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Unread 10-27-2016, 10:42 AM   #1
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Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 16,503
Trying to strike that happy medium between cosplay and historically accurate...

So if anyone's taken a gander at my posts since summer, I'm working on a trying-to-be-historically-accurate Anastasia cosplay (her grand duchess dress at movie's end, specifically). I'm also taking this to CostumeCon, and competing with it (not in the historical masquerade, just the regular one), and I'm pretty stuck on just how historically accurate to go on this.
The movie dress looks like this:
The historical Russian court dress of the early 1900's, mostly like this:

So the historical accuracy of the movie dress is close for an animated feature, but not quite. It's missing more than a few of the smaller details like the button placket, the lacey-looking shoulder edges, the head veil, the Order of St. Catherine badge, a pearl necklace/more jewellery in general, and the decoration on the dress doesn't really match anything I've seen from scouring photos of Russian court dresses (both as museum displays, paintings and in old photographs). And while the court dresses also had long trains, for both saving a bit of money (because the skirt alone of this dress requires six yards, plus almost the same amount for the underskirt to support the top skirt's shape even with a petticoat) and not destroying my dress at the convention, I'm leaving mine with just enough length to trail the ground.

While I'd love to attempt almost-total historical accuracy, I'm really at a loss of just how far to go before it's not even recognizable as an Anastasia movie cosplay anymore, especially when the Historical competition wasn't my goal to begin with.

What I've got so far; Victorian-era corset, petticoat and underwear to get the right shape and silhouette for the time, the dress (still in mockup stage) is modified from Victorian patterns (as I couldn't find anything pre-existing for Russian Imperial court dress, I had to modify from English 1890's patterns) but being closed at the back with a modern zipper since I hate hooks and eyes and can't do back buttons with little to no dressing help, I planned on making the sash with real silk and doing my darndest to at least find a similar-looking shoulder clasp, and since I'm not a metalworker, my "diamond" kokoshnik tiara will be narrow strips of worbla and glued-on rhinestones. And I'm looking for the right style and colour of shoes, but no luck yet. I've also got my base wig already, it shouldn't be hard to slightly tweak the movie style to something more historically accurate.

What I'm still missing, and the movie dress is missing, would be the button placket down the front (I also took a look at some closeup photos and it's... the stupidest thing I have ever seen. It's mostly just pinned onto the dress bodice and serves zero actual purpose except to hide some bodice lacing, and it clashes with the movie dress decoration), a veil for the tiara, extra jewellery (I can at least buy a cheap fake pearl necklace, but the sash decorations could prove impossible since the order is long since extinct), and while photos show extra lace and decor around the shoulder lines, that would clash too much with the movie dress to actually work, same with using embroidery with or in place of the beading on the movie dress (that said, if time permits I was planning to stitch the outline of a Romanov eagle onto the back of the "train" because I am just that masochistic).
So, I'd have no trouble adding in a veil and extra jewellery, but I really don't want to make a mess of half-beaded half-embroidered dress embellishment, and holy crap I HATE that stupid button placket. But I feel like if I left those latter two things out but added everything else, it would just look "off" and I may as well have stuck with just what I already have and left the rest out entirely. As for how much time I have, CostumeCon is in April, and most of the time sink in this will be caused by embellishing, the actual sewing of the dress itself not so much (with no embellishment on it at all but done in the highest possible quality with no cutting corners, it would take me about seven days).

Any advice on how much farther I should go? I'm really pulling my hair out over how much more accurate I should get.
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There's a vibe here that says "We're in this together!Through thick and thin fabric! Through cold water washes and burning hot irons! Though we might super glue ourselves to our projects, cut holes/gashes/oh-god-mom's-gonna-kill-me into the dining room table, we will stand strong together. Unless there is a 75% off sale at the Fabric store. Then you're on your own. And get the hell out of my way."<3
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