Why I chose to make this costume:
My friends introduced me to "Dawn" years ago and I've always loved the depth behind the story and character, not to mention the gorgeous artwork. I am such a sucker for wings and corsets haha. Though I have been backstage helping my friends in past Dawn contests, and even loaned out my personal wings to a couple of ladies, I've never gotten to enter the contest myself or make a Dawn costume, until this year. I decided to go for it this time because I had the idea for a concept, a theme if you will, and because I had the time/money to actually make everything. Also, since I was local to Dragoncon this year, I was able to make multiple trips from/to home in order to bring the prop/costume/wings.
How I made this costume:
My concept was "The Birth of the Goddess", and I really wanted to make this ancient fantastical looking egg which could fit a person + wings. Three awesome friends of mine helped me with the construction of the egg—Brian, Tigger, and Tise. We built a wooden 3D form first and then painstakingly cast a shell over it with fiberglass and plastic. After cutting and sanding the edges, I covered the egg in felt on both sides and hand painted it for shading and texture. Tise and I spent hours gluing vines and leaves and all sorts of adornments on it, making the shell look all sparkly and magical. Brian and Tigger devised a platform which has a Lazy Susan built in so that the egg could be turned around and rolled, even with me in it. I helped cut the wood and cover it in green velveteen.
This egg prop took far more time (and budget) than the costume and wings combined.
The costume was based around the theme, and I thought a newly born Goddess would be pure and white, with no discernible armor or weapons. I made a steel boned corset with white faux leather, with a custom bust line that was inspired by many of Linsner's drawings. The trims and lace were all hand sewn on, and dyed/cut/embellished. I drafted patterns for the front tier pieces, choker and arm bands, all of which were made with the matching faux leather. I also draped the skirt. I cast ornament pieces in plastic and painted them silver, antiqued them, and attached them to various pieces on the costume, such as the corset, front 3-tier pieces, choker and arm bands. Much of the time went into attaching matching lengths of chains to the skirts, choker, arm bands and wristlet. I used 4 different sizes of chains. In keeping with classic Dawn imagery, I also used o-rings and o-ring chains. Even my shoes have o-rings on them, lol.
I made my wings based on how Linsner often drew Dawn's wings, with the defined arch, spread position, but long trailing feathers at the bottom as well.
Lastly, I also created the signature rose on Dawn's right arm.
For the day of, I used puffy paint to make the tears, and as usual, I did my own makeup/wig styling for this costume.
Thoughts on this costume:
First off, a huge Thank You to the Dawn Look-A-Like contest staff for allowing me to bring that near 7 foot tall egg on a rolling platform into the competition.
It was definitely interesting to try and move in this outfit. The wings had quite a wing span and I felt so bad for taking up space as well as accidentally brushing into people. I also could hardly see anything due to double stacked contacts and the hair over my right eye. Not to mention the tight corset and wing harness shoved underneath. But the contest ran so smoothly and I am so grateful for all the help I received backstage. Congratulations to all the winners!!!
I really loved seeing the different beautiful costumes backstage and only wish that I had been mobile enough to chat more with the girls.
Thank you also to Brian Boling for the beautiful location photos from the photoshoot we did in October 2009, as well as the most recent cemetery photoshoot!