Remember that time you watched Brahm Stoker’s Dracula starring Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder, fell in love with the decadent costumes, watched it five times in a row and then started turning up at university lectures dressed in giant ‘Victorian’ bows and ruffles that made your tutor wince? No? Just me then…. That being said, anyone with a love of dressing up and costume will know how much fun ‘Victorian’ and ‘Vampire’ are as fancy dress themes. Indeed, it was this period of the history that the vampire went from the very unsexy ‘possessed corpse terrorising villagers’ to the infinitely more attractive ‘handsome undead nobility haunting upper-class bedchambers’. The vampire became glamorous, if you like — and much more fun to dress up as.
Key to the Victorian vampire look is the hair. Indeed, I’d argue that you can get away with rather token costume gestures if the distinctive Victorian hair is right. I have an intense dislike of online hair tutorials which stems from the time I got half way through creating 1950s victory rolls only to discover I was missing a very specific kind of curling iron, not to mention a large chunk of my life. You may rest assured, therefore, that these tutorials are simple and can be easily achieved in 30 minutes or so before your vampire party. Or your Victorian party, for that matter, though I see less evidence of those. (Shame. The Victorians had a healthy love of gin which no doubt enlivened even the most staid of soirees.)
For more hair, makeup and costume ideas on how to make ‘undead’ look very much alive in 2014, join me on Pinterest. To cheat and purchase amazing actual costumes visit my Prop Shop here. Anyway, enough talk; more hair:
In light of my recent post on how to host a vampire themed murder-mystery game, I decided to embrace the errant weather, and host one. At this point, the weather immediately turned, and I found myself uncomfortably attired in an itchy black costume on a beautiful summer’s eve.
Beforehand, I spent many a happy hour watching online vampire makeup tutorials. I went for subtle, mostly because I was missing half the products needed and had to improvise with a musty eyeliner and an ancient set of something called ‘glitter cubes’, for which I’d never before found a use. If you want to look more dramatic, I recommend the mad but wonderful vampire makeup tutorial by Eman, which is worth watching, if only to listen to the soothing way she says ‘out’ in her Canadian accent.
I automatically associate vampires with Victorian Gothic Revival, when public interest in them piqued, so I constructed this Victorian-style costume by layering together a net skirt by Rare over a spangly Warehouse bodycon, and tied the whole thing together with a half corset from Primark. I find that half corsets are extremely useful for creating different Victorian looks.
There was, as it turned out, another disadvantage to my vampire costume on such a hot night: it turns out that mosquitoes had no problem biting me through the sequin netting of my dress! Ah well, here’s to the arrival of summer, and to vampire fancy dress, whatever the weather.