Cosplay: Concept & Construction Part 1

Formulating the Idea

by Durrilion

Since I was a child I have always loved costumes.  My personal favorites often seem to reflect historical and/or fantastical themes.

In my 20’s I joined the Society for Creative Anachronism which provided opportunities to wear Medieval style clothing.

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My 14th Century English look at an SCA event in northern AZ

Several years later I became friends with people in Amtgard, an organization that allowed more fantasy elements in one’s character and wardrobe.  Thanks to my friends I gained a better appreciation of Tolkien’s writings.  Our small band was primarily focused on the Elves of Middle Earth.  Everything was based on Tolkien’s work.  Thus Durrilion was born.

A number of years passed, with my Noldorin alter ego laying in limbo, until I used the name for my World of Warcraft avatar – a Nightelf hunter.  Fast forward to early March 2016.  An SCA friend of mine was making a generic elf cosplay to wear with a few other people at Phoenix Comicon.  I was excited and originally offered to be a handler.  I already had some Tolkien-esque wardrobe pieces from my time in Amtgard.  Very quickly after joining this new band of Elves, I went from being the handler to being a member of the group.

My plan was to rework existing pieces in order to save time, since everyone was already well under way with their outfits.  However the pieces I had needed so much work, and weren’t in the main color palette, so it was easier to create a whole new ensemble.  After digging through boxes, and notes, I eventually found canon reference materials.  Combining those materials with internet searches, I worked out my plan for Durrilion’s cosplay.  Fortunately I still had the pattern (now out of print) from when the Lord of the Rings movies came out.

The One Pattern!
The One Pattern!

Durrilion is a created name using Tolkien’s dictionary of the languages of Middle Earth, and his heraldry fits in with the Art Deco stained glass style of the other known Elven heraldry of that world.

Durrilions heraldry
Durrilion’s heraldry

 

All I needed were the right fabrics, and accessories.  I can’t count the number of hours I spent at Joann Fabrics, and other shops to find just the right material in the perfect color.  Then I had to figure out the hair, and makeup.  Thanks to a google search for the hair images I had a general style direction that was easier to see than on Elrond’s dark hair.

One idea for hair.
One idea for hair.
A second idea.
A second idea.
A third idea.
A third idea.

Ultimately I used an image of Lord Elrond as inspiration for the overall look of the garments, and went with  a light to dark color scheme, to reflect the pattern in the heraldry.

My inspiration photo. Found via google search.
My inspiration photo. Found via google search.

Everyone else was using various shades of blue, silver, and white.  Perfect! Durrilion’s heraldry had that same palette.  As each layer of the outfit came together I continued looking for fabrics for the other layers.  Living in Arizona, I kept hearing predictions for the heat on the weekend of Comicon.  Taking my experience from the SCA out here, I used as many natural fibers as possible.  Even so, I knew I would be hot, but at least I would look good.

My fellow Elves wanted to see pics of my ‘Elf’.  Other than the work in progress pictures I posted on my facebook page, the only image I had to share was the inspiration picture of Elrond.  Well, they saw the picture and I went from being Durrilion, a ‘could have been in Middle Earth’ type, to actually cosplaying Lord Elrond.

While it was a bit frustrating, I rolled with it.  My excitement to do this was greater than my desire to correct their assumptions.

How did I put everything together? Stay tuned as I break down the construction of my Lord Elrond cosplay.

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