Since I was a teen, I’ve had a weakness for historical fashion, especially costumes from the Renaissance and the Regency eras. My historical version of Snow White was designed on a whim at the end of 2014, and was my first major cosplay. Since her story roughly takes place in the Renaissance era, I wanted to draw from fashion around that time period. Pinterest boards were a huge help for references, and I believe that’s what I was browsing when inspiration struck! To construct her actual gown, I used a commercially available pattern with little modifications. I wanted this costume to be elaborate because she was a princess, so I did a lot of hand sewing to get pearls on her sleeves and skirts, as well as made sure I had the right accessories to complement the look.
I began Rapunzel almost immediately after returning home from wearing Snow White to her first convention. Rapunzel’s concept was easier to come up with, since it is a cosplay of a fanart by Claire Hummel. I had seen her historical Disney princesses on tumblr, and was immediately drawn to this particular design. This costume is based around the Regency era, which is another favorite fashion era of mine. Aside from the fanart, I did little other research for the visible parts of this costume because I used a commercially available pattern for this dress, but had to make a few modifications to suit the cosplay. I did most of my research on foundation garments typical to the Regency era. There was a lot of research into wig styling, too!
One difficulty I encountered was my lack of wig styling knowledge. Rapunzel is best known for her hair, and I ended up going through two versions of her wig before I was satisfied. To get to that point, I taught myself basic heat styling methods, how to stub a wig, and the use of Styrofoam and extra wefts to build the shape I wanted. In the movie Tangled, Rapunzel's hair glows when she sings, so there was the extra difficulty of adding LEDs to complete that wig.
Both costumes have had great reception at conventions! Lots of other con-goers like historical twists on characters, too! My favorite moments are watching little kids faces light up because I brought a character they love to life.
Cosplay is getting to bring my favorite characters to life in my own creative ways. I love being able to put a personal touch on characters I adore, and being able to share my vision of a character is so gratifying.