I had this crazy idea for one final entry for my favorite Masquerade which is the San Diego Comic Con Masquerade.  I’ve been going to Comic-Con since 1980 and decided that this would be a fun project to go out on.

The costumes and sets are from the artwork of Alphonse Mucha, who was one of the major influences of the Art Nouveau movement in the early part of the last century.

Each Season was first hand traced onto muslin, using a small projector, in pencil. Each Season had to be the same size in order to fit into the frames. Each painting was then hand inked from the backside using a sharpie and pens for each illustration. Then from the front, each panel was airbrushed in layers and hand detailed with pen and paint. Flowers, plants, birds and leaves were added to the fronts to give them a sense of depth.

Each panel sits atop a custom made base and back frame. The detailed outer frame was designed to reflect that particular Season and were hand detailed with paint.  Summer and Autumn had “seats” that were held up from the back of our frames. The fabric panels were wrapped around sheets of Luan that were drilled into the back frame. All the frames and bases had to be light enough to be carried and set up on stage. Everything had to be made, tested, disassembled for travel and then reassembled backstage for the Masquerade. Then everything had to come apart to return home. No small task.

All the head dresses were hand made from flowers, leaves, branches, cotton, wire and glue. They were attached with clear combs to the models hair.

The gowns started with a nude bodysuit for the base. Each one took four yards of fabric which was draped and hand sewn to the bodysuits for stability. Detail pieces had to be made for Spring and Autumn to attach to the fronts.  Spring’s harp was made with flower stalks & fine wire.
Autumn’s drinking vessel ended up being the soap dish from my hotel since I was not able to find a proper sized dish to bring. 🙂

The project was started at the end of May and we were working right up until the start of SDCC 2009. We had to work outside at night (temps in Burbank were in the 100’s during the day that year) to finish our frames and paint.  (Just remember that noise you heard at 3am behind you IS a giant racoon coming to get you)

Going back over some of the photos and video for this project I remembered that the three models who were with me had never been on stage at a Comic-Con Masquerade or won any type of costume award, so this was an amazing night for all of us. Two of the girls had been walking the floor in costume with another costume group all day, I had been running around most of the day getting everyone wrangled, things being put together backstage and coordinated with our crew. We were all running on fumes by the end of the night since for some reason the Masquerade ran long that year and it was HOT backstage.  Interesting note: none of us had had time to practice our cues so we just listened to the music backstage and winged it once we were under the stage lights.
A professional photo shoot was done in October to show the amount of work that went into this project, which was shot by James Young of Allablur.com