The Ghosts of Costumes Past and Present

Happy Hallowe'en everybody!

Hi to my new followers, Jen, and Katie Lake, the Costume Designer who worked alongside my Production Design for Stop/Eject. She's a very talented new colleague and, even better, a new friend. Hop on over to her website for more information:

The news down my end is that the Jar of Angels edit is looking fabulous, plus I have started the pre-production for my next directorial project, Ashes - plus there have been some interesting developments in the world of my last directorial short, The Opening Night - so more on those to follow soon! 

However, for today's blog, I wanted to give you all a little treat. (Let's hope it doesn't turn into a trick!). In honour of Hallowe'en - one of the favourite holidays down my way - I have decided to delve into my costume vote and show you some of the costumes I have personally worn over the last decade - good or bad is up to your judgement! As a costume designer, this time of year is always huge for me because it's a chance to be a walking advert (I certainly hand out business cards at Hallowe'en outings) and the competition between me and my friends is always interesting! Remember that I'm often available to make costumes on request for clients so feel free to contact me if you ever want something lovely created!

Right, the first picture out of Sophie's Costume Vault comes from 2008, and my best friend's 19th Birthday party. The theme was 'Heroes and Villains', and I decided to go as one of my all-time favourite comic book heroes, Phoenix. However, the best costume for her came from one of her worst portrayals - in the film X-Men:The Last Stand. Phoenix's main outfit in that film (designed by Judianna Makovsky) is actually in my top 50 costumes of all time so I couldn't resist giving it a go:

(Judianna's Phoenix costume)

(My Phoenix costume in progress, Summer 2009 - I didn't have time to do the trousers!)

(Me in my finished Phoenix costume with my friend Sammie as Poison Ivy - I also made her leafy bodice!)
 (Me showing off the back of the costume after a few drinks!)

The next costume out of the vault is more of a life lesson than a technical example of brilliance. Easter 2008 - the snowiest spring I've ever known - I was invited to a Fantasy/Myths/Legends type party. I had a handmade sorceress dress to wear, and disaster struck - with less than an hour before the party, i discovered that it didn't fit me properly! In a rush, I grabbed basically a strip of fabric and a pen and made a Celtic Warrior costume! Which goes to show you that anyone can make a costume with minimal time and resources:

(My 20-minute rushed Celtic Warrior costume. Sword from a stage production of Lord of the Rings, where I played an Elf).

Although I have many, many costumes in my vault now, and I would love to show you them all, I want to show you a diverse range today - showing you my Moulin Rouge dress, for example, might seem too similar (to some) to my Phoenix costume. Therefore, the next costume I'm going to show you is from my 20th Birthday party, when I got to live out a life-long fantasy and re-create Belle's dress from Disney's Beauty and the Beast:

(The dress in Beauty and the Beast - one of the greatest films of all time?)
(Me in my interpretation of the dress at my Disney themed 20th. I had less than 3 days to make it!)

(The second time I got the dress out - and had to take the bodice in - for a Disney party at University two years ago)

The last costume out of the vault is my Hallowe'en costume from last year. I had a bit more time and a lot more money back then so I decided to pay tribute in two ways - one, to a great costume, and two, to one of my top three directors, Tim Burton. The character? Emily the Corpse Bride!

Anyone out in Derby this time last year would've seen me walking round, slightly cold, slightly inebriated, and very very blue. The dress was made from multi layers of vintage & modern hand-dyed lace and chiffon, and it was surprisingly comfortable! Although I did leave blue roses everywhere... Here is the story behind the costume:

(Still of Emily from The Corpse Bride. I think the Costume was by Michelle Scattergood)

(My interpretation of the costume in progress, on my mannequin)

(Me in the finished costume around the streets and pubs of Derby)
(Close-up of the bodice and the rib cut-out detail)

And now onto this year's Hallowe'en costume...

Personally, I didn't think I could beat last year's effort and I certainly didn't have the time or funds to attempt it, but I did have one source of inspiration. For Jar of Angels, I had to make a load of hand-painted Venetian masks, which I loved doing, but I didn't get to make any for myself. So this October, I made a quick bird-like, 'plague-doctor' style mask:

This ended up being the base of my costume this year, and last Saturday night, I went into Derby as a Harpy. Here are the photos:

I hope that you all have a wonderful, devilish night - if you have any good costumes to show me then please send them in, because I would love to see them!

Spooky love for now,



  1. Amazing! Love them all :) I too am a fan of Beauty and the beast (I thought I might be the only one). I really loved the photos of this years costume- does that mean the wings arrived? Thanks for the shout out- I feel very touched!

  2. Everyone should be a fan of Beauty and the Beast!
    So glad that you like them all. The postman put the wings in a recycling box outside without a note so they could've been there for days... they were stumbled across less than an hour before I had to leave!
    And you're very welcome for the shout out. =) x


Post a Comment

Popular Posts