Egads, I haven’t posted here since Costume College 2015. I did go to CoCo last year, but it was super-abbreviated — I flew in late Friday, taught one class Saturday morning, wore a modern cocktail dress to the Gala, and drove back with Sarah and Francis on Monday. I didn’t make any costumes last year, despite attending two GIANT costume events: the SCA’s Golden Beltane (a 10-day camping event) and the Fête Gallant (an 18th-century costume ball in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles).
Perhaps the fact that during 2016 I had the most awful job ever in my career, plus in the real world, America was in the process of electing a giant fucking dickwad for president, I dunno, that all sucked out any creative passion from my life. Which has continued through this year and Costume College 2017, where I put in the bare minimum of effort, though at least I had the PTO from a much better employer to enjoy the long weekend with my friends.
I hadn’t originally been enthused by CoCo’s 1960s theme. As I often state on Frock Flicks (where 98% of my free time goes these days), it’s less fun to explore historical time periods when you’ve actually lived through part of them. But then, as the event approached and I wandered through the vintage clothing store in my neighborhood, I lucked out into finding kind funky, kinda cute ’60s clothes that actually fit my fat ass and that I kinda dug. Plus, friends came up with group costume ideas (bad girls! stewardesses!) related to the ’60s’ theme that amused me. So I was sucked in.
My other goal with CoCo ’17 costumes was comfort and laziness. Usually, my motto is “Beauty Is Pain,” but when you have a sentient can of Cheese Wiz with its stubby fingers on the nuclear button, well, why add to your emotional distress? So I picked a lot of easy, breezy caftans and crazy shit to wear on my head.
Coincidentally, another group costume kind of fit into that theme, both comfortable and with weird shit on the head — it was our Handmaid’s Tale group. A few friends and I were all equally obsessed with the Hulu show because, in these terrible times, this book-based TV series serves as both catharsis and a startling call to action. The production design and costumes vividly bring the horror to life. We all bought a simple red maxi dress off Amazon.com, and then I designed and constructed the coifs and bonnets for all of us, while Loren bought and modified the bags.
Really, all I made this year was headgear, everything else was purchased (either vintage or Amazon Prime). I did have grand plans of making a Chinese 18th-century courtesan outfit inspired by Empresses of the Palace, but I had not one, but two epic fails sewing that. However … next year’s Costume College theme is “Dressing the Royals.” OMG WOW YES PLS.
Not only can I retry the Empresses outfit, but my next thought was Mary Queen of Scots, because I’ve been wanting to make the pink gown for-EVAR. If I somehow get my act together, I could make it for the SCA’s 12th Night in January and get double use out of the outfit (always a win).
The next idea, well, actually the first, is from Alyxx, who suggested that she do Queen Elizabeth I and a bunch of us cross-dress as her male courtiers. Y’all know how much I adore cross-dressing, so I said ‘hell yes!’ The one thing I bought in the Garment District this year was a changeable pink silk inspired by (the late) Robert Hardy‘s Leicester suit in Elizabeth R.
Another one I want do to is Countess Erzsébet Báthory. I’ve had a Pinterest board about her for ages because I’ve wanted to do her iconic costume. That would probably be the easiest one, hah.
Oddly enough, no fantasy / sci-fi royalty immediately strike my fancy. Drag queen royalty are a possibility though, either Sharon Needles or Bianca del Rio, yaaaas queen.
Was it just having the right event and theme to get me inspired? I don’t know. I’m certainly not inspired or motived by the SCA anymore. I love the 16th century, it’s always my costuming “home” and first love, as you can see from these royals ideas, but they’re not things I could do in the SCA except at the one, indoor hotel event per year. The SCA is more slogging, schlepping, and work, less fun dress-up and interactive play.
Then there’s renfaire, where I do get a lot of dress-up and interactive play, but I’m constrained by playing the one part I have with the group I’m in. Don’t get me wrong, I love the hell out of Bella Donna, they’re some of my favorite people on earth. But I can’t wear different gowns or be different characters, obviously.
Local groups like the GBACG and PEERS simply haven’t had an event I’m interested in in years. Yes, I could run an event, and if / when I get a specific idea, I’ll do so. But the kind of events I want to plan are more of the ‘rent a mansion in a foreign country and lounge around with my 10 BFFs’ a la this or this.
Don’t know what it all means as far as my level of inspiration and motivation, except I feel like I’m on a tiny upswing of having some, and if it’s coming from the CoCo royals theme, I’ll take it!