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Vintage Glamour: Billie Holiday Shoot

I love vintage glamour.  I think it’s hard not to.  The old photos of singers and actresses, perfectly coiffed, flawless makeup, and that film noir lighting.  I’ve always wanted to do a shoot like that, and I hope to do more in the future whether it’s based off of someone else, or just me.  I used to be in a group called the Carolina D20 Girls, and while it wasn’t a cosplay group specifically, many of the women in there liked to cosplay.  We were always throwing shoot ideas around.  I suggested a vintage glamour shoot, you could choose to channel someone famous, or just get dressed up really nice in some kind of vintage attire.  I chose a Billie Holiday-inspired look.

I did this shoot back in 2013, and I’m pretty sure it was the second photo shoot I had ever done.  All of these images are by my friend Midday Enchantments Photography.

We had the shoot at an antique shop in Cameron Village, in downtown Raleigh.  This was probably the second costume I had ever made.  I love these photos so much, though.  I love that cosplay allows you to make fantasy a reality.  And when I look at these photos, I really do feel like I stepped back into time, where maybe I could have been a sultry songstress.  I do sing, and without tooting my own horn, I’m not too bad at it.  I usually keep it to myself, though.  But I felt like a singer was a nice choice for me, it’s like art within art.

My makeup was very simple, I didn’t know very much about how to do vintage-inspired looks.  Now that I’ve gotten more into makeup, I’ll have a better idea of how to create what I’m going for, the next time I do a shoot like this.  In fact, I kind of feel inspired to try out a vintage makeup look for funsies.  Perhaps there will be a blog post about that in the near future. 🙂

-See you next time!

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Morrigan Aensland: Sensual Succubus

Morrigan

Photo by Paul Cory Photography

I was first introduced to Morrigan maybe 5 or 6 years ago, while playing Marvel vs. Capcom 3.  I loved the moves that she had, and the fact that she could turn her wings into weapons.  I also later watched Darkstalkers, and still need to play the games.  Once I got into cosplay, I knew she’d be an awesome character to dress as, and a challenge because of her wings.  Besides her charm and deadly allure, she’s also strong and confident.  She’s not really a heroine, but she’s not entirely a villain.  I might call her chaotic neutral.  At any rate, she’s fun, and she was a big departure for me, at that point.

I had a brief moment of anxiety when I made up my mind to finally cosplay Morrigan.  Her body and mine aren’t exactly the same, aside from being pretty boobtacular, lol.  I wondered being the size that I was, if I would really be able to pull off her outfit.  Then one day, I got an idea to modify her leotard.  I sketched it out, and I loved it.  Instead of wearing her classic leotard, I would wear a dress.  I wanted to make sure that I stayed true to what she wore, but I also wanted something that I felt would flatter me, and this was the result!

The dress is made out of a suede cloth fabric that has a leathery look to it. It was really easy to work with, and I’ll have to remember it in the future if I ever do anything else like this.  I used Simplicity pattern 2400 and modified it to be a slinky, high-cut dress, similar to her leotard.  For extra lift in the chest area, I sewed a push-up bra into the top of the dress, and replaced the straps it came with, with clear ones.  I ordered feather trim from ebay, and some open gloves from Amazon.

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A work-in-progress photo, circa 2014

The wings  came after that.  I did some hunting around online and found large sheets of craft foam, which was awesome.  I was pretty new to do cosplay at the time, so there were lots of materials I didn’t know about.  But I happened across that, and then found out the rolls could be bought at either Joann or Michaels, so I went out and bought a large roll of foam, and some smaller sheets for her head wings.  I’d found a tutorial online for how to make the head wings, but I ended up just kind of doing my own thing with them.  The head wings are made of 14 gauge wire that’s soldered to a metal headband.  The talons are made of sculpey, and there is vein detailing done with puff paint, on the back of both the head and back wings.  The frame for the back wings is made with 9 gauge wire.  When it came time to paint the wings, I was really inspired by some artwork I had come across of her, where she was in the sky and her wings appeared to have a purple and blue gradient look.  I really liked it so I tried to re-create it as the color-scheme for my wings, but the purple came out more pink-ish.  I still loved it though.  You can check out the WIP album for both sets of wings here.

I found purple tights at WeLoveColors, and made a bat stencil and  painted the tights myself.  That was really tricky!  I’ve since had to replace those tights with another pair that still needs to be painted.  I debuted Morrigan at Dragon Con in 2014, and about a month later, I did a photo shoot in her with Paul Cory Photography.  This was the first time I had truly gotten to see everything I had done, and I was incredibly happy!

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Photo by Paul Cory Photography

I wore her to Animazement in 2015 as well, and did an impromptu shoot with my friend Kim, of Midday Enchantments Photography.  You can see the rest of the photos from both shoots on my Facebook page.

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Photo by Midday Enchantments Photography

Currently, she’s “retired,” but not really.  I need to re-make the back wings.  But I am currently working on another version of Morrigan that I plan to debut in Spring 2017.  She’ll probably come out to play again someday, as I have really been wanting to do a night time shoot in her.  Until next time!!