Revolutionary Girl Utena
COMPLETED: May 2013
DEBUTED: FanimeCon 2013
WORN TO: FanimeCon 2013
CONSTRUCTION TIME: ~ 2 months
The initial idea came to me when I was talking about Utena Cosplay with a friend. She expressed an interest in making Utena's big fluffy yellow dress from the 'fairytale prologue' segments and I, eager to have someone else to cosplay one of my favorite series with, jumped on the opportunity by saying that I would cosplay Dios. We decdied to go all the way by going full shadow-form using zentai suits. Ultimately, the decision to make these costumes evolved when I decided that we should do a skit with them, so that we would have an excuse to show them off on-stage, enter them for craftsmanship, and do something a little more interesting than a walk-on. This also gave me an excuse to Fancy the Crap Out Of It.
Scroll down, or Click Here to read about how I made this costume.
The wig is an Aphrodite in Purple-Vanilla fusion from Epic Cosplay. The only styling needed was to trim the bangs a bit, and set them with steam/curlers and a little bit of back-combing.
The base white fabric for the jacket, pants, and cape are a bridal brocade from JoAnn that I've been DYING to have an excuse to use. All of the blue trim/pockets fabric was a beautiful shantung that I picked up at a local fabric store. The trim is all done with seams, rather than my usual applique methods, which I actually liked for a change. I customized the jacket from combining 2 different commercial jacket patterns; one with the seams that I wanted, and one with the collar that I wanted. I made about 4 mockups of the jacket, to get it tailored to my bound chest and waist, without any sort of weird pulling or puckering. The entire thing is faced on the bottom and up the front, fully lined, and features my first attempt at doing bound button holes! I added little extras to the jacket, including a white braid sewn by hand to the cuffs. The collar features a metallic gold braid which I hand-sewed on in place of the gold stripe seen in the reference image. I also elected to take anything yellow in the original design, and interpret it as gold. This carried on out to the epaulettes, which are arguably my favorite piece of the costume:
The base is 2 layers of foam core, wrapped in the same blue shantung, with the fringe glued directly to it. Because of the style we were taking these costumes in, I decided to go with a more realistic large fringe, rather than create the cigar-like tassels like I had done for my duelist-Utena. The top of the fringe is covered by a strip of thin upholstery-like foam, covered in a hand-made bias tape of the same shantung, secured into a full ring that slipped over foam core base. The gold center pieces were made from a pair of plastic bangle bracelets with a thick piece of card stock in the top to make it solid. Instead of groves like in the reference art, I replaced those strips with individual strips of the same metallic gold braid sewn on the collar. The bars are glued directly under the foam core, and are made of silk dupioni, and trimmed in that same gold braid again. The whole shebang is attached to the jacket with 2 large snaps, one at the shoulder, and one up by the collar. (Many thanks to Binkx for all of her insight on making epaulettes!)
Because of the prominent rose motif throughout the series, we looked for as many places as possible to incorporate roses. I created custom buttons using resin roses that I found online (in 2 different styles/sizes) which were used down the front of the jacket, as well as on the cuffs, and the shoulder bars. The roses were also incorporated in the lining of my half-circle cape, in the form of a red rose-patterned brocade (this same brocade in different colors, was used by both the Utena's in our skit, in different parts of their costumes). The cape was attached to the jacket by 2 pin-backings which I sewed to each end. The broach was probably one of the more time-consuming pieces; I first sculpted a positive out of polymer clay, sanded, and tired several times to make a good mold. I must have cast that thing at least five times before I finally got a good, clear cast. I sanded, and painted the back of the jewel with nail polish. The setting was made from 3 layers of craft foam, with the top 2 layers burned out in the center so that the jewel could literally sit in and under the edge of the frame. It was painted in resin and then colored with gold spray paint. The bead below it was make from polymer clay, and the cap on the chord was a sharpie cap that I primed and spray painted to match. The chord was something I found in the home dec section. I bought a thin metallic gold cord, which I twisted through it to give it a little extra depth. The anchor on the end of the chord was sculpted by hand, again from polymer clay. I sanded it, primed, and painted it to match. The chord is secured to the shoulder with a jewelry 'lobster claw' that's sewn to the chord, and secured on a safety pin that I attached to the jacket just beneath the epaulette.