Saturday, July 30, 2016

I do Science Fiction Costuming

Earlier this week, I wrote a bit about my thoughts on science fiction costuming. Today, I thought I'd put my money where my mouth is and show you some designs I have actually done. Granted, they are Star Wars, so it's slightly cheating because it is more historically inspired than futuristically imagined, but still. Science Fiction.

If you've been following my instagram or my personal blog, you've probably seen a few of these before, or seen me blog about my RPG group. Basically, a group of friends come to our house every week and my husband narrates our journey through space and we use dice and improv acting to have adventures. It rocks. We're a crew (rather like Firefly, but in Star Wars), a band of renegades carrying out missions and jobs on the edge of the empire. 

My character is a Chiss named Aliyah. Those of you familiar with Star Wars EU will recognized this intelligent and secretive blue skinned race by it's most popular son - Admiral Thrawn. Little is known about their mysterious homeworld, the ice planet Csilla, so I have had a lot of freedom to develop Aliyah's backstory and culture. I decided that her part of the planet, at least, would be inspired by Indian culture, customs, and costume. When I originally designed these dresses for her, I was thinking a) it was cool to show off the blue skin, and b) that, going by Indian custom, bare bellies would be okay, but cleavage not so much. I also theorized that she could be from a colder climate, so that the spaceship, set to human temperatures, would feel warm to her. It was only later that I realized that she was indeed from an ice planet, therefore this reasoning made perfect, ironic, sense!

(And yes, designing is always hit and miss. While I love the gold gown as it is, I would put a higher neckline on the red gown, and probably nix the white gown or really revamp it if I were costuming a hypothetical movie).

My initial motive in drawing these dresses was so that when we finally got done running around jungles and garbage planets, and went to a ball, I'd have something in mind to wear. Sure enough, my husband finally capitulated to my pleadings and we had a right fancy shindig to attend. I chose to send Aliyah in the gold gown, which I got to draw again when I decided to capture a rather iconic moment from that session. (Orange dreadlocks guy is my husband's in-game character.)

Typically, however, my character is not wearing pretty dresses (alas). We are, after all, a bunch of outlaws on the run, and generally she wears the white outfit above. The lightsaber is a recent aquisition.

(Hits and misses again - I love the white and red outfits, not so keen on the green.)

After awhile, I figured I'd better start drawing some other crew members, or my fellow gamers were going to get rather annoyed. First up, I drew some dresses for human crew member, Sasha. Sasha is human, from Alderaan... and she's been in cryogenics for the past 20 years. The dresses here are not what she wears nowadays, but what she would have been forced to wear on formal occasions in her youth. I deliberately evoked an '80's style here, so that it would appear dated to our 21st century eyes (just about the only decade that still looks very dated to us).

(Yeah, the middle dress doesn't really work for her - it'd be good for Aliyah but not Sasha)

But Sasha IS a real tomboy (mountineer, scout and bounty hunter!) so I had to draw her something a bit more adventurous too, which you can see here next to another outfit for Aliyah.

THEN things got more interesting for Sasha, when a secret marriage was revealed and we found out she was pregnant. HAHA. So, here is Sasha, dressed up for some adventures on Tatooine. Space maternity style!!!

(I'm pretty happy with all of these - and the player really likes two of the three, so yay!)

Next on the crew was Nella! Nella is our badass fighter chick - her backstory is very similar to Mulan, which is why you see a bit of a Mulan look to her middle dress. Most of the time she doesn't wear sparkly dresses, but she did grow up high class the way Aliyah did, so there were balls in her background. :)

(The one on the right is probably much more Aliyah than Nella)

Around this time, everyone in our crew hopped onto a Star Wars dollmaker app and put together how they visualized their characters. This definitely helped me in terms of understanding how each of the players saw their characters. A few were NOT AT ALL how I expected! But it was really fun to see what clothing choices each of them made for their personalities. I'll give brief bios here, if it interests you to analyze such things, but you can skip past if this post is already getting too long for you!

(Top Left to Bottom right)

Ze'ev - High-born Alderaanean, faked his death, bounty hunter, captain of our ship. Extremely protective of the crew.
Aliyah - high born half Chiss half human, also faked her death, ship's medic and computer expert. Highly analytical and always likes to prove her intelligence. 
Nella - oh look, ANOTHER high born (human) who faked her death! Hired gun, LOVES guns. Would rather punch someone than negotiate.
Perth - a lovable young scamp from the desert of Tatooine, can charm anyone into doing anything and has the weirdest combination of luck and misfortune. Survives despite all odds. Oh, and he is a Bothan, but they weren't in the app so he's portrayed as a human here. Trust me, we make every possible joke about "Many Bothan's died..."
Sasha - Ze'ev's aunt who was frozen for 20 years. Best shot on the crew, married a guy who turned out to be working for the Empire. Quiet, mysterious, and overly protective of Ze'ev.
Kybur - a charming 'surfer-dude' human/cyborg mechanic. Very much along for the ride. Was raised by Wookies.
Hogan - former Imperial guard, human, rather obsessed with protecting Nella. The first on the crew to become a Jedi, and thus a bit of a mentor to the rest of us. (That is, Ze'ev, Aliyah and Nella, who all recently discovered Force powers).
Malia - (not pictured, newest crew member), Aliyah's younger sister, hotheaded pilot who prefers negotiations with lightsabers. Played by my actual younger sister, which is too fun.

After seeing the character designs by the players, I got a better sense of where to go. I whipped up something new for Sasha (she totally needed a long coat to rock) and another BA outfit for Nella. Plus something that I figure Aliyah wore back at University.

Hogan and Nella are played by a real-life engaged couple. I drew them this picture as an engagement present. Too fun!

Remember that fancy ball I mentioned earlier? In the midst of it, a dark Force user showed up! and she was another Chiss! I quickly sketched out a costume for her, which I later rendered in more detail in this photo. On the left is Hogan, in an outfit that his player designed, and on the right is Ze'ev, wearing a sort of servant's uniform (he was undercover). Very Downton-Abbey inspired here, haha.

I asked my husband what he wanted me to draw him, and he picked a scene we did with our characters, right after Aliyah had been practicing her Tai Chi. 

Most recently we are on Tatooine, and I drew a few outfits for Aliyah to reflect that. The white one isn't Tatooine really, I just like trying new styles of white on her, since it's her preferred color to wear.

And THEN, since my sister joined the game as Malia, I had to draw some stuff for her! Malia is a lighter blue than Aliyah, to show their half-human heritage, so she needed another color palatte.

(The one on the right is much more true to the character than the one on the left. It's funny how you get a better grasp of character... but then some things go so horribly wrong that you never show anyone, like the one I cropped off the edge of this page!)

We also recently rescued Aliyah and Malia's mother (an Ambassador from Naboo), so I had to draw all three of them, including the first outfit that I designed for Aliyah to wear out on the Ice Fields of Csilla. (Neomara is her birth name, Aliyah is the alias she took after faking her death.)

So. As you can see. I've been quite immersed in one form of Science Fiction Fashion for quite some time. Who knows, as I watch more Star Trek, I may become inspired to experiment in another form!

Oh! And if you are interested in starting your own Star Wars RPG group, I HIGHLY recommend the system developed by Fantasy Flight Games. The dice are a bit unique, but they work very well and it is great fun!

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