I first thought about doing the Black Swan costume back during Fanaticon, a small convention in Asheville, NC. I started organizing the idea and thought it would make a great project for the upcoming DragonCon–seeing I missed doing it for Fanaticon. I started this blog post and by doing so met my partner in crime, Lori Bair. She encouraged me to come to DragonCon as Black Swan. In the end we decided that our costumes should look as similiar as possible because we decided to come as Sarah Lane/Natalie Portman.
This costume re-construction and design material selection I did. I purchased and selected all the costumes design materials except for the base. Ironically, Lori and I had purchased the same base–a professionally made rehearsal tutu and Mondor bodice from tutu.com. Some of these materials were very hard to find. The tiaras and buntoppers were all handmade by me. Lori and I met one weekend where I detailed out the construction plans and did as much sewing as we could. We embellished and sewed each of our tutus separately using the materials I sourced. Over the next two months, it was a flurry of emails, text messages and phone calls to finalize our costumes. The end results are pretty spectacular, at least, in my opinion.
If you are trying to go as movie accurate as possible, I would like to warn you. This project is very time consuming and costly. Furthermore, strutting around in a tutu for nine hours is not an easy task. My costume suffered a lot of damage at DragonCon, which will have to be repaired before the next Con. I was planning on entering this costume in the Costuming contest (not the Masquerade); however, we arrived at the con to late on Friday to do so. Lori, however, was able to enter DragonCon’s 2011 Masquerade contest and win Best Movie Costume and the Fuze award for her comical skit of classical ballet mix with popular dance.
- Pointe Shoes: $0.00 / I already own several pairs (for others reference $60.00-$90.00) Or you could go for the fake pointe shoe look (as Portman did numerous times in the movie) by purchasing a demi-pointe shoe ($50.00) or a satin ballet slipper $16.00 and sewing ribbons to it. $3.00. Don’t forget to learn how to sew the ribbons on correct, and tie the shoe properly. I DO NOT RECOMMEND someone with no pointe experience going out and buying pointe shoes for your costume. You can really HURT yourself; plus, the shoes ARE NOT comfortable to walk around in. Be smart and do the satin ballet slippers. You can always find pink satin ballet slippers. Try Freed of London’s opera slippers.
- Pink Tights: $0.00 / I already own several pairs (for others’ reference $16.00)
- Tutu: $108.00 / $58.00 Tutu Skirt (Bloch Pull-on Rehearsal Tutu) / $50.00 Tutu Bodice (Mondor Bodice)
- Tutu Embellishments: ~$150.00 / I bought some really nice fabric for the bodice, black shimmer organza, and some standard black net for the rhinestone appliques and feather embellishment. I advise getting more feathers than you need. I purchased 2 yards of string black hackle and 12 black hackle pads; I think I am going to have just enough to finish the tutu. The rhinestones are expensive if you are going with Swarvoski, which I did. I would say for the
- Veiling: ~$25.00 / You will want to get around 4 yards of veiling which will work for both the tutu and the face. You tutu width will determine the width of the veiling you will need to buy. My tutu width is 14′; thus, I had to choose the 18′ width veiling.
- Crown: ~$150.00 After purchasing clay, glue, wire, rhinestones, spray paint, gloss, and acrylic paints I would estimate spending around this amount. Just for reference it takes about two weeks to make the crown. You have to do this in stages because the clay has to dry, the glue has to set, and each coat of paint must dry.
- Bun Topper: Included in price above.
- Make-up: $100.00 I went all out and bought Ben Nye stage make-up. Because I wasn’t sure of my exact skin tone and other needs, I went ahead and bought a student kit, along with a couple brushes, metallic creme make-up, and of course some final set for the make-up so it doesn’t go melting off my face throughout the day.
- Hair Supplies: $20.00 / Hair Spray, Rubber Bands, Hair Net (goes around the bun), Hair pins/Bobby Pins, fake bun supplies.
- Contact Lenses: $320.00 if you want to go totally crazy and have the Black Swan Eyes too.
- Good videos with close-ups of the costume are located here
- Reference images are located on this page
The Black Swan Tiara
You can find out more on how to make your tiara on this post: How to make a Black Swan Tiara
I am using a Mondor leotard as a base. Because the material is Lycra, which means it stretches, I have created a duct tape mummy of my torso. This allows me to put the leotard on the body form and apply all the design elements to it without worrying about having fabric and rhinestones rip off once I try to put it on my body. This is a awesome tutorial on how to create a duct tape body form.
DragonCon 2011 Black Swan Photographs
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