Friday, 30 December 2011

Leather Pouches

We appear to have some prototype pouches, though we're still playing around with ideas for the basic shape and insides. These are without compartments, but I'm still relatively keen on the idea of having a slot against the back wall of the pouch for character cards and the like (or out of character stuff, if you're so inclined).

We're consciously trying to step away from standard medieval/renaissance fantasy designs and dabbling in something different. The one on the left is based on a stylised lamassu (winged lion of Mesopotamian mythology) and the one of the right is the Raven stealing the sun.

It is likely that the next batch may wander back towards more classically fantastical designs, but we felt this was a worthwhile foray. The vambraces, however splendidly tooled, haven't sold that well over the last six months, so we're wary of getting too many of these in. That said, we do need some prototypes to at least show what we can do.

Also, Happy New Year!

Friday, 23 December 2011

Return of the Mercenary, Sheer Opulence from the Embroiderers and Some Books

I've again found myself neglecting the blog (and emails! Sorry!) but I am back again, with news and photos and costumes.

The rather magnificent green and silver frock coat to the right is one of the new prototypes we've been working on. The Embroiderers seem to have outdone themselves (though in a tragic twist of fate, they have gone out of business, but their machines - along with all the backups - have been bought up by a new company of embroiderers, so we're still in the game). We're still debating whether or not ornamental buttons should be added to the garment (it closes with hooks and eyes). There are vague plans for the embroidery to appear on other garments and new iterations of the embroidered tailcoat from last year are in the pipeline.

There's another dubiously amusing story of mistakes in colours of thread used, but I'll save that for another day. Suffice to say, if you're in the market for a cut price embroidered doublet, it may soon be your day.

Profound Decisions's Empire is glinting at us on the horizon, and at some point, when more information is available, I intend to do sketches for it (like I did Odyssey). But despite all the speculation, there's really a distinct lack of concrete detail to build costumes from. I've heard things like BBC's Merlin and Camelot being cited as potential sources of inspiration, and the word "coolthentic" has been making its rounds, but it's not quite enough to start me drawing. I want the garments to feel like they are grounded in the culture they are supposedly from (even if I'm building an outfit from tat I already own) and I'm not sure I can quite envision it yet.

I've also managed to raid Hilde Bede College's library back when they were renovating earlier this year, so I am sitting on a small mountain of costume books (though many of them are admittedly ancient and in some ways quite outdated in their research). Flicking through them has been very exciting and maybe eventually some of the new sketches inspired from them will make it onto the blog.

I've been indulging in the simple joy of flicking through all the pretty pictures on the various tumblrs on historical clothing, including Dames a la Mode (fashion plates), OMG that Dress, Impersonating History, Costume Reference (does what it says on the tin), The Ornamented Being (pretty things, mostly Victorian) and My Lovely Petticoat. Especially with the tumblrs with an interest in extant clothing, it gets all terribly modern at times (my interest begins to wane once we hit the 1900s), but it's been an interesting pictorial journey.

In other, other news, I've been playing about with Doll Divine's Tudor Scene Maker. It has an utterly mind-boggling number of options and layers to fiddle about with.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Portraits and Costumes: Henry VIII and Wives

It seems to be a thing that every other historical attraction with an empty room and a tenuous connection to the infamous Henry VIII will have a display of him and his six wives. Or it may simply seem so as I've seen three such arrangements (Warwick Castle; Hever Castle; Hampton Court), two of them in the recent past and have been musing on the subject.

The costumes are all clearly taken from iconic portraits, though some details differ. This set of photos are taken at Warwick Castle. The room was quite dark, so I've tweaked the colours and contrasts on these photos for a little more clarity.

Putting the portraits and the photos of the costumes side by side is a tad disappointing. Henry VIII, for example, isn't as insanely wide as his portrait. The lines of the costumes simply aren't as crisp and clean, or as detailed and opulent. All this is perhaps more fault of the portrait than the costume. After all, a portrait is not a photograph and it is hardly the fault of the costume makers that they cannot reproduce the exact idealised world of the portrait. Equally, the budget for the costume probably cannot match that of a Queen of England's. That, and puffed linings are obnoxiously hard to get right in real life.

The challenges reminded me greatly of those faced by cosplayers who want replicate (or in some cases simply evoke) a particular costume that exists only on the page or screen.

On the subject of Tudor portraits, I found this portrait archive particularly comprehensive.

Also, here's an iron capotain. It's awesome. Made all the more amusing to me due to the sheer number of hats that have been worn as "armour" (some with more justification than others) over the years.

More photos of the exhibition and some associated rambling under the cut.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Prototype: Embroidered Tailcoat

Due to the swiftness with which we sold the tailcoat, we never did manage to do photos of this coat beyond running into the garden, hurling the tailcoat on the Proprietor and pointing the camera at him.

The coat is made from a medium weight black wool. Elaborate black embroidery is on the front, cuffs and high collar of the coat. Aside from the tails, the back is plain and dark metal buttons go down the front. The silver faux silk lining has two hidden pockets at the breast.

Looking over the preview of the embroidery, and it really has been significantly more than a week. Many things seem to have gotten in the way. We will reuse the templates of the embroidery, though part of me feels reluctant to do an exactly the same combination of colour and coat shape. Perhaps we can do the silver embroidery on black wool, or perhaps a dark emerald green.

To commission a coat with similar quantities of embroidery from the Mercenary would cost in the region of £120-50.

More photos of the black embroidered tailcoat under the cut.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The Little Frustrations of Costume Research: Museum Websites

Dress Ensemble, 1790
Museum of London
I would be the first to admit that costumes here aren't by any means the most historically accurate. There are various reasons, including accommodating modern tailoring techniques or simply that the originals were designed for heated ballrooms and not open fields. But the Mercenary does do a substantial amount of research into actual historical clothing.

Which leads me into the rant: the numerous frustrations of museum websites.

(Démodé, incidentally, has a extensive list of museums with extant costumes, though be warned as it is not without broken links. The 18th Century Notebook is also excellent, with extracts from the descriptions. I'm contemplating doing an annotated link page, but I suspect it may descend into incoherent irritation.)

I suppose museum websites aren't designed to provide me with an extensive photographic record of each of its items. And perhaps, the logic is that if one could find the item online, one would no longer desire to go to the museum in the first place.

That said, well over half the items I'm examining online are in store and not on display. And truth be told, backs of costumes aren't always visible in exhibits themselves, due to the disadvantages of space and sometimes, an overly creative curator.

Ball Gown, 1785
Victoria and Albert Museum
Phoenix Art Museum, for example, has a beautifully snazzy flash-based website, but it's slow to load, doesn't provide shots of the back and doesn't allow you to save the photos. Kyoto Costume Institute is pretty good (and now supports permanent links to its items) but short of rummaging through the page source, there's no good way of saving the photo (and really, it's easier to scroll up and down to view a large photo that fills your screen than to operate its odd little "magnify" feature).

The Victoria and Albert Museum has an extensive collection of old costumes and some items are wonderfully catalogued with front and back shots (such as this gown and petticoat). However, some, such as this eighteenth century gown have only one closeup shot of the pleats at the back of the bodice. Equally sack back gown is only represented by its sleeve detail. (That intriguing looking ball gown to the right? Only its back is photographed, though admittedly extensively.) I suspect it's because these photos were taken for Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century Fashion in Detail and were used to illustrate particular features rather than to document the garment as a whole. Bowes Museum has a lovely collection, but it's still frustrating to only be able to see the front of this two piece bustle dress, when the description intriguingly tells me that it has a skirt with "main fullness at back for bustle." Same can be said about Gemeente Museum Den Haag.

Colonial Williamsburg's eMuseum, on the other hand, has a deeply frustrating search function and I'm still not sure if "category" is synonymous with "highlights from select exhibits" (it doesn't seem like it should be, but otherwise, the only way to gain access to their textiles section is just by guessing what they've catalogued everything as. Not impossible, but tedious.) Also, they don't like photographing things from more than one angle, but I think we've gotten used to that by now.

Ending the rant on a happier note, Chrome's built in Google Translate, incidentally, has been a godsend. It's not that it doesn't give me occasionally baffling phrases (such as "Future Clothing" from the National Museum of Denmark), but it does provide the rudiments for a rummage around the databases.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The Nerd East Photo-post

Nerd East seems an aeon ago, but I've finally found the photos from in the recesses of a memory card. This year for reasons saw me quite a lot more stressed than I'd really have liked to be (despite having had quite a bit of help - who, incidentally are all splendid people). I didn't manage to attend any of the talks, games and workshops, except for the one ran by the Durham University Improvised Comedy Society.

All in all, we sold some stuff and met cool people. All without the great inconvenience of travelling for several hours either end. What more can a mercenary really ask for?

Except, I suppose, a photo of the stall for the blog. And daleks. There were daleks gliding about the floor. It was fantastic and is somewhat inexplicable I can't find any photos of them.

More photos and accompanying ramble under the cut.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Cotton Pierrot Jacket

This pierrot (a close-fitting, low-necked jacket-bodice with short tails)  is made from a black and silver stripped cotton and a grey cotton. It is trimmed in white ribbon. It is modelled after the one of yellow and green taffeta in The Kyoto Costume Institute and this other pierrot at the Metropolitan. These, in theory, in turn inspired this very splendid outfit in The Duchess. There is a rather excellent timeline of women's jackets on, which more or less culminates in the pierrot, which were very popular from the mid-1780s through the 1790s.

These jackets were often worn with skirt of lightweight, white "linon", a woven cloth with a high linen-like quality made of thin and delicate cotton. The white skirt in this case is of a cotton-linen mix, but quite coarse in texture.

The choice of the contrasting colours rather makes the pierrot echo the shapes and colours of a men's jacket and waistcoat. 

I'm not really wearing it with the correct underpinnings (or really sufficient petticoats) and ideally, I'd have preferred to wear it with a belt and I was definitely missing the delicate muslin neck scarf to give the outfit greater modesty.

The long-legged nature of these croquis do make short bodice-jackets look very strange. Pillywiggen remarked that the figure looks like she's balanced on top of a giant grey rock. Which wasn't exactly my intention, though in retrospect perhaps is inevitable as M. E. Riley did note that "very full skirt acted as a counter balance to the molded top."

These photos were taken at the Hever Castle Gardens, the fountain pictured being the Millennium Fountain. It was getting rather late in the day (the primary purpose of the visit not being photography, after all, and the exercise largely incidental) and the light does get rather unflattering.

To commission a similar pierrot from the Costume Mercenary would cost in the region of £50-60. 

More photos of the cotton pierrot under the cut.

Kissing the Old Scissors Goodbye: New Businesscards

After being the Costume Mercenary for about a year and a half, I've finally had some business cards professionally printed (courtesy of Vistaprint and their introductory offer). The design is still the same as those of my ratty little homemade cards that I had individually cut out by hand (and printed on the old laserjet), those the background is no longer cream.

They are almost perfect. Due to having fanned them out so artistically, it's not entirely clear, but bottom border doesn't line up with the edge. It's probably no more than a millimetre, if that, but the effect is very noticeable when you have them in hand.

I had originally intended to ditch the old design, which only survives in jpg format. After a day of shuffling words and pictures (scoured from the internet for old book ornaments that are out of copyright), I came up with the design to the right. However, for reasons of nostalgia for the old card design, I went with that in the end and in retrospect, I should have foreseen the problems that lower border would cause, especially given how close to the edge it would skim.

But either way, we've committed to a thousand of them now. Perhaps the next batch will see a redesign and will be better.

Back to pretty clothes next post. I promise.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Strange Inspirations from the Hair x Nail Artpiece Parade

I was rooting through old photos and came across this set taken at the Hair x Nail Artpiece Parade. It almost seems to echo the extravagant and utterly outrageous hairstyles of the 1770s (including, of course, the very famous Coiffure à l'Indépendance ou le Triomphe de la liberté, that commemorated the victory of the frigate La Belle Poule during the battle of Ouessant).

The Artpiece Parade seemed to be a random extravaganza of strange (and dubiously wonderful) hairpieces and fake nails. The latter part my past self seemed to have been rather apathetic about and I have only one photo (under the cut, scroll to the bottom)

But yes, it is strange and somewhat interesting.

In other news (and very tangentially related news), extremely talented Reesha (of Reeshiebeads) has been working on an Amazing Peacock Hat for me, so watch this space. I am very much looking forward to having a giant bird on my head.

More photos of this insanity under the cut.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Preview: A Wander Down South

The Mercenary has been wandering around down south and had the pleasure of visiting Warwick Castle and Hever Castle. Due to a convoluted series of logistical problems, it was far more efficient to wear my Maelstrom costumes during these visit. Indeed, it was a useful excuse to myself for costumed frolicking.

Due to having a camera with us, we also did a number of photos in the beautiful gardens of Hever. These probably aren't the most exciting of dresses.

(Also, I'm quite fond of the above photo because of the way the print of the dress is echoed in the birch of the tree.)

Thursday, 1 September 2011

The Costume Mercenary Returns (and Her Adventures at the Gathering)

Sorry for the lengthy several-month hiatus on the blog. Events have been chaotic (but when are then not?) and things on the design and production front have slowed to make way for the various events.

Since I last wrote, we've done costumes for half the cast of Opera Novella's Rigoletto; supplied Maelstrom with several hundred new coins; been to Nerd East, Nemacon and the Gathering; ordered a thousand business cards. Half a dozen projects have come to fruition and just as many (if not more) have been stalled. Half the year's Profound Decisions events have come and gone, including my first (and second) Odyssey event.

This is also my only photo of the Gathering. I'd managed to bring my camera but not the all important memory card. The phone managed this single snapshot of the stall before it croaked. Suffice to say, the Proprietor and myself were both there, in his leaky tent, peddling our goods. Thank you for buying things, as well as dropping by and saying Hi.

The weather was distinctly suboptimal for the most part and I am still very grateful to those purple-clad angels who descended to rescue us from our moisture apocalypse. All I recall is a flurry of activity, numbing cold and far too much rain in my eyes and the wind began to tear apart the tent. As the Proprietor shouted instructions at me, these amazing people showed up and helped us peg down the tent, braving the torrential downpour. I've no idea who you are, but thank you!

The Proprietor has been at the LT for years, but it was my first time and it was very interesting. Given how the market stalls were an out-of-character area, I can't say much for the plot or even the roleplay of the event, but here is a list of a few moments that I really enjoyed:

  • Seeing a father drag a pink-clad little girl into our stall. He presented her with a number of elegant "elven" weapons, but she kept shaking her head, finally saying quite resolutely, "But Daddy, I want an axe!"
  • Due to the aforementioned moisture apocalypse, I had to knit the Proprietor a pair of emergency socks from whatever wool and needles I had on me. I can't say I'm not rather proud of being able to make up a sock pattern on the fly.
  • Running into a fight, going down and being separated from the Proprietor's character. In character, I was utterly lost and had no idea what I was doing. The plan had been to create a character so that I could sit at the back of the Prince Bishop's campfire and sing songs for the evening. Being waylaid by demons was not part of plan.
  • Seeing small children bicker about the rules and telling each other to pull their blows. It was all needlessly adorable.
  • The sheer number of people who played with the giant monster claws. Because the urge to rend is hilarious.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Exquisite Hand-Tooled Vambraces

Frankly, these are utterly exquisite. I do think our leatherworker has outdone herself this time.

The designs are adapted from stock images, ranging quite widely from celtic beasts from the Book of Kells to heraldic beasts. There are some rather obvious attempts at tapping into recognisable motifs of the various live roleplay settings, including a green scarab bracer for Odyssey's Egypt (unlike real world Egypt, Odyssey's Egypt is rather more keen on green than blue.) There's also a very classical-seeming hippocampus (see left) again for Odyssey and various celtic knot-beasts.

There is a plan taking shape to commission some our local artists like Amy Clarke and Christopher Worth to design such armour for limited runs. Though it is (unsurprisingly) somewhat dependent on how well the vambraces do in the coming months.

And so, the tooled vambraces are finally available at £40 a pair on the Character Kit website.

More photos of the vambraces under the cut.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Flembic Splendour: Military Dress

part of a series of Maelstrom-related Portraits
done by Chris Brett

Current fashion is with the embroidered frock coat, although an impressive military uniform is still a popular choice amongst the rakish.

This dress was designed for the military-themed "Parade Ball' that the Flembic Ladies held at a Maelstrom even some years ago now. It is made with a navy light wool-mix (suiting, actually, now that I think about it), with yellow cord for the braiding and buttons from ebay. It was designed to be worn with white underskirts and a hoop skirt, but here it's worn with black trousers and a white linen shirt.

This was one of the very first pieces the Designer and I collaborated on, back when we were still drawing our concept art on paper dolls from a museum website's "design your own outfit!" children section. The picture was then scanned, tweaked and coloured (and repeatedly, indecisively recoloured) in Microsoft's Paint.

The decision was to have something that fit with the theme of the ball (uniforms and military parades) but still appear frivolous, with an undertone of a silly lady playing at being a soldier (rather than the a dashing lady who's actually in the military and shoots a dozen fallen before breakfast, which is rather more the norm in Flambard). The blue was chosen to match the outfit of a gentleman of my character's acquaintance at the time.

The beautiful rose scabbard is made by the inimitable Tim Baker (though chronologically could not have been worn to the aforementioned ball, but artistic licence and all). The sword was borrowed from the local fencing society.

To commission a similar coat-dress ensemble from the Mercenary would cost in the region of £180, though this is a very rough estimate due to the original being made quite some time ago, so you should probably just get in touch.

More photos of the military dress under the cut.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Prototype: Embroidered Tailcoat Preview

Just got the embroidered pieces from the embroiderers and I'm really very chuffed. It's not yet a wool frock coat with embroidered front, cuffs, collar and so forth, but the pieces that will become it look amazing. We tried to pin the pieces to a mannequin, but it's not particularly informative or impressive, so I'll leave it for the moment.

This is one of the more ambitious prototypes we've been playing around with (between and around other less blogable items). The story is that though a convoluted series of contacts, we've managed to get in touch with some embroiders who are willing to work with us, stepping well outside their comfort zone of monogrammed dress shirts, posh bathrobes and company aprons.

Truth be told, it's isn't quite perfect. Or rather, there is the rather fundamental error made by the lovely people at the embroiderers (it was supposed to be silver?!) but I'm still very much in love with it. There's something rather compelling about blackwork.

Hopefully there'll be photos of the completed tail coat in a week or so.

Also on the embroidery front and under the cut (if somewhat less impressive): a golden swan to go on a knight's particoloured surcoat.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Vambraces Preview and Holy Symbols on Strings

Remember the hand-tooled vambraces prototype from a few weeks ago? Well, things are finally moving and hopefully the first batch will be done by Nerd East and you, dear reader, will be able to view (and purchase) them in person.

I'm really quite excited about them. There's a lot more work to be done, but here's a photo of two of the designs (a winged scarab and a phoexnix) undyed.

I've also been running around looking at pendants and things for a friend (raw materials for troll tat) but I've come across some reasonably good looking bits and pieces, possibly useful for those looking for holy symbols. The double-headed axe, for example, is good for DUTT's Morvana. The scales are good for Astalon. If you're looking for any symbol in particular, drop me a line, I can keep my eyes peeled for you. Pendants like these would cost in the region of £1-2, mostly depending on size.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Poison Pendants and New Buttons...

I am utterly in love with the style of these buttons with its use of two colours of alloy. I found them the other day and am toying with them right now. Unfortunately, due to it featuring the Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom as its design, there's really not many live roleplay systems you can wear it in. It was adopted in 1837, so perhaps we could do something with it in the context of Victorian Steampunk.

If you fancy them, I'm really rather keen to see them on a garment, so do drop me an email.

I'm also negotiating the sourcing of little poison pendants. They're little tiny box pendants, absolutely adorable, wonderfully subtle (though perhaps almost too subtle, I'm not sure there is much that fits in them). But hopefully they'll be coming to Character Kit soon-ish.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

A Flembic Jenny: High-Waisted Waistcoat and Shirt

part of a series of Maelstrom-related Portraits 
done by Chris Brett

A highwayman is his own man, proud and confident in his own abilities. Every child knows their names every man will buy them a drink, and it is considered good luck to have them attend weddings and funerals.

The high-waisted waistcoat is of hunter green faux suede, edged in brown velvet ribbon. The shirt is of white linen, false drop shouldered. It has moderately puffy sleeves and a ruffled band of white linen. The waistcoat is actually the ancestor to the black one seen in the Ricepunk Traveller post, though this one actually has a zip down the back and the painted wood buttons on the front are purely decorative. It has two spacious flap pockets.

I was instructed to throw forward the pistol as the shot was taken in many them, to give the photo a sense of motion. I'm not sure how well that was captured, but the somewhat odd positions of the arm is something of a direct result from that.

The beautiful rose scabbard, I believe, is made by the legendary Tim Baker. The black trousers, I confess, are simply Tesco's Teflon-coated stain-repellent "back to school" trousers, from the boy's section. As explained in the preview post, "Flembic Splendor", the object of the photoshoot was very much to show characters from Maelstrom and thus it seemed in keeping with that I actually wore my character's costume instead of, say, opting for some fall front breeches. (That said, all the posing suggests a level of coolness absent in Odette, but artistic licence and all. I think Chris described the photos as presenting an almost film poster version of the characters - if you detect a passing similarity in style to the Sherlock Holmes posters, that was one of the original inspirations  apparently.)

The black domino mask is from a fancy dress stall in the Durham Indoor Market, the belt a charity shop and the pistols are from Makai Larp. The winged pendant is disassembled from one that had a garish treble clef and strange cross-eyed cupid. These photos were taken by Chris Brett.

To commission a similar waistcoat would cost in the region of £30-40 and £15-20 for a similar shirt.

More photos under the cut.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Prototype: Hand-tooled Vambraces

I've finally managed to get my hands on the tooled vambraces prototype (it was trapped in the limbo of the postal service for far too long). After the business with the the tooled notebooks (now available from Character Kit at £13), I had tried to convince them to attempt making simple vambraces with tooled designs. The details aren't quite right, but as a prototype I'm rather pleased.

The design, incidentally, is taken from the pages of the Book of Kells.

Wool Coat Prototypes: Red Military, Triple-Caped and Red-Lined

The red military coat (Large, prototype cost £75.00) is made of a bright red wool-linen blend and lined in faux silk. It features bright gold buttons and fully double-breasted. Its cut is simple but hopefully effective.

The triple-caped watchcoat (Large, prototype cost £120) is made from a wool-linen mix. It is single-breasted, and features the buttons of chaos and exciting flared cuffs. It can be seen as the predecessor to the other caped greatcoat we did in a commission, but I do actually prefer the single-breasted look since it's a little more streamlined.

Wool coat (prototype cost £130.00) of midnight blue and distinctive shape with bright red faux silk lining and heavy wool-linen mix. It features gunmetal silver buttons with a curling fern design. The deep cuffs are decorated with red braiding and there are two hidden pockets.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Flembic Splendour: Zone Front Dress with Pleated Detail and Peplum

part of a series of Maelstrom-related Portraits 
done by Chris Brett

The duel may be to first blood, or to a set number of passes or shots, or until one party yields, or until death, depending upon the nature of the offence, and by agreement of the parties concerned.

This zone front dress is made from turquoise faux silk taffeta. The dress has a front closure with hooks and eyes, a cut away skirt and a peplum on the back of the bodice. It is worn with a black lace and satin underskirt. It is trimmed in white and pale blue ribbon roses. Among other dresses, this draws inspiration from garments such as this pierrot, pleated gown and such zone front gowns of the eighteenth century.

Ideally, the dress should be worn with a white underskirt instead of a black one, but due to the limited capacity of my backpack (the adventure down south were detailed in the preview post) we had to make do with the black lace, which has very much my most versatile - and thus my standard - underskirt.

The Upper City are generally expected to mourn for two years. A wardrobe of black is adopted. No ornaments were worn, except jet, for the first year. To appear fashionable during times of mourning many would dye their clothing black. Gentlemen wore black cheviot suits with broad crape bands on their hats, and black gloves. 

Despite the seeming presence of a wind machine, all the floaty swirliness was caused by me swishing the shawl by hand. A lot of the practice from the days when I was swirling much heavier wool cloaks stood me in good stead. Whilst looking rather dramatic, much of the detail of the dress, especially of the pleats on the bodice and the peplum are lost.

The black lace shawl was actually a present from a character named Captain Shadow to my Maelstrom character (I regret to say I never ran into him again. It is, however, a gift that has come in handy more than once.) The sword was apparently borrowed from the local fencing society and the pistols from makai larp. With the exception of the backlit lace-hurling photos, these were taken by Chris Brett.

To commission a similar dress from the Mercenary would cost in the region of £90-100.

More photos of the zone front dress under the cut.

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