Steamwhat?

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So, I’ve been thinking of what costume to make for DragonCon this year since…pretty much the drive home from DragonCon last year. Costuming is something I’ve always loved. There was a quote I heard a long time ago that I’ve always wished I had written down, but the gist was that costume designers take foil and paste and turn them into jewels and crowns. I love that idea of transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. I also find that I prefer having guidelines when I’m doing something creative. I don’t want boundaries exactly, but I like working off of a theme. I like taking a character that might exist in a comic book or cartoon and reinterpret and translate it into something that might exist in real life.

I had been toying with the idea of making a costume for the Baroness from GI Joe mainly because I wanted a character with long black hair so I didn’t have to wear a wig (late August in Atlanta is hot enough. I don’t need a mass of synthetic hair on my head trapping in heat). After looking at some pictures from last year’s DragonCon, though, I remembered that every third girl at DragonCon dresses up as the Baroness (with Catwoman and Wonderwoman being the other two–OK, I’m exaggerating a bit, but it’s overdone). Also, I don’t know if I can bring myself to prance around in a skin-tight catsuit. 

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Umm…yeah, sure. I can pull off that look…

So, I’ve decided to do a steampunk Baroness instead. I’m no expert in steampunk, but it’s basically a sub-genre of sci-fi/fantasy in which history is reimagined so that technology is achieved through the use of mechanical devices (like the steam engine) instead of electricity. From a design standpoint, it involves Victorian aesthetics and whimsical clockwork weaponry and machines. Think bustles, gears, brass, goggles, and corsets.

I tried to imagine what the Baroness would be like in a steampunk world. She’s a military commander, but she’s also feminine. I researched Victorian military uniforms and found this gorgeous Napoleonic Prussian uniform (eh, so it’s a few decades off) that I took my inspiration from for the jacket:

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Of course, every good steampunk outfit includes a corset, and I wanted to have the COBRA symbol on the front of it, so I decided to crop the jacket. As for the bottom of the outfit, I figured the Baroness would still wear a bustled skirt because she is still a lady, but it’d be open in front because she has to kick ass. So, this is what I came up with:

 
 I’ll post updates on my progress in my next post.
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