Friday, September 17, 2010

Colorado Gold Conference: Costumes

As promised on Monday, today I will post about the costume workshop and why this was of special interest to me. In my epic or high fantasy novel, my alternate world is medieval with an ongoing influence from different centuries here in the so called normal world. My idea was to create a world that came into existence as the continents broke apart and shifted, thereby sending some cultures and people into an alternate world. I took the liberty of ignoring the time-line that science has established for this; after all, it is a fantasy.

In my short story series, my character lives through many time periods. She is a phoenix. So costumes that she will encounter are from many time periods and must be accurate.

I have a costume book. But it is limited and sometimes frustrating when I am trying to describe a dress. I was thrilled to meet Janet Smith, she has over 40 years experience designing and making costumes with degrees in apparel design and theatrical design technology from the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC and the University of Northern Colorado, respectively. The title of the workshop gives you a good idea of what we learned, ‘If You Can’t Tell a Fichu from a Peccadil: Historical Costuming 101.’ I have no idea what either is, but now I can look it up. Plus, Janet opened herself up for future contact. I am thrilled!

To demonstrate some of my frustration let me explain my attempt at describing the sleeves of medieval costumes. If you have watched any historical movies, even fantasy movies that take place in medieval times, then you will begin to realize the implications of getting it wrong. I don’t want readers to get angry with me because I gave a medieval outfit elastic.

Sleeves: Have any of you watched ‘The Princess Bride,’ or ‘Ever After,’ another Cinderella movie and my favorite? Okay, if you watched either, what are the terms for the sleeves of the jacket that the prince wore in ‘The Princess Bride’ and what are those sleeves called in ‘Ever After?’ The dresses that have the chemise pocking through. Don’t know, neither did I.

The sleeves with the chemise poking through are called ‘ruched,’ and the sleeves of the jacket worn in ‘The Princess Bride’ are called, ‘doubler’ and the under part is called, sleeve. So now you know a little more about it.

In next Friday’s post I will give you some reference book titles and hopefully by then I will hear back from Janet with a website or blog site. She let me know, it's Moon Goddess, click and you can go there.

Have you been stumped by costume descriptions? What was your solution?


AlexOngNYC said...

No stumped costume descriptions but I love Ever After!

Breakfast Every Hour

MT said...

I've been stumped on other things - not costume descriptions - usually because I don't want to use 'regular words', but I'm searching for something more powerful. If I have to, I highlight it and come back later.
Have a great weekend! :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I write in the here and now, and even then, I don't focus much on the clothing. (Just like in real life!! Clothes are not my thing.)

N. R. Williams said...

Alex, I'm glad you like Ever After.

MTm highlighting works for me too.

L. Diane, I'm not much on fashion either. But I need to know how to describe this stuff occasionally.

Ditto everyone, have a great weekend.