Monday, May 9, 2011

The Phoenix Project

Overrobe - a bit oriental, a bit Queen Amidala-ish.
Underrobe - modified kimono
Gown - purchased

Easily the most complicate costume I have ever attempted.  I wanted to create something really spectacular and original for Portus 2008.  Since I am normally in black, I thought a complete color change might be in order.  I've always loved the legend of the Phoenix and how variations appear in most cultures. 

I wanted at least two pieces - a lightweight robe to convey flames and rebirth and a heavier robe to symbolize aging and death.  I went through a lot of design concepts until I discovered the perfect fabric for the lighter robe - a red-orange-gold ombre chiffon overprinted with gold butterflies. I decided to make a modified kimono to minimize seaming.  I still needed to find the fabric for the heavier robe and some trim for both. 

I was tempted to title this post "You never know what you want until it hurts you" because the perfect fabric did just that - full bolt of a deep orange double layer Indian matte taffeta with dark gold diamond shapes every inch holding the two layers together. As I was carrying my treasure to the cutting counter, I dropped the bolt on my foot and discovered the perfect trim for the new fabric and my completed kimono.

And it gets better.  A few weeks after completing the overrobe, I found a red-orange-yellow ombre evening dress for $2 at a thrift store.

The Overrobe with Kimono Underrobe and Gown

Front View

Front View - Detail

Back View

Back View - Detail

Side View
The Kimono Underrobe and Gown

Front View

Back View
The Gown

Front View

Back View
And, something I don't usually have - me wearing the costume.

This is the lightweight kimono. I draped a gold scarf over a white paper umbrella for a fun, mysterious look! This was taken at the Texas Renaissance Festival in late October or early November and the temperature was in the 80's.

And another, taken at another Renaissance Festival. Did I mention it is hot in Houston even in the middle of winter?  Here I am wearing the heavier overrobe with an Indian choli top and skirt. 

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