Wednesday, 8 June 2016

For Asgard!

One of my favourite things about the Marvel movies is the costume design for Asgardian culture. They are a bit traditional fantasy and a bit sci-fi and, while each character has their own look, they also have a consistency between them so they look like they come from the same culture.

I wanted to see if I could design an outfit that would fit into that culture. I did have to make one allowance for the limitations of Midgard: zips. Asgardian clothing tends to appear and disappear by magic (and movies have their own brand of costuming magic). I don’t think zips are too out of place on Asgardian clothing as they don’t have the same technological limitation that most medieval-fantasy cultures have and they use trim that looks like zipper teeth tracks.
I had been very taken with Sif’s coat, which is onscreen for maybe three minutes of the first Thor movie, so my design was primarily inspired by that. Or rather mostly inspired by the general impression of that, because I have had no end of difficulty finding decent images of it.
 This was the start of my design (back view):
The angle of the underlayer came from the back of Loki’s coat from The Avengers. I played around with having decorative seams but decided it would be too hidden and so not worth the trouble.
The gold bands on the bottom of the grey swathes on my outfit are also an idea borrowed from Loki’s coat.
Another aspect I took from Sif’s coat was having a split at the back of the hood for a ponytail. (You kind of can't see it in the picture but it's there...)
I had more difficulty designing the front of my outfit. I eventually decided on taking inspiration from Odin’s outfit. The overlapping, angled layers matched the back of my outfit and are a common feature of Asgardian clothing.
I kept having to pause my progress on this outfit while I waited to come up with a design that felt right. It was annoying to be unable to do anything but when the inspiration struck I was always glad I had waited for it.

I had thought the front design went through a lot of iterations but then I got to the sleeves. I knew I wanted my sleeves to be detachable, like Thor’s, but that was it. I tried designs that were plain, fancy, layered and curvilinear (like Sif’s), patchwork (like Loki’s) and crossover (like the rest of my outfit).
I settled on patchwork but decided to err on the side of simplicity.
I chose the one in the bottom right which takes some of the elements from Loki’s Avengers outfit.
I did the stripe design in powerpoint.
The last things I designed were the vambraces.
I started by drawing them on paper but then I realised that, by using layers in Gimp, I could try out designs by placing them on a photo of the in-progress outfit.
It’s just like playing paper dolls.
I ended up choosing a design that was based on the braces worn by young Thor at the start of his first movie. I don’t have a better picture of them because he never has his hands still.
Choosing a colour scheme was also a difficult part of this design.

When I envisioned it in my head my outfit was mauve and grey but something I’ve learnt about myself is that I am much more comfortable in dark-coloured clothes. So if I wanted to ever actually wear this it had to be dark (which has the unintended side effect of making me look evil).
I went to spotlight with no particular colours in mind and found an appropriate type of fabric I wanted (suiting) – and then I had to choose from the colours available. So I took a photo and went home to test combinations in Gimp.

Sequels coming soon: Construction, Photos

Movie images belong to Marvel Studios.

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