Time for more of my favorite cosplays of the decade! Did you miss part 1? Click here. I have picked the costumes that matter to me because I love the character, I’m proud of the craftsmanship or I learned something new about myself in the process.
We’re getting deep into my favorite fandom territory now!
6. Ultimecia (2011)
I love J-RPGs, and Final Fantasy is my first and biggest game fandom, more than any anime or manga. Of all the costumes that could have made the list, Ultimecia may be the biggest and most elaborate. She is the ultimate boss in Final Fantasy VIII, a game that will forever have a special place in my heart.
Being able to portray her on the big stage was my main motivation for entering the German cosplay championships (DCM) in 2011. This was a skit and a background video that I really wanted to make!
The costume showcases my full skill set at the time: painstaking patterning and tailoring for the dress, prop-making and casting of gems, painting fabric and props, building feather wings, coloring a wig and making a custom hairline. And because it was for a craftsmanship contest, it all had to be as accurate as possible, which is a huge challenge with a crazy design like this one.
Lots of creative problem-solving involved in this project! You can imagine how happy I was when it all came together at the last minute and looked about 99% like I had imagined it.
It’s been 8 years and I still haven’t had an epic photoshoot with this costume. I need a gothic castle from which to rule the world like a proper video game villain, mua-ha-ha-ha!
7. Yuuko (2016)
Yuuko is another one of those characters whom I’ve been wanting to cosplay for years, but I was also very intimidated by her iconic beauty and wanted to make sure I did her justice.
The xxxHolic manga is my favorite work by CLAMP, and I love the sad and epic story of its sister manga Tsubasa. Yuuko is a time witch who appears in both story worlds, and she’s the kind of deep, mature and powerful character that I admire.
The costume plays to my strengths – sewing and wig styling – and we ended up winning the Best Costume award at the WCS qualifier that year! Patterning the dress took forever, although I was able to use my Ultimecia pattern as a basis for the skirt. I had to make sure the fit and the placement of the ornaments was perfect before I started working on the individual pieces. Welcome to appliqué hell!
This is, again, a costume that comes out best in photoshoots and is a pain to wear around the con. My dream is to shoot it again in a Japanese-style setting to evoke the atmosphere of Yuuko’s house and the ancient myths that lurk behind every corner.
8. Gwendolyn (2013)
The valkyrie Gwendolyn (from the J-RPG Odin Sphere) was the first costume I made after handing in my doctoral thesis. And not unlike my thesis, it had been a long time coming! My friend Isadora who did Odette, the Queen of the Dead had tried to recruit me for an Odin Sphere group about 5 years earlier.
I didn’t find the time to make the costume until spring of 2013, and it’s good that I waited so long to learn new skills and get access to new materials! For Gwendolyn’s armor, I ended up using a combination of craft foam, polystyrene sheeting, Wonderflex and Worbla. In 2015, I repainted the armor and added the light-up prop weapon for a stage performance – my first time working with LEDs.
Gwendolyn is my biggest prop and armor project so far, and while that’s not my favorite aspect of cosplay, I love the way I look in it! My favorite part is the “butt wings”. I specifically went for the Valkyrie version with spread wings (using a figure and artwork as references) because I wanted the challenge, and I thought it looked more elegant than the in-game version where Gwen walks with her wings folded up at to her hips most of the time. Like a lot of things that look great on paper, the wings are very cumbersome to move in, so I might still make the version with folded-up wings and wear that to a con one day.
9. Cookie Queen Lolita (2012)
The idea behind this original design was simple: I found this cute quilt fabric with a chocolate chip cookie print and just had to turn it into a dress! Since the “cookie” (Japanese: kukkii) is my namesake, it was an obvious choice.
The dress lay half-forgotten in my cosplay wardrobe until I dusted it off and combined it with a new, more practical wig for Connichi 2019. I gained a few pounds and I really like the way I look in this outfit now. I look forward to wearing it again.
10. Fang (2016)
This costume made it onto the list although I never finished it, but I have such strong feelings for the character and I loved the process of making the costume for Dokomi 2016. Next summer, I will make an old dream come true and have a Final Fantasy XIII photoshoot with Inulein as my little “sister” Vanille. This will be my motivation to finally make Fang’s lance and plot the trim for her sari – as well as get in shape for this badass fighter girl!
I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane! If you’d like to learn more about my design process, please follow me on Facebook where I post WIP of my current builds.