Sunday, 5 June 2016

Aladdin Wigs: Headdresses

Once the hair was done, it was time to move onto the individual designs for each costume.

The six wig designs for Widow Twanky were as follows:
  • Imperial China inspired semi-circular headdress
  • Juliet Bravo police hat
  • "Lampshade" hat, riffing off of Asian conical hats
  • Carmen Miranda fruit headdress
  • Slosh scene headscarf
  • "Pagoda" hat, with matching Pagoda themed structural costume.
Of these, only the Slosh and Carmen Miranda designs didn't have a visible hairdo underneath.

I started by mocking up the Imperial headdress in card.

The headdress was made with two layers of buckram sandwiching a layer of plastazote.  The gold fabric was glued on with copydex, and additional decorations added with uhu.  I drilled a hole in the end of each hairstick, pulling the end of the tassel through, wrapping it round the stick, and fixing with uhu.  Still, the headdress looked a bit bare for my liking...

Much better!
The Lampshade hat ended up taking a lot longer than anticipated.  The structure was made from millinery wire, and then the whole thing had to be covered by hand as it obviously wouldn't fit under a sewing machine.  I used bias tape to hide the millinery wire.  Chinese lantern baubles served as earrings, sewn onto the wig itself.
Carmen Miranda was also trickier than expected.  I first built a base plate for the fruit to sit on, before covering  this with a layer of wadding, and then the outer sequin fabric draped into a turban look.
The difficulty came with getting the fruit to stick.  I used a hot glue gun, but initially had trouble with the glue peeling off.  The central pineapple texture was especially bad at adhering to the rest of the fruit.  To combat this I attached pins to the fruit that would be touching the pineapple, then drilled small holes in the pineapple, slotting the pins in place (pointed downwards so they wouldn't slip out) and secured it all with more glue.  This seemed to fix it better, but I am going to keep mulling that one over for alternative methods in the future.
The slosh scene required a particularly robust headdress.  For those not familiar with Panto; the slosh scene is a traditionally messy part of the show, usually involving a food fight, or mud being chucked about, or in the case of Aladdin, an extended laundry scene in which the Dame goes head first through a clothes wringer, and is doused with soap suds.  Obviously an actual head of hair wouldn't last one night, so I usually get given some kind of headscarf design.

I started with a millinery wire foundation, covered in waterproof fabric.

For this costume, the mic pack needed to be inside the wig to protect it, so I left a window in the back for it to be slotted through.

The headscarf top fabric was lined with a layer of crin and another of waterproof fabric. 
And one more layer of waterproof fabric for good luck!
I don't have any more process photos, but the triangular headscarf was wrapped over the waterproof lining, and the two long ends knotted together at the front.  When I was happy with the positioning, I sewed the headscarf to the fitted lining.  The whole thing can be pulled off the wig base (it's secured with poppers so it won't slip during the performance) so that it can be cleaned between shows.  I actually made two of these, so there's no need to worry about one drying in time for an evening show after a matinee.  The front of the wig base also has a row of heavily pva-d curls along the forehead.

This post is getting rather picture heavy, so I'll conclude next time with the Pagoda wig and costume, and some photos of everything in action.

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