Saturday, March 19, 2011

Costume: Modesty Blaise

I added MODESTY BLAISE to my list after reading a volume of the old strips which was published by Titan Books. The DEATH IN SLOW MOTION oversize paperback was my first exposure to the character which I heard about from my relentless best friend in blogging, Bunche (The Vault of Buncheness).

I have often gushed about my love for the artists at ComicTwart, an exclusive collective of comic book artists that specialize in pulp styles. My favorite artist, Francesco Francavilla, happens to be among the site's members making it easier for me to stal.. I mean monitor, his latest and greatest creations. Recently on his own blog, he posted a picture of Modesty which was all I needed to move my plans for her higher up on my costume To Do List.

Naturally, Modesty Blaise is easily compared to the likes of Emma Peel and Honey West. I describe her as a female James Bond. She has the sex appeal, the connections, the trademark outfit which is enhanced by a vast wardrobe, great secondary characters that back her up, and of course, being British adds to the list of characteristics that make her a legendary super spy. There's no reason any woman in costuming or acting would not want to be Modesty.

Since I already have the pattern designed (a modification of the figure skating pattern I use for most things) it was not long to put this together. There was no color blocking, no special logo, no unusual surprises with the texture of the fabric either; it was one of the easiest suits I've ever made. It was less an hour to cut the fabric and four hours of sewing.

The rubbery spandex is actually not vinyl. It's considered a matte metallic which I got in New York City's Spandex World for $13/yard. For my size, it takes 2.5 yards for this pattern. (Description: Matte metallic coating on black nylon spandex, Care Instruction: Hand Wash in mild detergent, line dry, do not dry clean, do not use bleach or soak in chlorine, Color: Black, Content: 80% Nylon 20% Spandex, Fabric Weight: 6.4 Oz/Sq Yard, Stretch Direction: 4 Way, Usage: Suitable for special occasions and dance costumes,Width: 58-60")

The bullet belt I used just for these test photos came from Hot Topic during a recent shopping trip (around $20). The mock Equestrian boots have been in my wardrobe for a long time. I remember getting them in a boutique in New Hope, PA for around $40. The wig ($44) came from VogueWigs which I don't recommend as a supplier. Their customer service is terrible and they have no refund or exchange policy. The gun in these pics is my Colt Python .357 Magnum which is not at all the style of gun Modesty would carry but it's the only one I have and I felt one was needed even for test photos. I have black gloves somewhere but they're more like evening gloves than what I imagine Modesty wearing while on a mission. You can see how even a very simple costume can become expensive when you add each piece up.