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Tell us how you got started costuming.

It dates back to that 1996 Christmas party with friends. One of my friends was annoying us, constantly talking about his darn cows. So we told him to disguise himself as a cow for the party. But then he said, "If I have to dress up as a cow, you should dress up as Sailor Moon." (I guess I was a little nerdy to them with my manga^^.) Anyway, he never made the cow costume, but I made my poor Sailor Moon and loved it. And it never stopped....  



Talk about the cosplay scene in France, and have you been to conventions in other countries?

In France, it’s all about having fun. All the cosplayers that participate in the cosplay contest have to make a 2-3 minute show during conventions. Some people dance, some do martial arts, some try to have the audience laughing…I prefer the last option, and we try to write something fun each time we make a group. We did a parody of Bioman for the “Strawberry Shortcake” show; we danced to “Spice Up Your Life” during the Rainbow Brite show…each time it was a lot of fun!

I never tried conventions in other countries, but as far as I know, we are quite lucky to have this show thing the other countries don't seem to have…I went to Comic Market in Japan once, and it was all about taking photos in an overcrowded place. I must say I was a little disappointed.

Tell us all about your Marge/Maggie Simpson costume. It's great!

Thank you^^…At the beginning, the idea came because my boyfriend is really crazy about “The Simpsons,” and so am I, and also because it was a great technical challenge. After I found some people to create the group, we shared our technical skills to find the right technique. This happened to be the use of Lycra for bodies and Varaform (a kind of plastic that can be modelled in boiling water) and papier-mâché for heads. My friends taught me these techniques which I'd never used before. It was a bit long to make, so we soon found ourselves spending whole nights modelling paste with salt and applying Varaform boiled in water on it, but it was also a lot of fun!!

 

Maggie‘s head was especially difficult to make because of that confounded hair that was so heavy that the paste with salt mold collapsed about ten times, so I had to repair it ten times in 3 weeks before it could get dry enough to put Varaform on it. In constrast, the easiest part was Maggie’s body because it has no shape. I simply used latticework and papier-maché which I covered with fabric.  Because Maggie was hollow, it was a great place to keep my glasses and wallet away from pickpockets.^^ Sewing Lycra was also a great challenge. But the worst was finding a cheap idea for Marge’s hair. After trying polystyrene balls, hair, and many other things, it finally appeared that cotton balls painted with blue spray paint was the cheapest and easiest way.

 

You have a wide range of costumes. How do you decide what characters to portray, and which is your most favorite?

I do not have a method to choose my costumes. When I see something I like, I write it down on my list and make it when I think I can do it, when I've gained enough technical skills to make it. For example, Happy Tenshi Berry Chan or Fuu waited for 2 years until I found the right technique to create them. Creamy is still in progress; I already made 2 trials, but because I do not think they are good, I am trying a third technique. On the other hand, I've also made costumes because people asked me to join their group in which one person was missing. That’s the way I happened to be dressed as Pizzazz, Para Para, or Lime Chiffon ^^ And sometimes I see something kitsch and want to dress like this for fun. That was the case for Lucchia or for Dorothée which is a parody of a famous television woman who traumatized a whole generation of children.

My favourite costume? Hard to say ^^...Maybe my gothic lolita thing...I also like Rabi en rose, Meroko, and Berry Chan (though this one is not comfortable at all)

What is your chosen career, and does cosplay contribute to your personal success?

Hm… My carreer has nothing to do with cosplay. I took a degree in Nutrition engineering, and I am now a 3rd year ph D student. I will probably become a researcher. My co-workers think cosplay is fun, but it only contributes to making them consider me as a mascot for the lab lol. I'm afraid I am going to stop cosplaying for a while because writing my thesis takes all my time.

What are some costume construction tips you can share?

I think that the most important point is to understand how the costume is organized and to plan a lot before beginning any sewing.

 

Always keep in mind that you have to wear the costume for a whole day and that it has to be comfortable and strong enough not to leave you naked if someone accidentally walked on one of its parts.

Be very careful when buying fabric: for example, avoiding synthetic fabrics if you know you are going to sweat in it. Don't buy too-small-sized shoes even if they look great for the costume.

 

Can cosplay conflict with a person's religion or spiritual beliefs?

I guess that some people may be shocked by some costumes featuring nudity or religious things, but I never had or heard about any problems with this.

Alexiel from Angel Sanctuary  

Suppose a movie studio was brainstorming a live action anime story and approached you to play the lead role. Which series would you suggest, and which character/outfit would you want to design for your part?

Aw. I guess I am too shy to play in a movie…But I think a Sailor Moon live would be fun.

Any hobby as popular as cosplay is sure to have drawbacks. What are some of them, and what improvements can be made?

One of the drawbacks of the show system in France is that we sometimes have to wait several hours in the slides [staging] so we can't enjoy the rest of the convention in the meantime though we paid the entrance like anybody else. They are trying to find solutions, but I know it is not easy.

View more of Co's Cosplay Lab profile here.

Co, one thing is for sure - you are having fun with cosplay. It's easy for seasoned cosplayers to downplay the fun aspects of this hobby when we continually try to outdo ourselves. It's great to want to experiment, or add more detail to a project, but running out of time takes the fun out of it. Thank you for reminding us that having fun is the most important thing. Good luck in your career - both cosplay and professional.

Garry aka Prof.

 
 
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