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Halloween Costume Contest 2012

Art Deco Medusa

Art Deco Medusa was handmade by myself and personally styled from the shoes to the headdress, leaving no element un-finessed. The pattern for the dress is researched from 1920’s flapper-style dresses and is made from second-hand deconstructed garments. These garments are hand dyed and printed and create a stone-cold color palette. The dress is heavily encrusted with beading, rhinestones, and painted metal tear-drops which resemble snake-scales. Down the center of the dress glittered rubber snakes are woven into the design and doused with shiny black “blood”. This effect is created with Rustoleum high-gloss enamel, and of course- lots of glitter!  The jacket is created from a discarded fur coat, which is sourced from an abandoned theatrical prop-shop in Pawtucket, RI. The shape is tailored to fit an authentic 1920’s silhouette, and is re-lined with a screen printed snake-skin design. Adorning the outside of the coat are over 500 metal tear-drop metal pieces in a snake-scale motif, (all attached by hand stitching.)  To achieve this motif, my research included a trip to the Rhode Island School of Design’s Nature Lab, where I documented specimen snakes on exhibition. I drew the various patterns of the skins on gridded paper, and translated the grid designs to the jacket to create a realistic snake-scale pattern. The scales are of course, adorned by more rhinestones for utter glam! The structure of the headdress supports 20lbs. It is created from a halved-soccer ball used as a skull-cap, surrounded by a styrofoam ring. Some of the snakes that make up the headdress are wired-wrapped toy snakes, while others were fabricated from 3/4″ plastic tubing of which I inserted wire and LED light strands. In the darkness of a Halloween celebration, the snakes on the headdress illuminate the glittering, slithering mass.  The shoes, an essential accessory- also evoke a 1920’s flare. They are painted and embellished with the same metal pieces as the jacket and dress, creating a true continuity through the details, and thus the overall look.  I sewed feverishly and constructed sculpturally for over 100 hours, but this is not why I should win the competition. Combining the Art Deco style of the 1920’s with the horror and mysticism of a Grecian Medusa was a seamless marriage of which only true art reconciles. The project is a correlation between the Art Deco Style with one of it’s heavy characteristic influences- Ancient Greece. These ideas are balanced into an epic, ghastly explosion of glitz and glamor!


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  1. thowethowe | | #1

    Absolutely STUNNING! Love it!

  2. MaterialThing | | #2

    Awesome work - very imaginative and beautifully executed!

  3. HappyGenny | | #3

    You get two thumbs up from me! I'm so impressed I can't even describe it. One question, please: You said the scales were metal? I note you say you put them on grid paper first. How did you cut them out of metal after that, and what kind of metal did you use?


  4. user-2098441 | | #4

    Have you considered send this photo to Lady Gaga with your resume? This is amazing and reminiscent of some of her better, more glamorous costumes. Great work on every detail!

  5. blackblackmoon | | #5

    to HappyGenny, Art Deco Medusa here...
    Thank you for your comment!
    As far as the metal scales went, I bought about 600 pieces from a closeout jewelry factory in Pawtucket, RI. They are vintage, probably about 50 years old. I painted them with enamel paint, added glitter, rhinstones and other sparkly things to them indivitudally. To achieve the 'snake scale' motif on the jacket, I sketched a snake skin design on grid paper and translated it to the jacket. Once the design was in place, as far as color and pattern, I sewed each scale to the fur with bookbinding thead.

  6. User avater
    roylaverne12 | | #6

    Very imaginative and beautifully executed!!!

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