Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Dressing a Vampire

Reader Chad Evett has written in to share a picture of the Barnabas Collins costume he recently made, based on Colleen Atwood's designs for Johnny Depp in the new Dark Shadows feature film. Chad is studying costume design and has recreated some of Atwood's other creations, including the Mad Hatter from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland.

"I have been recreating Colleen's work since 2006," explains Chad. "Colleen and her team are absolute geniuses when it comes to manipulating fabric and texture. By learning the techniques she uses, I am able to enhance my own skills and define my personal aesthetic." Chad was immediately impressed by the new wardrobe for Collinwood's resident vampire: "I love what she has done with the classic Barnabas look. The colour scheme of his suit and coat looks fantastic. I also like the hat and sunglasses they have added."

While the accessories for Chad's costume were all found items, Barnabas' suit and cape are both handmade. "The fabric I found for the suit was in short supply, so I was only able to complete the pants for the time being. I made the Inverness coat using a vintage pattern from the 1970s, and I added the cape. I also recently found a stunning silk tie that I am going to add to the overall look."

Sourcing authentic-looking fabrics proved to be a challenge: "The hardest thing to locate was the lining for the coat. I used a cotton/polyester blend that would have been popular in the 1970s, when the movie is set. If I interpreted the leaked pics correctly, it looks like his coat is lined in a paisley, which would also fit into the 1970s setting. The lining fabric actually was stumbled across by my friend Tim who was out fabric hunting with me." The other components were a little easier to find: "The ring is available online, the gloves I ordered from Italy and I am in the process of making the sunglasses. The cane was one thing that had worried me, but lo and behold a friend of mine already had it!"

With his costume nearly completed, Chad is looking forward to the release of the new movie in May. "
Dark Shadows being brought into the consciousness of the younger crowd will serve the legacy well. If it is successful, then I'm hoping for a faithful reboot. The original series was just so much fun to watch."

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