I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the Alice in Wonderland stories from when I was little. When Ouran High School Host Club was released, I was equally in love. So when they combined the two for an episode, I simply had to cosplay from it! I chose the Queen because the Carnevale di Venezia aesthetic of her costume is so beautiful and her character is so mysterious. She’s a loving mother that Haruhi barely remembers – thus her face is hidden behind the mask. I talked with Heather, and she said she would cosplay with me. Since she is my favorite Tamaki cosplayer, I was overjoyed!
Since the Queen is in only one scene of one episode, I didn’t have much reference to work with. I found a front and back view in my Art Book, and screencapped a side view from the Anime. I did quite a bit of research into Carnevale costumes – what fabrics and trims are used, the underpinnings, etc. Apparently pearls are a big part of the trimmings there, so despite the fact that there aren’t any in the original Anime design, I added them to stay true to the look.
I made everything, from my corset out. The crown is made from two florist foam rings, dyed ostrich feathers, a CD spindle cover, and nine yards of fabric. I love textures in my fabrics to add dimension, so I used silk jacquard, Ultrasuede, polished cotton, light cotton, and tapestry fabric. The mask is hand painted and shaped. To black out her eyes, I added black lace to the inside of the mask. It’s close enough to my face that I can see through it, but a dense enough weave that my eyes cannot be seen from the outside. I loved working on this costume, from start to finish.
I grew up knowing how to sew. My mother sewed many of my dresses and play clothes when I was little. I thought it was amazing the way she could start with just a piece of fabric and turn it into a frilly dress by day’s end. I started sewing more than just pillowcases and doll blankets when I was in Junior High, and I have never looked back! I have a bachelor’s degree in theater and worked in the costume shop as a campus job. I have also sewn professionally for the Utah Shakespeare Festival and other treater companies. Add that to my cosplay, and I have made hundreds of costumes!
Cosplay has become such a part of my life. Most of my closest friends I met through cosplay. My daughter cosplays with me, and those times are very special. I started cosplaying because it seemed like a fun way to not let my sewing skills get rusty. Now, I find my creativity and resourcefulness challenged constantly. It keeps me focused and helps me release stress from work. And the friendships – the love and camaraderie the Cosplay community I am blessed to be a part of gives me – makes all the hours of work and money spent so very worth it.
– Miss Relena