Thursday, 31 March 2011

Preview and Overview: Flembic Splendour

Long story short, Chris Brett was looking to do some photographs of Maelstrom characters for a university project of his. After some deliberation and calculation, I agreed to embark upon an epic journey down to Wales with a massive backpack filled with kit.

This went quite a lot better than last time we did a studio shoot to say the least.

The series is more something I did that incidentally happens to feature quite a bit of the old Mercenary's catalogue rather than something that was shot with intention of promoting the clothing.

Chris had wanted a series of photos that showcased the flamboyance and pageantry of Flambard, the country that never was (as they say) and as part of that he was wanting to depict actual characters. He had at first wanted to do all the cultures, but that proved rather too ambitious for the limit of his project.

Due to the nature of depicting actual characters, these photos are rather more Maelstrom-specific, and indeed, Odette-specific than normal. The photo to the left, for example, includes a reference to The Prince Edmond Duelling Club.

The Designer has long teased me about my reliance on wall-based posing and the sudden lack was an unexpected, if interesting challenge. There was a lot of silly dancing and messing about between the rather more dignified shots as I vacillated between poses. We had more than a few props to play with (including Chris' beautiful blunderbuss and a saber borrowed from the local fencing society).

The effort isn't perfect, nor was the selection of costumes. Had I known about the dark backgrounds in advance, I would have likely chosen fewer dark-coloured dresses. I even had a slight wardrobe malfunction with the zip on a particularly old dress.

But yes, I should be posting some more of the test shoot photos (as they are the digital ones) over the course of the next week or so. I'm still debating whether or not I should take the opportunity to insert digressions into Flembic culture. Equally, I may well be seduced south again by the lure of the soft studio lighting for future costumes. Opinions?

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Prototype: Steampunk Tailcoat

The blue version of the unisex velvet and brocade tailcoat is very much like the green, with its brass clasps, decorative buttons, brocade revers and faux silk lining. There is more musing on the design on the previous pages, but suffice to say it is good to have some photos of the blue version.

The Archaeologist did say it made her feel 90% more dashing than she normally felt.

This velvet tailcoat is available on Character Kit for £75. It is also available in green and black. Unsurprisingly, to commission a similar tailcoat (but in different colours, with different buttons, in a different size) would cost a similar amount.

The linen frilly shirt (£15-17) and the stretch silk circle skirt (£25) worn by the Pillywiggin are both from the Costume Mercenary. The half-handle dagger is also from Character Kit.

More photos of velvet and brocade tailcoat under the cut.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Commission: Ten-Gore Cotehardie

The dress is made of a beautifully light real silk in forest green and a wine brocade. Its cut mimics that of the Ten-Gore Dress (found at Herjolfsnes, Greenland). It fastens down the front with golden ivy leaf buttons, which also decorate the inner brocade sleeve. The green-and-ivy trim is the same as that on the Forest Cloaks. The tie at the waist has dangling off it two larger ivy leaves.

Of course, the concept sketch for this banquet gown was on the blog a few weeks ago. This is essentially a mash-up of the two concept sketches. As mentioned before, the false sleeves were part of the plan to make the dress lighter so that that she wouldn't overheat during the many rounds of céilidh.

We never quite managed to corner Vicki for photos of her banquet dress beyond a few snaps at the candlelit banqueting hall, but Richard Hornby has very kindly lent me his photos of her in the garden. The entire process took a total of twenty minutes and we have all since learnt that taking photos of green dresses in front of green backgrounds is a poor idea. Incidentally, these photos have been colour-tweaked.

To commission a similar gown in real silk and brocade would cost in the region of £100-110. It would, of course, be cheaper in less extravagant materials.

A few more photos of the cotehardie under the cut.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Prototype: Linen Waistcoat and Fall Front Trousers

Long linen waistcoat, lined in cotton. The linen is pale blue and grey with a distinct herringbone weave. It is also laced at the back with black thonging and has brass celtic beast buttons.

The fall front trousers are of thick white linen and feature the aquila buttons. They are much like the breeches, but longer. Less historically fashionable but certainly good in larp and easier on modern eyes. The black version were worn with the green steampunk tailcoat.

To commission similar fall front trousers or breeches would cost £15-7. A waistcoat would cost in the region of £30-5.

More a few more photos of the waistcoat and trousers under the cut.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Commission: Zevran's Leather Armour

Another commission with strong influences from Dragon Age: Origins, though this time the light leather armour for a Zevran Arainai cosplay. It's also done by Julie Knox, she of the Morrigan's Goatskin Skirt, the Oriet armour and the Monster Pauldrons.

Due to the person who commissioned this not wanting it any more, you can purchase this very set of armour for £180. Aside from looking like Zevran, it may be useful for Profound Decision's Odyssey: the Great Game.

Making something that was never designed to exist in the physical realm functional and wearable was quite a challenge for Julie. Rendering human-looking elbows and knees is quite tricky, even for the highly complex graphics departments of today.

After a lot of squinting, we realised that the armour (and many of the other models in Dragon Age) was designed to purposefully obscure the joints with thick "padding" so as to no need to accurately render elbows and knees. However, such padding on human joints would make them uncomfortable, if not highly awkward to move.

Very few of the characters in Dragon Age bother wearing anything under the armour and again, this made doing the photos rather awkward. Again leather on skin isn't exactly very comfortable. In the end, we used the basic eyelet shirt under it and our model got to keep his trousers.

We didn't really have any conveniently blonde, long-haired men around, though the Designer did suggest that all we really needed to complete the Dragon Age look was to splatter our model with a bottle of fake blood.

As always, the swords are from Character Kit. They're a little small, strictly speaking, to be swords from Dragon Age, but the perspective seems to make up for it a little.

This very set of armour (roughly a men's size medium, drop us an email) is available for £180.

More photos of the Zevran leather armour under the cut.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Commission: Steampunk Magistrate

The steampunk magistrate consists of a real silk surcoat (or chao pao, 朝袍, literally "dynasty robe") and a hand-embroidered rank badge (also known as a "mandarin square"). The surcoat is fully lined, edged in a slightly lighter shade of green and has engraved jade buttons and side pockets hidden in the seams. The mandarin necklace Jha has made herself.  

The outfit was designed for Jha's steampunk persona, a Qing Dynasty colonial magistrate hot on the heels of opium smugglers. She was hoping to introduce education about the Opium Wars to steampunk events and was planning her character around it.

More photos and discussion of the steampunk magistrate outfit under the cut.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Prototype: Naval Coat

The naval coat is made from dark blue wool fully lined in a thick white cotton. It's a coat with a good, very solid weight to it. There are two flap side pockets and two hidden pockets. This is much more of an officer's coat, rather different in colour and style to the Portuguese uniform a few weeks ago.

We're not entirely happy with the coat as whilst it's correct to have the pockets firmly to the side, it does rather make them somewhat inconvenient to use. There's also finite use for a coat that doesn't close in larp.

It'd probably be good for an Admiral James Norrington cosplay if one rolled it in the mud enough.

The coat is worn with a dress shirt that is the model's own and the white linen fall-front trousers are available by commission from the Mercenary at £15.

To commission a coat in similar materials would cost in the region of £140-150. The prototype is available for £135 and you should be able to buy it from the website in a few days. The impatient can simply drop me an email.

More photos of the commodore's coat under the cut.

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