Allon Book Series – Shannan Costume

6078727060_0b43ecd4fc_b Since today is Mother’s Day, rather than sharing the typical “I love my mom!” (which, obviously, I do), I thought I’d switch things up and share of the fun work my mom has done. Did you know she’s a published, legit author? True story! She has written screenplays for children’s television (Bravestarr, anyone?), historical fiction novels, and my personal favourite, an ongoing allegorical fantasy series called Allon.

A few years back, Mom asked me to create a tangible costume for one of the lead characters to accompany the artwork in publicity. For background on the character, Shannan is the female heroine from the first 4 books. From birth, she is destined to bring back the return of the mysterious Guardians and help Prince Ellis take his rightful place as ruler of Allon. She is a strong, but caring girl, wise beyond her years (and needs to be to deal with a young, hot-headed Ellis!) and an expert hunter. Her grandfather whisked her away upon her birth as she was marked for death by the Dark Way (Why, you ask? Well, you’ll just have to read the book!). As such, Shannan lives in the secluded forest of Dorgirith away from prying eyes and invasive questions.
IMG_0465This was actually my first attempt at creating a full costume from start to finish. But being the costume enthusiast I am, I was quick to take up the task. I knew that I wanted to make a movie-level costume (or as I like to say, a “Weta-level” costume, named for the illustrious Weta Workshop in New Zealand). This particular costume is from the beginning of the book where Shannan’s character is introduced. It a forester’s costume in basis, but with it being in the world of Allon, we tred to stay away from the cliched medieval look. The era of costume I designed for Allon is patterned roughly around the renaissance period, but with a fantasy aspect as well (as Allon is a fantasy world not unlike Middle Earth). Stealth and ease of movement in Shannan’s clothes  are essential. So I designed the costume to keep with a utilitarian fashion.

In the days to come, I will have links posted to behind-the-scenes posts of how each piece of the costume was created.

The Concept:

The Cowl:

The Undershirt:

The Jerkin:

The Sleeves:

The Bracers:

The Pants & Boots:

The Quiver & Belt:

The Pouch & Wineskin:

The Wig:

Then comes the icing on the cake – the photography. Lauren Athalia is one of the most top-notch photographers I’ve ever met. Not only does she know how to wield a camera to maximize the beauty of a naturally-lit scene, but also knows how to use that light to bring out the best qualities of her models. (I have a difficult time with photographers not lighting my face properly and thus my weak jawline becomes my undoing – i.e. my face and neck tend to appear to blend into one another in most photoshoots. I know when I look in the mirror I have a jaw! It’s probably a minor point to most, but Lauren managed to capture my usually elusive jawline on camera and I  couldn’t be happier.) I wanted to give both my mom and Lauren the best pictures I could and boy did I get them.
IMG_0367The really special treat with this photoshoot was that I had a co-star, and a four-legged one at that. One of Shannan’s companions in Allon is a wolf named Torin. Lauren has a knack for procuring incredible sets, props, and animals. So my co-star was a full-blooded Timberwolf named Breeze. Now Breeze is not a pet. I’m not sure about all the details, but she was a rescue. She was a bit skittish at first around us, as wolves usually are around strangers. It took about 30 minutes for her to warm up to me, but it wasn’t long before we started to call her Miss Kiss-n-Run, as she’d quickly lick my face off and then bolt away. I hate to sound cliched, but it was a dream come true for me to be playing alongside a real wolf. I’ve always had a deep loves for wolves. (I think one of the first jobs I ever wanted was to be a zoologist just so I could work with wolves. It was a sad sad day when they got rid of them at the Nashville Zoo.) But before I get sappy, here are Lauren’s beautiful photographs.


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