So I'm sure a few of you have been wondering where I've been this year! In addition to a roller-coaster ride of physical and emotional issues that I've had to confront this year, I've also been trying to do something that I love. I've had a new job this year, working 50hr weeks and I realised that, lovely as the company is and great as the people are to work with, I can't face sitting at a desk sending emails and making phone calls for the next five decades or so. I've always said I wasn't cut out for a "normal" day job and now that I've had a couple, I'm absolutely certain I'm not. So, I started thinking about what I could do and it was suggested that perhaps I should look to costuming. As a lot of you know, I've made costumes and clothes on and off for the last couple of years for myself and others and it was suggested that maybe, just maybe I should try and look to doing it more seriously.
So this year, on the weekends, I have been learning to sew and in the year just gone, I have gone from barely being able to sew a basic top to sewing ball gowns and bustiers! And what was all this in aid of? Well applying for NIDA of course! For those who don't know, NIDA is THE place to study for all up-and-coming actors and it also has courses in music theatre, design, prop and costume production etc. Unfortunately for me, they only take FOUR, yes FOUR, people into the costume production course every year!
At the start of this year, I roped in three volunteers to model my creations, having in mind a specific outfit for each of them. This then jumped to four when I decided on one for myself and five when I met a lovely model who loved costumes.
Before I say a bit about each of the costumes, I just want to say a HUGE thanks to all four models for helping me out - three of the four have been a part of this project since the start of 2010 and have given up their free time repeatedly to come over and be asked to do all sorts of odd things like strip off and stand on one leg while I run tape measures over them and note down every conceivable measurement - even around their elbows! They have been poked and prodded and pulled every which way and not complained once. They came to me when they were sick, when they had been working since five or studying for exams. They have put up with me tearing my hair out and freaking out and texting them at all hours but they all stuck with me and kept encouraging me every step of the way and I want to say a huge thank you to all of them. I also want to say a huge thanks to Laura for stepping in LITERALLY last minute. I had previously asked the favour of another model through a friend, this model fitted the role very nicely and loved costumes, however, they decided to drop out of the shoot at 5pm the night before and I was left with a custom made dress that I had spent ten hours finishing by hand and no one able to fit it! My model had been a willowy 5'11", size six, 32A and the dress was made to fit but thanks to a last minute phone call by the photographer Abe, the lovely Laura postponed a drive down the coast on the off chance that she could be my princess in shining satin - and as luck would have it, the dress fitted! I also want to say another huge thanks to the photographer, Abe Bastoli - www.modelmayhem.com/abebastoli…
who was handed to me on a silver platter by one of my models and who is one of the most understanding and amazing photographers I have ever come across. He was kind enough to give me and my crew of models his undivided attention a mere FOUR DAYS before I needed the photos and then give me back a great collection of photos. He found me a great model last minute and gave me a heap of advice on how to get through the the whole thing and I hope that I get another chance to work with him.EDIT:
Finally got ALL the photos posted from this exercise. Thanks for sticking with me as I've posted them over the last week and thank you for all the positive feedback I've had so far.
Costume 1 - Juliet from Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet"
The Model: Miztress
The Costume: Juliet's ball gown from the Capulet's masquerade ball.
The Concept: This dress was an original design by myself as opposed to being a recreation of an existing costume. For me, the image of Julie as the angelic, innocent young girl never sits quite right. She is often dressed in pale pinks and whites yet eloping with a boy she has just met who HAPPENS to be the son of her family's enemy, faking her own death to be with him and then actually killing herself are not the acts of an innocent young girl and I wanted the colour palette to reflect that. One of my favourite musicals is a Viennese production of Romeo & Juliet where they clearly define each family and their associates with two colours - the Capulets and co are in reds and pinks and oranges and the Montagues are in blues and purples and greens - and I love the idea of having such a clear distinction. For me, I wanted a more modern look and colour scheme - placing Juliet in black and purple. Black because a girl rebelling against her family should stand out in the crowd and purple because it is a combination of red and blue, that is, a combination of Capulet and Montague.
Costume 2 - Harley Quinn from DC's Batman series
The Model: Niansa
The Costume: Harley's traditional black and red court-jester-esque unitard, horned hood and collar.
Notable differences: The boots. Normally Harley has little collar ankle booties but Niansa
elected to wear her lovely knee-high boots. Everything except the red boot cover was made by myself.
Costume 3 - Sarah from "Tanz der Vampire" (old style)
The Model: Laura Steele www.modelmayhem.com/misssteele
(This lovely lady stepped in at literally the last minute after my original model flaked the night before the shoot)
The Costume: Sarah's red ball gown from the German-language musical "Tanz der Vampire." The main difference here is the length - the original model was 5'11" but failed to ever show up for a proper fitting and I overestimated the length - it's supposed to cut at the ankle. The little red tiara was originally a normal, clear tiara turned red by means of clear red enamel and a brush! The shoes are low-heeled court shoes with two straps across the arch of the arch of the foot and are painted red to match the dress.
Costume 4 - The Blue Vampire from "Tanz der Vampire" (old style)
The Model: Meluxine
The Costume: The blue ball gown is worn by Sarah's dance double in the show. The dress is very similar in cut to Sarah's red ball gown, it's just put together differently. The shoes are the same as the ones used with Sarah's red dress but are not painted.
I did once (ie in 2009) say that I would never make the costumes from this part of the show because they were just too hard and too complicated. But I decided that I really needed to challenge myself if I was going to have a half a hope in hell of getting into this course.
Costume 5 - Herbert's from "Tanz der Vampire" (new style)
The Model: me, Nsaia
(Yes, this is ACTUALLY me, a lot of people who've seen these shots haven't recognised me for some reason so I'd just to reiterate that it is me underneath all the fabric.
The Costume: First Act Finale Outfit. Herbert's outfit is a multi layer suit topped with a jabot and cape.
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THE PHOTOS IN THIS GALLERY ARE NOT STOCK PHOTOS.
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