I've seen the LOTR Symphony twice before, but that was 1) several years ago, 2) before I knew how to sew/make costumes, and 3) just select pieces played from the soundtrack in a standard three hour-ish long concert. When I first found out about the Symphony Silicon Valley's three concert, play-along-live-to-the-movies extravaganza, I knew right away that I had to go to all three and dress up. After all my sadness about the movies being over and done with, it was one last chance to be immersed in the world of Middle Earth with other equally enthusiastic fans. Well, the concert series took place last weekend and it was everything I ever wanted. The music itself was incredible, of course; Howard Shore's score is a masterpiece and the musicians deserve all the props for learning that much music and performing it so perfectly over the course of three very long concerts. But this is not a music reviewing blog, it's a record of my creative output, so let's recap the costumes instead!
For Saturday's FOTR concert, since the focus is on introducing hobbits, I pulled out my hobbit maiden costume again, but added a dark green apron for another layer over the skirt. It's a small thing, but I think it really helps to pull it all together. Fashion bloggers (and San Francisco tour books) are always harping on the importance of layering and apparently that applies to hobbits, too.
|So excited about the series of concerts I'm about to attend! I love that the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts looks so Rivendell-y in architecture. Okay, they were probably just aiming for Art Nouveau, but then elves are very Art Nouveau.|
My companions (only two, alas, not eight, and I am not so fortunate in my friends as to have elves and dwarves in my company) were my sister Emily and her boyfriend; they went a decidedly more offbeat route with their costumes:
|Can you tell what they are? Travis is the black hole down which Pippin (Fool of a Took!) dropped the bucket and skull in Moria, and Emily is an assortment food from the seven hobbit meals!|
|A hobbit and her breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, and supper.|
|A shortcut to mushrooms! Also non-broken carrots, ashless-tomatoes, and some nice crispy bacon! I don't think hobbits had lobster or farfalle pasta, but then IKEA wasn't really aiming for making hobbit meal plush toys, I don't think.|
For Sunday, I decided that if I was going to do this, I would do it right, so I brought two costumes (and a breast pump and freezer bag!) with me so that I could have different outfits for TTT and ROTK. Since we were sitting by the same people, by the time ROTK rolled around, they had definitely noticed that I was
I had originally planned to make Arwen's mourning gown for TTT (I even had fabric stashed for it!), but time and SHB got the better of me and it never happened. This just means that there has to be another LOTR event in my future, right? Anyway, I settled for an easier elven look and just added the stereotypical long elven sleeves to an existing floor-length white gown. Drafting the sleeves was easy enough, and I cut them out of white rayon jersey from the stash so that it would be sufficiently flowy without needing a hem. The most difficult part was actually unpicking the old sleeves, which I originally sewed on with a stitch length setting of 1, for reasons unknown to current-day me. Totally worth it, though, because something about those sleeves reads instant elf!
|Here's what the top part of the sleeve pattern looked like. They ended up being 45" long from the top of the sleeve cap to the bottom and floated beautifully behind me when I walked.|
|So swooshy and fun when I'm moving!|
|I got carried away with flapping my sleeves and realized I could use them the way Zhang Ziyi does in House of Flying Daggers.|
Of course, the whole elven princess look was also helped along tremendously by a lovely delicate wire circlet made by my friend Kristy (Etsy store here, should you wish to order something similar for yourself; she does custom orders). She only had a week to make it (on top of her day job) so I'd say it was pretty great for a rush job!
|A close-up of the circlet. The best thing was that it stayed on by itself; no need for bobby pins!|
|If you thought the stand I had it on was weird, it's because it's a plush octopus (not me-made, though). Even octopi deserve to feel like pretty pretty (elven) princesses?|
I loved how swooshily elegant I felt in my Galadriel-esque gown, but I must confess that I was most excited about my ROTK costume. I decided to reprise my very first costume, the Eye of Sauron, which I originally wore for the ROTK midnight showing as a college student. Has it really been that long since these movies came out?! I find it incredible that Emily is older now than I was when these movies came out. She went offbeat again, dressing as the web-bound Frodo, complete with a giant stuffed spider.
|Emily made the spider and pinned the white blanket around herself and penguin-waddled up the walkway of the theater...now that's dedication!|
|"Looks like old Shelob has been having a bit of fun!"|
|Don't worry, I took the eye off before the concert started so that people behind me could see!|
|Impromptu shot with other dressed up fans after the show!|
The first time I dressed as the eye as an enthusiastic but clueless college student, I was surprised that people kept stopping me for pictures; that was my first experience with the fun of cosplaying and in retrospect that was what got me hooked. This time, things were no different and I could barely get two feet during intermission without being stopped. In fact, many people said it was the best LOTR costume they'd ever seen, which was gratifying, of course, but probably not entirely fair to people who spend hours upon hours making elven armor or hand-embroidering trims. After all, my costume cost less than $10; I merely used Sharpies on a balloon again and used fishing wire to suspend it between two papier-mache horns. Tape and junk mail, that's all I ever use for my costumes!
|I used red, orange, gold, and black sharpies to create the flaming eye look.|
Nothing says all-seeing evil like a latex sack full of my breath...
|It turns out that plush red sea creatures are just perfect for displaying costume headpieces. I used hair ties to secure the horns to a headband, meaning that I can just reuse it again as a normal headband at a later point if I wish.|
|My super low-tech rig for getting the eye to look like it's floating between the horns.|
|"The eye was rimmed with fire, but was itself glazed, yellow as a cat's, watchful and intent, and the black slit of its pupil opened to a pit, a window into nothing." And an adorable red lobster.|
I am so grateful for Mr. Cation being willing to be on duty for so long so that I could enjoy myself.It was hard to be away from SHB for so long but it was so worth it!
|I know, I know, I should've dressed him in his hobbit costume (and moved the Duraflame log)...|