Haydée from Gankutsuou

Character Name: Haydée
Series: Gankutsuou
Specifics: opera gown
Cost: $350
Time: 65-70 hours
Started: April 2008
Completed: May 2008
Debuted: Anime North 2008



Thanks to Elemental for the photos!

Costume Information

This costume was a joint project between my friend Ren and I. Ren was cosplaying the Count from Gankutsuou. About a year before we made Haydée, Ren approached me and asked me if I'd cosplay Haydée.

Haydée's ball gown is not a costume I would have ever made on my own since it is: a) very complicated, b) a ball gown, c) I couldn't sit through all of Gankutsuou, and d) I don't care for the character. However, with a little blackmail and the promise of making the dress for me, I agreed to be the Haydée to Ren's Count. Ren and I split the work on this costume. He was in change of the dress and I was in charge of everything else.

In the anime, the dress is see-through except for the strips on the costume. Also, the art in Gankutsuou changes in every image. Obviously, this was not a costume we ever planned to make accurately.

The main dress consists of two main parts: a spandex "modesty dress", and an organza over dress covered in ivory strips made of bridal satin. We made a "modesty dress" under the organza. Also, we went with an ivory coloured satin for the strips so they would stand out against the blinding whiteness of the costume.

I would like to make this clear: Ren made the dress! Ren patterned the entire thing from scratch. He is also the one who cut and sewed the dress together. I do not take any credit for that. I simply pretended to be a dressform while Ren pinned things onto me and asked my opinion. XD

I did, however, help with the dress -- especially in the final stages. I ironed satin bias tape for seven hours to make the ivory strips. I also ended up beading the gown. I should note that the beads we bought for the costume were too bright for the costume, but a friend of mine saved the day by dulling them individually with paint. The large golden jewels on the costume were cast out of resin by Ren. He also made the mountings for them.

The "annoying floating thing" above her costume was designed by Ren, and put together by the both of us. It is made out of wire that feeds though a strip of organza and then into slots in the back of the dress.

I bought a long green wig without bangs for the costume. The wig was about a foot too short, but since it tangled constantly (I've never dealt with a wig this bad), I'm happy I didn't go for something longer. The wig had a center part that I had to alter. Thankfully the wig had a rather large skincap for me to work with.

My friend Becky agreed to wear the wig while I styled the front "bang". I cut it to the length I wanted, cleaned up the ends, and then hairsprayed it like crazy until it came out the way I wanted it.

I styled the "loops" in her hair by separating and looping sections of the wig and used clips to secure them to the wig. Then I hairsprayed them so they would keep there shape. Unfortunately, as I mentioned easier, the wig liked to tangle, so the loops managed to get messy. ><;; (I learned from this experience. I should have gotten hair extensions and formed the loops around a round object and then attached them to the wig. Ah well.)

The "horns" on the wig were made out of cardboard, hot glue, and paperclay. The "moons" are two layers of cardboard glued together. The cylinder-thing like things they're attached to were made of cardboard I cut and glued together into that shape. I then covered them with paperclay to give them an uneven texture. They fit over the clips in the wig, hiding them from view.

The earrings and collar were made in a similar way. Both the earrings and the colar were made out of cardboard, large square blue stones, paperclay, and glue.

The accessories on the wig, the earrings, and the collar were all painted using the same method. I gessoed them and then painted them with a silver paint. Unfortunately, the silver paint made the jewellery appear as if it was made out of duct tape, which was not the look I was going for. Moreover, they stood out too strongly against the white and ivory of the dress. So I went out and bought an ivory paint, which I used to paint over the silver. I purposely dabbed the ivory paint over the silver paint so that some of the silver would show through and so that the jewellery would have a leather-like finish. I'm really happy with the way they came out.

As for the shoes, my friend Sakura gave me a pair of heels she was going to throw out. I gessoed and painted them with the same method I described above.

The hardest part of the costume was the makeup. Uuuugh. It was my first time using bodypaint, so it was definitely a learning experience. It may not look like it, but there's close to $150 worth of makeup and prosthetics involved in this costume (though some of that cost comes from the fact that I owned little makeup to begin with).

Being painted is a huge undertaking. Thankfully, two of my friends helped me with the makeup application. It took two tubes of a cream-based theatrical makeup to cover my entire body, and we used a white powder to set it. Thankfully, we did a test run before the convention, so it only took me six hours to get into costume on the day of the con. ~______~

For Haydée's ears, I bought a pair of little elf ears and sealed them so that the makeup wouldn't eat through the latex. Then they were attached with spirit gum.

I would also like to note that Haydée is a completely impractical costume. The dress is huge so it's hard to move in without stepping on the train. I also couldn't touch anything without leaving a white residue. On the plus side, I found out that my bone structure looks like that of an alien when I'm painted white. XD

Overall, working on Haydée's costume was a positive experience. I learned a lot, and it was fun to wear, even if the makeup application took bloody forever.

...you know, I still can't believe I actually went along with making and wearing this thing. o___O;

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