photo by Fredo Gonzalez

photo by Fredo Gonzalez

The Plan
I attended Arisia this past January and it was my 4th year competing in the masquerade/costume contest. I joined the programming staff last year after a couple years of being a “programming participant” (panelist) and what I enjoy about Arisia is that you can be on their staff and still participate in the masquerade. Many cons (anime types specifically) don’t do this, I guess because it would look lie favoritism, but there are so many staffers in so many departments at a con that there really isn’t an issue unless you were on the masquerade staff. (which when would you find time to participate if this was the case anyways?) Anyways, after 3 years of doing smaller presentations of 2-3 people with my girl Elly-star, and Lialia last year, we all sat down at the bar after last year’s contest and started talking to a bunch of our girlfriends who had been competing separately. We decided to say screw it to recreations for Arisia and do a creative, personally designed planets group for next year. Everyone drunkenly agreed with excitement and we headed back upstairs. After the convention we created a Facebook group for it to not forget or loose momentum (which large groups can over a year). Early on we decided to keep a “Grecco-Roman” robes type theme so people had a jumping off point to give the 9 different people a consistent jumping off point. We left the fantasy part as open as people would like to go, but wanted to keep it to that “gods/goddess” core.

Around the summer we started to poke each other a bit on which planet everyone wanted to claim, get a few new members we would need and give people the opportunity to drop out if they had priory engagements that would keep them from going to the con or competing. We’re all adults with day jobs so things happen. There was a lot of claiming, unclaiming, dropping and adding by the time the sign ups had opened for registration.

The Costume
I was pretty sure I wanted to do Earth for the group. I had a billion ideas …. really, it was a bit overwhelming. Here is my pinterest board I used to get out all of my ideas to pick from. As you can see, I was all over the place.
Follow Christa’s board Gaia on Pinterest.
I knew that whoever had Neptune, Uranus and Mercury would probably pull some or all blues in to their costumes so I kinda “banned” myself from using blue and stuck with more of a tree/mother nature/forest feel with browns and greens. Since we were going “fantasy” with the costumes I didn’t shy away from the satins and chiffons. If I were making a period Chiton/Stola design I would have gone the linen and natural fibers look, but meh, fancy it was.
Off to the redtag Casa section of Joanns I went to find a $3yd brown, stretch satin and some $2 green chiffon. I ended up buying a couple different greens and a dark red as well since I originally was going to do a “red lining” of sorts. I was going to do a more “volcano” theme at one point that I tossed. All the fabric probably cost me about $30 or so. I later went back (about a week before the con) and bought the foliage in the after x-mas sale for about $15 for my head piece. All in all, the costume itself (I owned the wig and shoes already) cost about $45-50 dollars.
The design was another thing I sketched out a couple times to get where I was going. As a bigger woman, I was a bit timid to do the “sack” of fabric tied in certain places.Planet Earth Sketch I didn’t want to loose my curves and just look like I threw on a couple boxes of fabric and called it a day. I had planned to create and entire boned understructure to it to mimic more of a “Sparta” TV show vibe, but ended up getting busy with the holidays and didn’t have time for that. Another sketch was drawn up with a more traditional drape look with tweeks. Lie the one in the sketch. Once I started trying it on, I dumped the sleeves and the belt as they’re were a bit much. What I ended up with was a bit of a modern/ancient hybrid. The brown under dress was a two square drape attached to a giant, full circle skirt with a trained back. The two parts were attached to a 3″ black elastic waist band that keep me from have to create bunching with a belt and if someone stepped on me it gave me some “give” before any seams ripped. It was also comfortable as anything which is something that doesn’t happen in costumes very much. The chiffon green is just about 5yds of chiffon off the bolt with a overlocked edge in a brown. It was then draped and attached to the brown dress in the back and front on my left shoulder. I had some weird, drapery tie things I picked up on clearance years ago that I used for the shoulder “pin” look.

A casual look from a Artbook of Michiru from 2004.

The wig started out looking like this. (A casual look from a Artbook of Michiru from 2004)

The wig started out as my FIRST wig I ever bought way back in 2003 for my Michiru (Sailor Moon) costume. Back in the day you had a choice of florescent marker green or kelly green (or if you were really talented, dye it yourself) so this wig isn’t something I would reuse for Michiru again if I ever wanted to make a new version so the teasing began! The wig was actually in really good shape for being over 10years old, but it had to be done,

The wig right after I finished styling it and my photoshopped testing of how the fawn makeup might look with it.

The wig right after I finished styling it and my photoshopped testing of how the fawn makeup might look with it. I went way further with the make up thankfully.

so with a teasing comb and super hold hairspray I spent an episode of Downton Abbey poofing the crap out of it. I left some curls in the back so the wig wasn’t a giant ball shape, but still had that powerful “poof” shape I wanted. I was going for “walking tree” and I think I got it personally haha.

The headdress was another episode of Downton Abbey but this time I made a foamie crown attached to a headband to glue a bunch of 75% off x-mas foliage to. I didn’t have to do anything extra to the leaves and fruit since it already had the gold and sparkle look to them. The then kinda “stuffed” the headband in like a tiara until it was inside the wig and worked the hair poof around it to make it sit correctly on my head. I put the whole thing on my head at once but the crown is removable for fixing or if I find another use for a giant green bush wig. (that somehow sounds like a challenge now)

 

The Makeup

I spent most of the time making "deer in the headlight" and "angry chipmunk" faces

I spent most of the time making “deer in the headlight” and “angry chipmunk” faces

The makeup was something I was pretty set on from the beginning. I loved the look of the fawn make up I’ve seen on pinterest and with the “mother earth” theme I thought I’d dive in on the animal idea. I originally had horns

My husband dubbed this "the angry chipmunk" I think I was angry all the grapes were gone.

My husband dubbed this “the angry chipmunk” I think I was angry all the grapes were gone.

in the mix but with the wig and headdress done, they seemed like they might be too over the top. Maybe I’ll update it with horns sometime, but for now I’m happy with the “Fawn Bush.” The

entire make-up job was my first try in the bathroom at the con. The brown is eyeshadow, the black and silver is eyeliner and the lip is the Disney Ursula lip gloss. I’ll add a photo of the make I used in a bit. It took about 20 minutes and then I spent the next 6hrs not touching my face lol. The only thing that needed touching up was my lip gloss.

 

 

The Finished Costume
All in all, the costume is comfortable and I was pretty happy with it. I think if I rewear it I’ll add a statement necklace in a gold, an arm band of some sort of my bare arm and maybe try the antlers if I’m feeling ambitious. Our group ended up taking home Best in Show Craftsmanship, which we’re all pretty proud of!

 

 

Written by Christa

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