Thursday, 22 August 2013

Character Costume Design - Keir

A few months ago I started working on a military/gothic style dress coat ready for a Within Temptation concert (though to this day I still haven't finished it). I'm not a prolific dress maker - I've done a few bits and pieces, but it's a time-consuming business on top of writing, so not something I do a lot. In this case, I had a cheap pattern and a heap of spare fabric from years ago when I had money, and no budget to go clothes shopping. But as I was laying out my yards of black velvet with a mouthful of pins and pieces of paper pattern everywhere, it took me back to the outfits and costumes that I'd dressed my characters in. Some had very specific origins or inspirations, so I thought I could share a few. :)
Quin, as Keir first sees her.

 Quin's style of dress is based on what I'd (like) to wear. Vaguely medieval, sometimes military and occasionally gothic. The velvet dress in this picture is very typical of how I imagine her.

Mia Sara in Legend
Rashel in Blake's 7
Quin's party dress for Metraxi wasn't as revealing as Mia's and more exaggerated than Rashel's, but both were in my mind as I thought it out. Quin isn't a party girl, and even when she goes for something flamboyant, it has a tendency to be black, or colours less likely to draw attention. Although for all Quin's supposed modesty, she's not adverse to a little exhibitionism.

The Leper of St.Giles
Keir's first appearance in the story was partially inspired by an episode of Cadfael - a drama based on the investigations of crime by a medieval monk - called The Leper of St.Giles. The poor wretches, ill, outcast and covering themselves in every scrap and rag they could find, was an image that stuck with me.

A Knight's Tale

However, my later view of Keir is something more along the lines of Sir Ulric in Knight's Tale - still keeping with Keir's medieval heritage. I even sent this picture to my publisher when they asked for my ideas for the book cover. :-P

Princess Aura
Princess Ardala

This pair of feisty alien princesses definitely influenced my saurian Queen T'rill, both in dress and attitude. Princess Aura from Flash Gordon and Princess Ardala from Buck Rogers knew what they wanted and how to get it.

Lastly, the court dress for T'rill's people pays fleeting tribute to one of my top films - The Dark Crystal. The glowing, eerie dress robes of the powerful UrSkek fascinated me.

So where do your outfit ideas come from? How important is an outfit to your character, and to the story they're in?