Saturday, December 17, 2011

a mechanical doll costume

Last night there was a steampunk/pirate event at the Lava Lounge in Pittsburgh's South Side neighborhood.  Not having any recent steampunk clothing purchases to show off and not wishing to recycle an old look, I decided to channel my energies into coming up with a persona who could use my few steampunk items to create a whole new look.

The persona:  a clockwork doll.

I decided to use my classic Emilie Autumn concert look- the infamous gold and cream colored one that I have featured on this blog many times before, the purple mini skirt, and the white ripped up stockings from those concerts (which have not yet disintegrated into a jumbled ball of threads).

I also went with my very first steampunk clothing purchase- the tan skirt with lace trim.   But to make the skirt look different I decided to bunch it up with gold-colored ribbon.  I added a pair of low brown shoes and voila! the outfit!

Originally, to complete my wind-up doll look, I had made a large gold-colored clock key shaped piece of cardboard to attach via a cut up wire clothes hanger that was to wrap around my skin and be secured in place with some very tight lacing.  The specifications for this clockwork key roughly followed one creative soul's instructions on the Steampunk Fashion LiveJournal.  This key had been a pain in the arse, as it had not only taken up a decent amount of time, cutting, recutting, painting, repainting, and numerous supply purchases to secure parts of it in place; but it had also resulted in a disagreement that culminated into a verbal confrontation with one of my apartment complex neighbors in our dark back alley at night over the fumes (the crazy neighbor even damaged someone else's bike that had been residing on my shared back porch, erroneously assuming that it was mine.)

The key in one of its stages of transformation (when it was still copper-colored).
I ended up recutting the middle of the key to secure the shaft of the key
further into the actual key to make it less top-heavy, but to no avail.
But when I finally managed to put the troublesome prop on I realized that I had made the key too damn big despite my attempts to resize it.  One of the hanger ends broke off completely.

Fortunately I had applied my makeup in such a way that I was confident that I looked every bit the porcelain doll of Victorian times and could use my own body to mimic the mechanics of clockwork motion, so the prop was discarded.

With an application of foundation a little lighter than my normal skin tone on my entire face, neck, ears, eyebrows, and lips; a very light dusting of flesh-toned powder; an unsubtle amount of blush applied with a large brush and rounded motions; white eye shadow; a very thin amount of eyeliner on the top lid; three layers of mascara; and a carefully applied amount of painted lipstick on the center of the upper and lower lip, I think I succeeded in cinching the essence of a doll look:

I'm so pleased with the look that resulted that I will be posting a makeup tutorial on this blog within the next week or so.  I certainly shocked my roommates, and the boyfriend was especially amazed by the transformation.  I did not look at all like my normal self.

The entire costume certainly got a lot of comments and compliments.  One creepy guy even followed me around the venue a good while for some reason that is completely beyond me.

The show itself was terrific- from Patricia Wake's haunting vocals to The Bloody Seamen's rock hard pirate-themed style.  Scott went as the Phantom of the Opera, but took off his mask upon our entrance into the bar.

Scott is absolutely wonderful for accompanying me to these events, dressed up in clothing that he despises, just to see me have fun with other steampunkers.

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