Zo! Style Technician. August 18, 2008

It has dawned on me that in a few days I’ll be off to New York City for the second Dances of Vice festival. And here I was, still trying to understand what happened to 2008 – somehow it’s nearly fall, yet my brain is someplace in April, griping about the onset of summer. Regardless, I’m excited – the festival dress code is described as “decadent” and by the whiskers of Munchhausen, it’s been too long!

There is a persistent dichotomy within my wardrobe, a battle between the slick and the elaborate. Of late, the theatrical had given way to the modern and monochromatic, so it was the perfect time to welcome the extravagance of a three day costume event. Still, spending mountains of cash on clothes I’d scarcely wear, alluring as the concept may be, wasn’t feasible. In the best interests of my wallet, it was decided to compose costumes from the current contents of my closet and to make matching accessories. Result: photo-documentation and suggestions on how to make your own Rococo gear.

To acquire supplies, I braved LA’s garment district. The plan: accessory components for three outfits. The spoils: yards of velvet ribbon, fake flowers, beaded appliqué and two ostrich feathers. My inspiration for the costumes was, as I mentioned, Rococo. This period’s fashion embraced the ludicrous with wasp-waist corsets, towering wigs, crinolines and bows absolutely everywhere. I echoed some of this sentiment, see below.

1. Velvet bow with a hair extension clip sewn to the back. I treated all the ribbon edges with glitter nail polish, to prevent fraying.
2. Matching stockings
3. Vintage brooch, silk flowers, ribbon
4. Extra ribbon, never know when you might need one

Do click on for two more looks and tips.

1. Velvet bow with a hair clip sewn to the back, same as above
2. Ostrich feather, to be clipped into hair with bow
3. Choker – ribbon with beaded appliqué, ribbon and vintage brooch
4. Shoe ornaments – appliqué sewn onto wide ribbon

1. Another ribbon folded and sewn into a star-burst shape with a particularly gaudy appliqué on top, plus a couple of safety pins make for a perfectly obnoxious brooch
2. Ribbons sewn to the waist of a long tulle skirt, for gathering and pulling up the hem. Rarr!

None of us play dress-up nearly as often as we should, people! While finishing these up today, I realized how much I’d missed the simple pleasure of just making ridiculous things for fun. A few hours and a little bloodshed spawned some unique pieces I’ll probably find reasons to wear well after the festival is over.

19 Responses to “Zo! Style Technician. August 18, 2008”

  1. Chee Ann Says:

    I love the red shoes! I was curious — who are they made by?

  2. Zoetica Says:

    Chee Ann, they’re actually the F21 shoes from this older ZST post.

  3. Lydia Says:

    None of us play dress-up nearly as often as we should, people!

    I agree. It’s tragic! I spent yesterday making flowered and feathered headdresses for a dance performance. I was so pleased with them I had a moment of “Is there any chance I could get away with wearing these at the office?”

  4. Zoetica Says:

    Lydia, if you find yourself wearing your amazing-sounding headdress at the office, we must have photos!

  5. yume ninja Says:

    that’s awesome. you found so much great stuff to use! when i go down there, i dont’ have 1/2 the luck. bravo. i can’t wait to see you post pictures of your entire ensamble~!

  6. Zoetica Says:

    Yume, there are a couple of trim places that are absolute goldmines.

    The most inclusive one is Michael Levine but it’s a bit pricey, understaffed and crowded. However, if you don’t want to spend hours wandering, you could get just about anything there.

  7. Ed Autumn Says:

    I find that I do spend a great deal of time pouring out ideas and costumes, especially these past couple of months. But since I have no idea how to use a sewing machine or actually construct any of my designs I just stick to the sketch books ;)
    It’s always fun to see the wonders made by others though! :D

  8. Erin Says:

    I actually play dress up on a daily basis, as I’m a classic lolita..though sadly, once it becomes a daily thing, the petticoats, bloomers and ridiculously ornate dresses just become everyday wear. I guess I’ll have to break my outfit barriers in a different direction in order to truly play dress up again!

  9. Zoetica Says:

    Ed, for these I just used a needle and thread – no fancy technology necessary! I actually end up hand-sewing most of the time when constructing things – my machine skills are mediocre at best.

    Erin, mmm, frilly. I love petticoats and bloomers, too! But yes – Lolita is about as dressed up as it gets – what can be done to out-dress that?

  10. Beth Says:

    Ooh, nice work!

    I’m kind of ashamed of myself, I have no idea what I want to be for Halloween. Usually I have the outfit made by this point…

  11. Vivacious G Says:

    Siiigh!!!! I can’t wait to see the finery in full on you. I know you will return armed with marvelous photos so we can all experience it. Motherhood for me doesn’t go well with daily dressing up, but I do plan to go back to putting more effort in what I’m wearing on a regular basis, as you’ve inspired me fit to burst by now.

  12. Zoetica Says:

    Beth, I think you’ve just inspired me to re-use one of these outfits for Halloween, hah!

    Vivacious G-money, you always look great. Your kid is lucky to have such a stylish mommy.

  13. Beth Says:

    Costume recycling is always best! I have used iterations of my junior prom dress on (at least) three different occasions, with psychedelically different motifs each time… gives one a real sense of accomplishment (+ frugality!) I must say.

  14. rubyredshoes Says:

    I make feathery sparkley facinators and hair pieces every year for my friends and I, for the spring carnival in Melbourne, which are horse races where all the girls get really dressed up and wear dresses and pretty hair things.

    I think its more than possible to wear things like this everyday, added to a trench or a lace slip with a tone of layered vintage jewellery and pearls…..

  15. Gothic Charm School Says:

    I am strongly in favor of people dressing up every day. My daily outfits include petticoats, ruffled skirts, and a top hat of some sort. (Bless the tech industry and its complete lack of dress codes!)

    But as Erin pointed out above, once you commit to that level of fancy wardrobe for every day, coming up with REALLY elaborate outfits for special events becomes quite the challenge.

    I love the hair ornaments you created, especially the one with the velvet bow and feather.

  16. jessu Says:

    Very nice! That’s a really stellar applique.

    I’m trying to finish the skirt from hell. My train for NY leaves at 6am saturday morning, and I’m thinking friday might be an all-nighter.

  17. Zoetica Says:

    Beth, yes! And I generally feel shame when buying new clothes, considering the unmanageable state of my overstuffed closet. Frugality – win.

    RubyRedShoes, I have a feeling you’d fit right in at the Dances of Vice festival!

    Gothic Charm School, I’m with you. I love dressing up for every occasion. Life is just too short for dull clothes, damn it.

    Jessu, perhaps we’ll run into each other at the festival?

  18. Stacy K Says:

    Fantastic! Like Erin, I used to be a full-time classic lolita… until my stodgy office job got in the way. Dressing up remains one of my favorite pastimes, and I think a concerted effort is needed to bring a little more glam to my everyday office wear.

    Have a wonderful time this weekend, Zo!

  19. Snoozington Says:

    You MUST post yourself in your whole outfit… I am busting to see! Anyone want to buy me a plane fare from Aus to NY?