Saturday, 31 March 2012

A Monochrome, Black and White, Flapper Costume for Trailer Trash! Prohibition Speakeasy

For the Trailer Trash! Prohibition Speakeasy I had a strange time trying to decide what to wear and I felt that the main issue I was facing was that age-old dilemma:

Vintage or Costume?

Now I like both of these things a lot (as you may be able to tell from my blog) and while I acknowledge that each has its place in my life this theme provided the unique challenge of a vintage themed costume party.

With so many options to choose from too! From Marilyn Monroe in Some Like it Hot or the glam of speakeasy parties in Boardwalk Empire or Great Gatsby I wasn't left wanting for inspiration. 

In the end I decided on a sort of hybrid costume part of which was a vintage (1980s I believe) black lace dress I have spoken about before here. But to give it a more costume-y feel I decided to accessorise the dress with white tights, white face paint and black and white feathers to try and give the allusion I was a flapper from a silent film.

So to begin with I put my hair up in that faux 20s short style, I then painted my face, neck and the tops of my shoulders using Snazaroo in white. It was quite tricky to get a good covering all over and it was very time consuming! But I think a bit of patience paid off.

I painted over my eyebrows and lips to help keep the covering even and then drew them back on using black eyeliner (special thanks to Mac Fluidline again!). I then painted my lips with a black lipstick from Miss Sporty. I was surprised by how well it lasted but I think this was mainly because of the white base on my lips and the fact I didn’t eat and or drink much (for a really good guide to black lipsticks check out L’s blogpost on the wide array out there).

Coupled with some brogues, black gloves and a string of pearls I thought the outfit was starting to look okay, but for the icing on the cake I made a board in a vague style of the silent movies saying ‘Can I take your picture?’ so I could try and put together an image gallery of costumes for my blog (post to follow soon).

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Mirror Mirror - Costumes, Cookies and (Prince) Charming

Let me start off by saying that I am a huge fan of fairy tales, be that stories from the Brothers Grimm, Disney animated features, modernised versions or satirical fusion of traditional with modern. So when the opportunity to review Mirror Mirror, the first of this years films based on the traditional Grimm tale of Snow White it was like an apple to my lips – I just couldn’t refuse!

The screening, over a week early, was part of a family fun morning at the Empire in London’s Leicester Square. I assume this was to get early feedback and quotes about the movie to publish with its release on the 2nd of April.

The Empire foyer was filled with balloon sculptors making sceptres for princesses and swords for the rather fewer princes, dwarfs dressed in costumes to welcome us, a prince and princess dressed for the occasion to show us into the screen and everyones favourite – free cookies from Millie’s!

For the event I dressed slightly apple themed with a green blouse, red cardigan and pencil skirt – and red sunglasses as going to the cinema in London makes me feel like a celebrity :D

So what did I think of the film? Well you can find that out here at Den of Geek so I wont go into too much detail.

But I would like to mention the costumes!

While I was underwhelmed by Julia Roberts’ first large gown and Snow’s dress my opinion began to change when I saw the beautiful yellow hood she wore for her first trip out of the castle.

Images from IMDB

From here things just kept getting better and better! The Dwarfs were all fantastic in individual hats that matched their personalities, the Queen having her corset tightened by a servant using a mechanical pulley… all great!

One of my favourite costume moments are the wedding of the Queen where her guests form across the Kingdoms all arrive dressed in psychedelic colours – complete with blue or pink lipstick to match with elaborate hairstyles and bustles. Without giving too much away the wedding is crashed by bandits and a lot of fun is made of the crazy getups. Its quite funny to watch and it is a lovely satire on some of the silly fashions and rituals we go through in the name of fashion today.

From a fancy dress perspective there is also a wonderful scene where there is a fancy dress ball held at the palace. This scene is amazing! With almost everyone wearing a white or off-white costume and the Prince as a black bunny and the Queen in a red proud peacock dress. Some of the costume choices are interesting, for example a prawn (I think), giraffe and others, but of course it is Snow White that shines through dressed as a swan - and believe me she couldn’t be less Bjork!

I read online that Julia Roberts pulled a muscle while moving in one of her large gowns that is certainly a price to pay for fashion.

Mirror Mirror is out on the 2nd of April and if you missed it – you can read my review here!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Vintage Events: Swing Ninjas Album Launch Party at The Mesmerist

Hi there folks, sorry for the delay in this post I’ve been rushed off my feet at work!

Anywho, last week I went to the Swing Ninjas album launch party at The Mesmerist pub/bar in Brighton. (This post contains a few artistic shots... mainly me learning to play with the aperture settings on my camera...)

The Swing Ninjas are a three-piece jazz band based in Brighton and play fantastic gypsy jazz and swing. Their album is a mix of covers and original tracks and features guest performances on vocals from the ladies at Swinging in Heels and some additional help from a bit of double bass and clarinet for the evenings performance.

For those of you thinking of a trip to Brighton any time soon, the Ninjas play at The Mesmerist every Wednesday evening.

I wore a 1940s style red polka dot dress for the event, but forgot to have any pictures taken (possibly letting the point of this blog slip my mind) but fortunately someone else did (taken from the facebook page for this event) along with it is the best picture I could find of the dress from a swing tea party a little while back. I apologise for my terrible dancing face... it would seem I was having a good time and that left me incapable of looking glamourous!

There was a lot of dancing to be had, with a large space to be filled with Lindy hoppers spinning. I didn’t get much dancing during the evening as I’ve been having a bit of a flair up of arthritis recently but I was able to catch pictures of many of the other dancers.

There was also a Charleston dance provided by the Brighton Lindy Hoppers:

Accapella performances from Swinging in Heels were a treat for the ears:

There was also a fire breathing fan-dance burlesque act from Miss Billie Rae if the Ninjas' tunes weren’t enough to get you excited.

I’d highly recommend the album for those that like that kind of thing, or for those looking for something to dance to.

More pictures (and uncropped versions of these) will be added to the facebook page here very soon, give it a like and tag whatever you like.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Collecting Vintage China: Durham Antiques and Collectors Fair

Something a little different now – a post that is not based on clothes!

I recently visited my home town of Durham for a job interview (more on that later) and utilised the trip as an excuse to spend a little time with my family.

So being at home talk inevitably turned to weddings and the collectables my mother and I have been acquiring for my wedding reception. Between us we now have many sets of china tea sets, cake stands, dishes and more! It has become a terrible addiction for the two of us so much so we made another trip to the local antiques fair to collect more items…

The fair is held once a month in New College Durham and has hundreds of stalls with all kinds of collectable pottery, glassware, jewellery and more - even better it only costs £1.20 for entry.

We arrived early for opening but it wasn’t so busy, I think the rain was keeping everyone away.

Prices varied enormously! There were stalls with high quality pieces for the collector but also ex-house clearance stock tables with everything for as little as £2.

There were lots of tea sets to be had. An item that appeared a lot was the Royal Albert Country Roses tea set which is a set that I love but my grandmother has a lot of so I always look at it longingly but know I cannot buy it. I did manage to get hold of a gorgeous hand painted green floral tea set with hand painted gold edging. The set was listed as £28 but lucky me manages to haggle so that I could get it for £20! I think this set is gorgeous, I’m not sure I want to use it for the wedding – maybe I’ll just keep it.

An even greater steal was a cute English tea set with a printed floral pattern in sort of blues and greens. This set was 6 pieces but with no jug of sugar bowl I was able to take it away for only £5! What a bargain!

I really liked all the glass dishes and jugs, in various colours and ranging in price from around £2 to over £30! I came across a large batch of milk jugs in glass and china for only £2 each, great for any mismatched tea set, and I large blue 20s look fruit salad bowl with individual dishes and a few green glass dishes for as little as £2 each.

Although I didn’t buy any jewellery there was plenty on offer from cheap faux pearl bracelets, vintage rings and antique watches.

Something I feel compelled to mention is the Sunderland Lustreware pottery that was on offer. I was born in the, then town, of Sunderland so I can’t help but feel some allegance with these items. They typically feature a religious phrase or passage and perhaps an image, the colour is typically a very distinctive pink. I am personally not a fan of the style, but I am proud of something that I has become so collectable from my home town.

My favourite stall by far was that of Busy Bee Studio! Busy Bee is also a lovely little website that sells vintage trinkets, hand made, painted shabby chic items and lots of rustic goodies. Their ethos was very well represented in their stall with all kinds of gorgeous things that helped me forget about the rain!

After browsing the website I discovered that they run crafting workshops, hold house parties and even have a gorgeous blog with loads of rustic vintage ideas.

I love them! Go have a look :D

I’m really glad to see this lovely example of the vintage scene in Durham and its good to know I will be returning to wonderful things when I move back to the North.

P.S. Here are some cool milk bottles my parents had delivered, with retro style adverts printed on them! Our milkman is cool. Oh and a picture of my cat...

Monday, 12 March 2012

Cosplay Events: Trailer Trash – Brighton’s Premier Fancy Dress Club Night Cabaret!

For anyone that reads my blog, you will know that I am a huge fan of the Brighton Komedia club night named Trailer Trash!

Trailer Trash! Is a club night that neatly combines music, circus acts, themed cabaret, popcorn and above all that FANCY DRESS!

My love affair with this night goes back to their second event Trailer Trash! Presents Tarantino.

This night was the first time I had ever attended anything like this. Glammed up usherettes handing out free popcorn, people dancing, movie clips and host Rosy Carrick ordering everyone to pay attention to the stage acts while dressed as a rather naughty version of Elle from Kill Bill. The evening had a wonderful range of acts from burlesque routine as a Geisha, a singer in the style of Alabama from True Romance, an all female recreation of Stuck in the Middle from Reservoir Dogs and areal circus acts from Kitty Peels.

Tarantino, Fabienne and Butch, me dancing and some of the acts (event images from here)

I attended the event with my friend Sadie and we had a great time, her dressed as Gogo the schoolgirl killer and I as Fabienne the hapless girlfriend of Butch in Pulp Fiction (of 'Zed's dead baby' fame). My favourite moment was when re-enacting the Jack Rabbit Slim's Twist Contest from Pulp Fiction! Which we won by the way ;D

With that one evening of wonders Trailer Trash! became something of a tradition for me – aided by the two free tickets we won as part of the Twist Contest, but also the announcement of the next theme Comic Book Flicks.

Trailer Trash! Presents Comic Book Flicks
Being the complete nerd I am I couldn’t resist this event as a theme. I outlined my costume in a previous post here but was so excited by the sound of it that I rallied my friends from work to team up for the event.

Group Shot!
Part of the group made X-men movie themed costumes while others included Sailor Moon, Wonder Woman, Captain Kirk, Robin and myself and Sadie as Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy.

Photos courtesy of Marcel Volker
The event was just as good as the first, with a Harley Quinn burlesque dancer, a musical act featuring the Joker and Rosy hosting in a phenomenal Tank Girl outfit.

I've said before that I actually managed to win the costume contest at this event, which ensured my attendance at the next one...

Trailer Trash! Presents Vampires Vs Zombies
Vampires vs Zombies seemed like a perfect theme for a belated Halloween event. As someone who doesn’t normally like Zombie films I decided to attend as a Vampire – Seline from Underworld (you can see my blog post about it here). This time the gory Trailer Trash Troupe were dressed as the undead, sporting signs reading Vampires Suck and Zombies Are Shit. Meanwhile the host handed out bloody guts (or possibly spaghetti, I hope it was spaghetti…) to the willing  Zombie attendies and introduced acts. The acts including a great Lost Boys burlesque and a fantastic aerial act to the intro tune of True Blood, but the night was made by the grand finale of a Vampire vs Zombies showdown to the tune of Michael Jacksons Thriller!

Seline, me as Seline and antics from the evening (image sources here)

Over the Christmas break I managed to miss the New Year Pirates of the Carribbean Special so I was more than ready to return to Trailer Trash! For their Baz Luhrmann event the following March.

Trailer Trash! Presents Baz Luhrmann
Dressed as an ‘undressed’ Can-Can girl from the El TangoDel Roxanne number form Moulin Rouge! I again managed to encourage a large group of friends to attend. My fiancĂ© wore the fake 'tache of the NarcolepticArgentinian to match my costume while many other outfits included variations on the Can-Can theme. But my friend Marcel as Drover from Australia complete with duck-billed platypus was one of my favourites!

Trailer Trash! Was then on hiatus for a year… but when it returned it was up to the usual tricks with a fantastic Sci-Fi theme! 

Trailer Trash! Presents Sci-Fi Apocalypse 
With costumes from Star Wars, The Matrix, Blade Runner and The 5th Element all thrown into the mix the choices seemed endless. In the end I plumped for a Rachael from Blade Runner costume (as seen here) simply because I already had the dress and her face was on the poster. I think this event was my personal favourite of all that I have attended, partly because the theme was broad enough to really get the crowd involved (and believe me they were!!) but also because the act quality was fantastic. The performance of the Diva from the 5th element with an acrobatic Lee Loo on the silks in particular, but other great acts were a belly dance from Princess Leia to Britney's I’m a Slave 4 U and a frightening cabaret performance from the 50 foot woman.

Photos from my blog post and Ashley Clark photography
Unfortunately that has been it for my Trailer Trash! experience. Work commitments and bad timing meant that I missed their last two events David Lynch and Vegas but a slightly freer timetable has meant that I will be attending the next event.

Trailer Trash! Presents Prohibition Speakeasy Special
The next event is the Speakeasy special, with vintage dancers, style, gangster glamour, electro-swing and more.

I terms of costume planning, any regular readers of my blog will know I have attended several of this type of event (and I have a gallery of my flapper appearences to follow shortly) so I have decided to go for something a little different.

Here’s a clue...

I’ll post after the event to let you know how my costume turned out and hopefully with some pictures form the event itself.

Trailer Trash! Presents Prohibition Speakeasy Special is on Friday the 23rd of March at Komedia Brighton - tickets available here.

Hopefully I’ll see you there!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Cosplay Costumes: LSCC Retro Cosplay or RetCos

After the efforts I made for Saturday’s cosplay at the London Super Comic Con I decided to take it easy on Sunday and wear something a little less costumey that combines two of my favourite things- Retro/Vintage and Cosplay.

The idea was initially sparked by my fiancĂ©, CJ of @Wintriguing, who not having the time or spare cash to buy a costume for the event decided to attend the convention as someone he already looked like and had the clothes for – Rick Jones, Captain Marvel’s onetime sidekick.

“A retroactive costume or retcos is dressing like a character that resembles you, rather than trying to look like someone completely different to you.”

And quite a good job at it he did :D

CJ... or Rick Jones?

Anywho I have since learned from this article that this kind of thing is called ‘closet cosplay’ by those in the know as it refers to making a costume from clothes you already own.

Of course the term retro-cosplay could  have other implications! I have noticed that as part of the continuing trend of cosplaying as alternate universe versions of characters - I have seen a lot of vintage versions of characters. A particular favourite of mine is this photograph, taken by Heather F, of an all lady version of the Batman rogues gallery dressed in vintage suits. It’s quite impressive!

My outfit
I was recently told by L. at the ZOMG! Bloggers Bash that with my hair I should dress as Rogue from the X-men. Rogue has had several costume changes during her time but she has always been famous in the comics for her blonde streak and green costume- in particular her costume from the 90s Jim Lee design that was featured in the X-men cartoon.

Left- Jim Lee's designs for Rogue in the 90s and Right: Terry Dodson's vintage marvel ladies

Inspired by Terry Dodson's vintage images of the Marvel ladies I felt like Rogue got a poor deal being reduced to the ‘bell boy’ in the image so it would be great fun to pose as a vintage rogue.

To start with I chose a green polka dot dress from Next, I bought this off eBay for a measly £7 about 4 years ago and I love it as it has a slightly ‘wiggle dress’ style and with the polka dots it has a very vintage day dress feel.

I then did vintage style make up with a pale complexion and a 50s flick eyeliner (good ol' Mac again) and red lips provided by RockalilyRockette Red. I then swept my hair up into two large victory rolls on the front of my head to emphasis the colour of the streak as much as possible. I also added a flower to add a bit more of a girly feel (and to cover a slightly dodgy area of pins at the back of one of the rolls).

With that all I needed was some seamed stockings and some classic Rogue gloves to make sure I didn’t drain anyone with my terrible touch.

I must have done something right as I received several compliments during the day.

And that's it. A bit of a lazy effort really but it was still fun!

Friday, 2 March 2012

Cosplay: London Super Comic Convention - Cosplay Gallery

The London Super Comic Con was a great place for cosplay!

So this will be a fairly wordless post where I have pictures of some of the cosplay I managed to catch on film...
(Feel free to email me if you are in any of these pictures and I can link to a web-profile or twitter etc. or if you want a copy of the picture)

Marvel Cosplay
Marvel heavily dominated the costumes, especially X-Men and Spiderman but it was nice to see quite a few different versions of Captain America and really high quality efforts for the Fantastic Four!

Special mentions go to- Loki for a very well made costume and for keeping in character! Lizard for even adding claws to his shoes, Glactus and The Thing for construction efforts and the Black Cat for managing to walk around all day in those boots! Phew!

Clockwise from top left: Captain America Super Soldier, 1940s Cap, Gambit, Rogue, Mr. Fantastic, Galactus, The Thing, Rogue, Lizard, Black Cat (?), Gentleman Venom, Black Cat, Spiderman, Logan (Wolverine)

Clockwise from top left: Mexican Deadpool, Rogue, Loki, Valkyrie, Scarlett Witch, Jubilee, Winter Soldier, Dare Devil, Rogue, Domino and Deadpool

DC Cosplay
For DC there were quite a few of the typical mix of Harley Quinns, Supergirls, Catwomen and Jokers (although I did not see one Superman!) but some nice appearances of the Earth 2 Flash and some great variations on classic DC and DCnU!

A personal favourite was New52 Supergirl, her costume was spot on and looked fantastic- even the slightly strange boots.

Clockwise from top left: The Joker, Harley Quinn, Earth2 Flash (by Saranga of Pai Blog), New52 Supergirl, Catwoman, Batman, Supergirl, Flash, Cheetah, Wonder Woman and Scarecrow

Other Cosplay
Although London Super Comic Con was mostly DC and Marvel characters, some other well known characters, most pf which have featured in comics at some point showed up too.

It was nice to see someone as famous as Kermit come to visit the convention he was really great and chatted to everyone and was very happy to pose for a picture for me as well as with Stan Lee. I'm not sure if the Brain Slug was technically cosplay but I loved it all the same!

Clockwise from top left: Lara Croft, Stormtrooper, Duke Nukem, Hellboy, Kermit, Brain Slug and She-Ra

My Favourite
Last but not least is my favourite costumes from the event, and ironically, they were the first guys I came across standing in the queue for Stan Lee at around ten minutes after the convention opened.

I think as a group they had all the bases covered, the biggest characters from Marvel, DC and IDW and although they were simply styled costumes a lot of detail had gone into the construction. I loved that each one was a different shape, and how they were all painted in a different style. Lets just face it- these guys were cool!

Left to Right: Optimus Prime, Batman and Iron Man

So that's it for the cosplay gallery, I'll be back later with a little piece about Retro-Cosplay.

Until then...

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