27th July 2012: Got bored apparently I so wish I could make this now...
Will need a lot more commissions for Kigu-style things before that ever happens though ATM. le sigh
I've been playing around with some left-over materials from other things and makign my own, much smaller than historically used, Pocket Hoop Pannier. It's working ok, but need plenty of adjustments before it can be used properly, but I do like the idea of using it as it saves money on bigger petticoats, is historically relevent, and just adds that little bit of shape needed for Belle's dress (it also provides opportunity for big useful pockets, but that's just an added extra).
I've made it much smaller than the historical model as Belle's dress does not have that kind of rigid structure to it, which means that it needs more work to maintain a more natural shape that won't get uncomfortable to wear.
In the meantime, I've been obsessively sketching how I want this to look, so have a digital drawing of my ideas. Have included a quick doodle to explain the Pannier a little and what it does to the overall look of the dress.
20th July 2012: History You can all blame Pirates of the Carribean for this. I was quite happy to just use my own brain and work out the costume plan like I have been, sketching away, till I re-watched curse of the black pearl the other day.
Of course I couldn't just watch it for Johnny Depp like a normal person, and started looking at the way Elizabeth's gowns go together, wondering if I could put my Belle dress together in a similar way. This then quickly spread into research mode and I've had websites and historical reference books in front of me for 3 days now.
Common features of 18th century french fashion feed very well into Belle's design (much better than most other dresses she wears in the film), so I know that I have a good standpoint on this. The most basic being the style of the entire dress, so similar to the robe a l'anglaise that was common at the time that I'd be mad not to use it; for anyone who is unfamiliar this is basically like a coat, fastened to a stomacher at the front of the bodice and left open over the top of an inner skirt (on which the flounce is added), so it doesn't have any lacing or back fastening. The fabric at Belle's neckline, so often mistaken for a gathered collar, is based on a Fichu (seen on the added image tucked into the bodice) which is basically a silk square neckercheif, often with a lace trim, folded in half and tied or pinned at the bust.
The cloak also, while it appears to be a simple christmas accessory for the snow, is actually based on a historical garment. This is a Mantelet, which was often worn over a robe a l'anglaise or robe a la francaise during the time period (there are even paintings displaying them in red velvet with a white fur trim). Interesting little factoid there.
So I'll be playing around with these ideas when constructing this costume, and taking this angle means I can work with historical ideas for the petticoats and internal structure of the gown which should be fun.
When I get a chance I'll go for a rummage around Birmingham for fabric ideas and possible patterns.
FuriePhoenix - 27th July 2012
i love this dress! I also agree with you about the 'Something There' song, its my fav from the film too!
Cosplay Island is a news, portfolio and resource site for UK cosplayers. Join for free today, create your cosplay profile and share your photos with other cosplayers, or browse thousands of costumes by our members. Stay updated with all the latest news from the costuming world and cosplay events.