06 June 2018

Amilyn Holdo Process Post: The NOT Fabric Elements

As soon as I saw her in The Last Jedi I knew I needed to cosplay Amilyn Holdo.  Of course I wish there had been more of her, or that she had survived, but that isn't the universe she lives in.  I am pretty sure, especially after reading Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray, that she was queer and that she and Leia were a couple by the time of the events in The Last Jedi.  You can't convince me otherwise after their parting scene where so much was left unsaid between them.


I am writing this many months after I finished the cosplay, so I am going to break it up into fabric and non-fabric elements.  You are currently reading about the non-fabric elements.  This is to avoid a tl;dr post, to which I am prone.  In truth, this cosplay was happening at a time when I had a lot of other stuff on my plate, so it was rather chaotic in coming to fruition.  I debuted it at Anime Boston 2018, where I was a masquerade judge and the theme of the weekend had to do with space travel.  I thought it was a particularly appropriate costume for presenting awards.

So you know what we are working on here, I present the official costume breakdown (click to enlarge):

As ever, the first thing I purchased was the wig, and since that's right at the top, I will start there.  This is a Bucky from Arda Wigs in lavender.  What is so excellent about this wig is that it is not only a lace front, but also a lace part, meaning that it can be made to look extremely natural.  The only problem was in the center lace part, where Amilyn has her part on her right side.  I let this slide so I could make use of this excellent wig.

You'll notice that Amilyn has greyish/dark purple lowlights, so I knew this would be a thing I would need to do.  I am not super sophisticated with wig dyes, and somewhat loathe to spend money on them, when India inks works just as well.  I mixed purple and black Winsor and Newton inks with 70% isopropyl alcohol and brushed it into the roots in layers.

At the same time I removed a lot of the "frizz" that the less expensive cosplay wigs come with for extra weft coverage, because it was giving the wig too much volume for Amily's classic style.  The end result once the lowlights were dry was pleasing and very accurate.

But when I put it on...

Meh.  Too much volume.  This is pretty common with wigs: the hair does not fall in the way that hair sprouted from your head does.  It sort of wants to go up and then out and then down, and it wants to go every which way.  This was a few days out from the con, so I pinned the back into pin curls and steamed them to within an inch of their lives.  I also steamed the part flat and steamed the hair so that is flowed back from the hairline instead of falling over my face.  Amilyn's hair is NOT in her face.

All the steaming, plus a bit of hair spray every time I put the wig on, creates a very nice, natural style.  Mind you, I wear this over a flesh-toned wig cap (these are available in every skin tone) to fill in the lace part with "skin" and use toupee tape to keep the lace front in place.  The tape sometimes needs a dusting of powder to reduce shine.  Even my mother approved and she's hated every wig I've ever had since I started cosplaying a decade ago!

My hair piece is kind of janky and maybe I'll replace it in the future.  It's not really up to my standards of quality.  Anyway, it's aluminum tubing threaded with wire and then curved into shape.  I wrapped the ends in wire so my hair wouldn't get too tangled.  For the first few times I hairpinned it into my wig, but now I have a comb attached and that works a lot better.

Earrings were hard to locate because 1. my ears aren't pieced, and 2. these have a rather unique shape that is larger on the top than on the bottom where the drop attaches.  I found a pair on Etsy that suffice, and I've replaced the drop since with a purple glass bead.  They get buried under my wig and never show up in photos.  Oh well?

Screen-used earrings

You'll have an interesting time locating Amilyn's rings as well, as any Amilyn cosplayer will attest.  I recommend as search terms "rhodochrysite", "moonstone", "cluster ring".  I am sure there were more, but this was about four months ago and I just don't remember, except that I spent hours finding the rings I eventually bought.

The screen-used ring (left) vs. the ring I bought (right)
Very pleased!

My rhodochrisite ring looks *fabulous* but...it's considerably larger than I thought I ordered, so I can't wear it on my ring finger like Amilyn does.  It was kind of pricey, so I'll replace it, but not right away.  Meanwhile, if you have a size 9 ring finger and need this ring, comment and we can work something out...

 Some of you will be surprised to know that Amilyn's bracelets are available for about $5.00 each on eBay.  That is exactly where the costume department got theirs, so you know these are legit.  It kills me every time I read the official costume breakdown (at top of this post) and they're like, "these represent Gatalentan constellations."  Yeah sure...eBay constellations maybe...anyway, at least they're easy to get, so put down your worbla or whatever.  There is a document in the Facebook group Admirals in Purple that lists sellers that currently stock them.  It doesn't matter if you get them in gold or silver, because you're going to be painting them so they are Amilyn's matte silver.

Compare my painted bracelet (left) with an unpainted silver one.  This not only is screen-accurate, but it will photograph a LOT better.

Don't go away: I am writing about the dress and neck drape next!