Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Preview: Deep Red Elven Gown

This deep red elven gown with beaded trim, inspired by the many beautiful gowns of the Evenstar (and more specifically the Cranberry Velvet Gown) though this doesn't feature the interesting seaming techniques of the original and instead of a scoop neck, it has an unusually wide bateau neck (born out of the fact that the gold beaded trim is straight and thus stubborn about turning corners). The sleeves aren't as huge as would be ideal, but we ran out of fabric and it seemed as reasonable a compromise as any. The whole dress feels oddly delicate and I have some fears about the durability of the beaded trim. On the other hand, the overall effect is more than slightly opulent.

The red of the velvet is deep and luscious, closer to a rosewood or a carmine than the photos would immediately suggest. The shifting colours of the silk velvet and the bad lighting made for less than ideal photos. (Which makes this a preview of sorts. The lighting was temperamental the day we did the photos and I wasn't pleased with the results. With time and reflection, they seem good enough to appear in the blog but I do intend to do them again when given the opportunity.)

I've also been scouring Lord of the Rings for costuming cues of late and it hasn't exactly been the most rewarding experience. Tolkien is vague at best when it comes to descriptions of clothing. The primary aspects I could really pin down about elven clothing seems to be that its grey, shining and iridescent.

At the sight of Arwen, Evenstar of her people, Frodo confides in Gandalf:
"At last I understand why we have waited! This is the ending. Now not day only shall be beloved, but night too shall be beautiful and blessed and all its fear pass away!'"
Unfortunately, there is little about her appearance one can glean from the preceding passage other than that she was glimmering in the evening, with stars on her brow.

Diamante are all too easily abused in ornamentation and iridescence isn't something that works particularly well beyond princess dresses of little small children and stage costume, and even then I find the concept questionable. This all feeds back to the development of modern tastes and the idea of "tacky" - something that didn't really exist before the widespread use of cheap, bright colours and cheap sparkly things (like diamante). But more on that with the next spate of elven sketches.

To commission a similar gown from the Costume Mercenary would cost in the region of £150 in stretch velvet and £180 in silk velvet.

A few more photos of the elven gown (including a blurry details shot of the beaded trim) under the cut.

A blurry detail shot of the beaded trim:

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that's pretty cool. I wouldn't have guessed that that shade of red would work, but somehow it does work really well :D


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