I get a lot of referrals from Google of people looking for how to make a Black Swan costume.. so here is my attempt to answer that query and help you on your way to making a killer Black Swan costume this Halloween. (*I will try and do an update with some photos of my actual costume around Halloween.)
You will need:
- Black tank top (to keep costs down) or Bustier or corset (if you want to be really accurate.)
- Clear and/or black plastic rhinestones
- Black feathers
- Black tulle or a tutu
- White or pale pink opaque tights
- Ballet flats or ballet shoes (if you have access to real shoes)
- Black Paint
- Makeup – white foundation, black and silver eyeliner/shadow, red lip
- Glue Gun
- Needle & Thread (or Sewing Machine, for the tutu)
I’m going to provide some detail on how to make this costume as bottom-line-cheaply as possible. Basically if you have the money to upgrade on any item or part of the costume, feel free. My goal is to get you looking Black-Swan-Fabulous for as little as possible.
The dress is the most costly and difficult part of your costume. The main two parts you need to take care of are the bodice and the skirt or tutu. If you can afford to buy a real black tutu, it will stand out and be very stiff and straight, just like in the movie. You can also purchase black tulle from a fabric store to make this yourself, but it will likely be a bit more ‘skirty’ and less rigid than a traditional tutu which has all kinds of structure built into it.The easiest thing to make your own is to layer the tulle and sew it along a LONG black ribbon that you can then wrap around your waist and tie – one size fits all!
For the bodice, you can use a black tank top to save on costs ($5 at Walmart and then just cut off one strap – just be sure to wear a strapless bra underneath!) You can get rhinestones, black feathers and other glittery bits and bobs from a Dollar Store for just a few dollars. Armed with a glue gun and some attention to the photo, you can easily make your 5.00 tank top (or nicer corset if you can afford it) look as haphazardly gorgeous as the photo above. The rule of thumb is to place the larger decorative elements first so start with the feathers and then work your way up to the rhinestones. Pay attention to the asymmetry of the bodice – the feathers on the upper right side but not on the left give the costume part of its interesting “weirdness.”
You can purchase a cute plastic, rhinestone covered tiara at any dollar store in the girls/princess section of the toy section.. now your task it to make it look dark and gothic. You can do this by painting over the entire thing (rhinestones and all) with black acrylic paint (which can also be found at the dollar store.) Then you can just take an SOS pad and scratch the paint away from the rhinestones to reveal the shine and glitter underneath. It will look sort of like the rhinestones are excavated from beneath the blackness, very gothic. And only $2-3 dollars to make!
The makeup basically consists of an overall white foundation and deep black and silver eyeliner to create those wing-like shapes around the eyes. Some deep red lipstick and a pair of red contacts will take it even further, but if you have the white skin and dark eye makeup along with your costume, there will be no doubt which ‘swan’ you are.
Depending on how much attention you want to pay to detail, you can also paint your hands with black and silver lines, a la Natalie Portman in the scene where she becomes the bird. You could also do a slight nod to another scene in the film by pasting a little bit of feather to your bare shoulder blade surrounded by blood and red ‘irritated’ skin. A pair of pink tights and nude or pink ballet flats will keep you comfy all night long.
Textural, Gothic, Romantic and yet undoubtedly Modern at the same time, sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy have created an intensely unique label. Their latest ‘unofficial’ work done on the ballet costumes in Black Swan has not only showcased their work in a new and exciting way, but has been a demonstration of the strength of their designs and ideas when their goals are achieved.
Rodarte is one of those lines of clothing that I find myself simultaneously drawn to and put off by. Their combinations of materials and silhouette are sometimes unexpected or even unnerving, but ultimately these disparate elements combine to create something you simply haven’t seen before. It is a perfect example of the artistic fashion that I have talked about before on this blog. In their collections you can see them attempting to capture a complex idea or a challenging aesthetic and a lot of the time it doesn’t quite work. Then, sometimes, it just comes together in a couple of pieces and you can really see what they were working towards all along and you suddenly ‘get’ the whole collection.
I have been able to access images of their collections from 2006 onwards and it offers an interesting look at the evolution of their line over the seasons. Part 2 will be up later today and will start with their 2006 collections.
A little bit of background:
Sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy arrived in New York in 2005 with a 10-piece collection jammed in their suitcases. Their small collection was seen by major editors and buyers and in no time took home awards and the respect of the fashion world and celebrities alike. They are self-taught and their process is meticulous and couture-like and they are known for their hand-stitching, knitwear, printing, draping, and pastiche.