabeth I heart shaped style.

Anne Hathaway as The White Queen, Alice in Wonderland (2010)

I love Anne Hathaway as an actress, and I believe, from what I have seen in the trailers, that she is going to be a marvellous White Queen. What I love right away in the whole look of this costume is the contrast of the dark red lips with the pallor of the skin, hair and dress. It makes everything seem whiter. In this case, the dress seems inspired by Victorian times: large, voluminous skirt, off the shoulder short puffed sleeves and a chocker necklace. I have to say, this is my personal favourite.

Johnny Depp as The Mad Hatter, Alice in Wonderland (2010)

What is a Tim Burton movie without Johnny Depp, and what other role could he play than The Mad Hatter. There are so many details to this costume that I don't know where to begin. The main item is of course his top hat, which seems made of crocheted green lace, has a dusty rose trim, many hat pins, a peacock feather, and a 10/6 note. Add to this a frock coat, a wide bow-tie in a crazy print, orange "Einstein" hair and lime green eyes and just staring at this strange character will make you go mad.

If you would like to make one of these costumes, I suggest you visit The Costumer's Guide to Movie Costumes - Alice in Wonderland.

Now hurry up, or you're going to be late. There is only three months left before the premiere.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Lost: Dharma Initiative Worker

I admit it, I have gotten Lost. My parents lent me the first four seasons on DVD a while back, but I have just begun to watch them and now, I can't stop. I know the show has been around since 2004, but I didn't start watching it back then, and when I tried latter I was, well, lost. It's tough to follow if you haven't seen all the shows.

It doesn't start off with very many costuming possibilities, as the story is a contemporary one, but but right away, I liked Shannon's clothes.

Maggie Grace as Shannon Rutherford, Lost (2004)

Sure, at first Shannon is a spoiled brat and you just want to smack her back to reality, but she wears nice things. I love the outfit she wears in the pilot: a dusty pink satin jacket, a pink tank top with sequined neckline, a turquoise and gold oval pendant, a white pleated mini skirt and gold strappy sandals.

Maggie Grace as Shannon Rutherford,"Hearts and Minds", Lost (2004)

I also liked the turquoise sequined top she wears in a flashback in "Hearts and Minds" (Season 1, episode 13). I know, it's a shocker: I like something turquoise.

If you like that series and you want to make yourself Lost costume, I suggest you go with a Dharma Initiative jumpsuit.

Dharma Initiative Jumpsuit Ad, by Hot Meteor

It's quite basic really. First, you need a gray or beige jumpsuit, like a Mechanic's. It can have patch pockets or zipped welt pockets, it doesn't matter.

Ken Leung as Miles Straume, Jorge Garcia as Hugo 'Hurley' Reyes and Daniel Dae Kim as Jin Kwon, Lost (2004)

On the left breast pocket, you will want to have your name embroidered in black, bold, capital letters, as well as your position, in smaller letters and underneath your name. For Example: Roger - Workman or Gwenyver - Costumer (okay, I doubt there would be a need for a Costumer on the Island).

And last but not least, you will need a Dharma Initiative patch to go over your name.

Lost "Dharma Initiative" Patch from J. Kerezman Costumes

You can choose from a number of stations: the Staff, the Arrow, the Swan, the Flame, the Pearl, the Orchid, the Hydra, the Looking Glass, the Tempest and the Lamp Post.

Personally, I would choose the Orchid because I like plants and gardening, and I would love to travel in time. Which station would you like to be a worker of?