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Wardrobe: The Phoenix

A transforming Regency-era masquerade costume, designed to move from a fully-disguised "Ashes" phase into a "Phoenix" dress.
Research for this costume was conducted over the Autumn of 2021, and was based on the client's brief of "Regency masquerade. Transforming Phoenix. Make it look like it's on fire." and the three reference costumes provided by them.

Drawing on our existing knowledge of historical costuming and with reference to several books we drafted a pattern for a corseted form-fitting bodice and skirt to fit their exact specifications, whilst sourcing fabric and trimmings for the client.

Many hours were spent on Youtube researching transforming dresses to work out how to make the Phoenix appear to be "born from the ashes". Traditionally, transforming dresses are achieved either by smoothing the skirt of the final dress under the bodice of the first dress (which is rigged to break apart and fall under the descending skirt) or by adding a bagged overskirt attached to the first bodice, which performs the same function when the first bodice breaks away.

However, the minimal Empire-line bodices and close-fitting columnar skirts make this difficult to achieve for the Regency era. Consequently, an alternative method was devised by adding a cape to the "Ashes" Domino cloak (very on-brand for the Regency-era) to disguise that it cinches in at the waist. The skirt of the Phoenix dress is loosely rolled up to the bottom of the bodice, and held in place whilst the upper section of the "Ashes" cloak is eased up over the performer's shoulders and into place, containing the skirt of the Phoenix shape and distorting the performer's body shape into the grotesque.

When the hood of the cloak is pushed back and the two snap fastenings at the neck are pulled open, the top half of the "Ashes" cloak swings down to lie fully concealed under the Phoenix skirt, which descends smoothly with a quick spin by the performer. And thus the Phoenix is reborn from the Ashes!

Originally designed in 2021 to fit the performer exactly, it was altered in 2023 to accommodate performer weight-loss. In 2024, as the performer has expressed a wish to continue their weight-loss journey, the design was revamped and a new bodice constructed to accommodate this desire.
Detachable feather, satin and organza shoulder-straps and wings. Machine Washable.

"Ashes" Domino Cloak
"Ashes" Full-face mask
"Phoenix" Empire-line dress
"Phoenix" Detachable shoulder straps & wings
"Phoenix" Headdress

Size: Down to 100cm Bust. Up to 134cm Bust
Suitable for: Historical Drama; Fantasy; Pantomime; Drag

Price: £999.99

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