Awhile back a bunch of us decided to enter the Historical Masquerade at Costume Con 32 in Toronto. We wanted to find a theme that included a lot of characters that would enable everyone to choose their favorites while still being a part of the group. We settled on The Wizard of Oz, and decided on 18th century as our means of interpreting it. The results were pretty cool.
We had a wonderful time performing and the audience seemed to enjoy it as well. The Tornado, the Scarecrow and I all won worksmanship awards for our outfits, which was really nice. The group also won the coveted “Spazzy” award from the Sick Pups, which is not given out very often.
I am going to post a photo of each outfit and discuss a little bit about it. The photos have been taken from all over, and I am uncertain as to who took each of them. If you see a photo that you have taken and want credit for it, please let me know and I will note it accordingly.
You couldn’t have The Wizard of Oz without Dorothy. The lovely Artemisia Moltabocca was our Dorothy and she did an excellent job. She wore a polonaise and festive hat with poppies, and carried a basket. Her shoes were purchased in the LA Garment District and embellished with light-up bows that only glowed when the lights went down at the end of the performance.
Everyone knows that Dorothy needs her dog, so Jess-Jess decided to be Toto. She and I draped a pet en l’air of velvet and knit fur trim, and a skirt with a basketweave to mimic Dorothy’s basket. The mask was found in a little shop in Venice.
We decided from the beginning that we needed the Tornado, as it was an essential part of the story. Jess F signed on to play the Tornado and took it to a whole new level. She made her fabric by hand felting it, she installed a number of LEDs that made the entire thing look like it was shooting lightening, and she built a tornado wig which spun around and even had a little cow on it. It was AMAZING.
We needed a Glinda to meet Dorothy in Oz, and Glynnis did a great job of meshing a court gown with the persona from the movie. She was very pink and sparkly. Her wig was so good that I could not tell where her hair ended and the wig began.
Chelsey had not been to a Costume Con before and was talked into going to this one. She elected to do a gender-bent version of a member of the Lollipop Guild. Her polonaise was so cute, and her hat was covered with pipe-cleaner lollipops. She was truly adorable.
Dorothy has to meet her friends in the forest, and for this we recruited Cassandra, Samantha and the Cheap Chick. Samantha played the Scarecrow and made the most amazing costume. She made a wig from some sort of husk, embroidered her stomacher with raffia, and used luau skirts for trim. She also did an excellent job of getting into character.
Cassandra was the Tin Woman and she chose to lead more with a heart theme rather than the oil can motif. She made a beautiful heart fan, wore a mask from Venice and created a beautiful 2 piece outfit out of some really stunning fabric. She even had a little heart shaped bow mouth out of lipstick.
The Cheap Chick was the lion and proudly wore her Badge of Courage. She had a challenging outfit with velvet and silk and fur and things cut on the bias, and the end result was truly beautiful. I was very proud of what she accomplished.
To present the award to Dorothy, we chose the Wizard. Clare came up with a very ambitious idea early on and she managed to knock it out of the park. Her panniers were almost 9 feet wide. She had a light-up Emerald City on one side of her skirt, and a swagged opening showing a puppet in the middle. She also had a hot air balloon in her wig. She was amazing.
As our announcer, we chose the Winged Monkey, and Nell did a marvelous job. The only one of us to do menswear, she made everything accurate from the inside out. Her jacket was beautifully tailored and her fez/hat was perfect.
And the story would not be complete without the Witch. Originally Laura V and I were going to be the Wicked Witch of the East and the West, but she is busy gestating a tiny costumer and could not make the trip. Therefore I chose the Wicked Witch of the West and again found myself in face paint for another masquerade.
The amazing Carol Salemi did my make-up and it was screen perfect. I chose to make my outfit from the 1790’s. I really wanted her to look scaly and militaristic and different from everyone else. I started collecting leather pieces from the thrift store two years ago and took apart many leather skirts, coats and pants to make this outfit. The lining is all heavy black satin. The skirt is covered in 250+ leather scales and the sleeves are covered in 200+ scales. A big thanks goes to Erica and Jess-Jess for drawing and cutting out scales one very long afternoon and evening. The jacket was inspired by several different portraits and extant gowns and I took bits and pieces from each. The collar has beetle wings sewn to it. The front of the jacket closes with hooks and eyes and has green jewels and pearls sewn down the front. The sleeves have a distinctly “Copacabana” feel to them.
It was not possible to really put a lot of boning in the garment without stitching all over the leather, so I just let the leather do it’s thing. I also wore a green fichu at my neck made of chiffon, green gloves (so I wouldn’t have to color my hands) and a green satin underskirt with beaded trim. Under that I had a quilted petticoat AND a big poufy chiffon crinoline. The coat was so heavy that it still didn’t pouf out as much as I would have liked. It was like wearing an entire cow.
The hat was inspired by a 1790’s stovepipe style woman’s hat that was worn with a redingote. It was made from buckram, a straw hat base and millinery wire. I sewed the remaining leather petals onto the buckram to give it a crazy patchwork effect and gathered the extra green satin to the base. There are various jewels, brooms, a bike and an hour-glass sewn on the front with some green feathers for detail. I deliberately crunched it to make it look like she had been wearing it awhile.
The wig was the Glinda wig from Arda (oh, the irony!). I had bought a different wig and attempted a big hedgehog style, but it made me look like Buckwheat from SNL. Running out of time, the Cheap Chick let me borrow her Fortune Teller wig and it worked beautifully.
I won a worksmanship award for Best Use of Recycled Materials, which was fun. I doubt the costume will make many other appearances as it was incredibly hot and heavy to wear, although very cool looking.
I was so proud to complete with these amazing ladies. They really bring out the best in me as a costumer and make me strive to do better than I thought I could.
Thank you to my wonderful friends.