Sophisticated Fancy Dress

In the last decade the power of the Internet and in particular YouTube has really enriched the fancy dress community. This in tandem with the remaking of many Marvel comic classics, the advent of the zombie genre and the global rise of Halloween as an event for all has meant there is a plethora of information on everything from how to create realistic flesh wounds to the Iron Man suit.
For the more complex modern suits, such a Master Chief from the Halo series, Iron Man or any of the Star Wars armoured outfits, the art of Pepakura or Paper-craft has been the tool of choice of many home based enthusiasts. Complex paper patterns can be downloaded for free, printed out on a standard ink-jet printer and then constructed. Once the shape has been created, fibreglass resin is applied, followed by paint and lacquer. The resulting component is often a very close or even exact replica of the real thing. Some enthusiasts extend the detailing into light and motor driven moveable parts.

Another rich area of fancy dress accessorisation is the genre of Steampunk. Steampunk has its roots in the 80s and 90s and works on the premise of a Victorian style world, where steam is the primary technology. These worlds either represent a parallel history to our own or a post-apocalyptic era. The genre utilises elements of science fiction and fantasy. Imagine, if you will, the works of Jules Verne and HG Wells and you will have a very close approximation as to what constitutes Steampunk.
Beyond the imagery of mechanical style Babbage computers and steam powered airships Steampunk is very much about fashion, art and literature. There are no boundaries set for Steampunk fashion; anything goes. That said, the various garments such as corsets, waistcoats, bustles and gowns are usually embellished with several Victorian era technologies: flying goggles, pocket watch or even prosthetic limbs. Just like Pepakura there are many YouTube videos explaining how to make the clothing, the (mock) weapons and other accessories like Victorian parasols.
With the relentless commercialisation of Halloween in recent years, the popularity of costume-making and accessorisation has sky rocketed. What would often pass off as a damp October night with the neighbours’ kids knocking on the door in a white sheet is now a big event in the calendar. Supermarkets go Halloween crazy while all the local youngsters try and outdo each other with an amazing array of outfits. For teenagers and eternal teenagers alike, parties are the order of the night. Facebook is often awash with storm troopers, zombies and Freddy Krueger doubles on All Hallows’ Eve.
John Fark is a Steampunk enthusiast writing on behalf of www.props-n-frocks, specialising in all Fancy Dress Accessories