The Crimson Reaper



Stefania Bancone (Nocturnal Garden Atelier)


(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

Model: (Roberto) Photographer: (Thomas)

Outline the story …

“The figure was tall and gaunt, and shrouded from head to foot in the habiliments of the grave. The mask which concealed the visage was made so nearly to resemble the countenance of a stiffened corpse that the closest scrutiny must have had difficulty in detecting the cheat. And yet all this might have been endured, if not approved, by the mad revellers around. But the mummer had gone so far as to assume the type of the Red Death. His vesture was dabbled in blood -and his broad brow, with all the features of his face, was besprinkled with the scarlet horror.”

When I first read the contest theme I didn’t know what to chose to represent it, then chatting about horror stories with my model while sipping a coffee, the idea hit me: “The Masque of the Red Death”! I love Edgar Allan Poe and that’s my favourite novel. But I didn’t want it to be a cosplay or a raw outfit: I wanted to represent the “Death” figure in a glamour and haute couture way. I wanted it to be scary, voluptuous, detailed and unique and I decided it doesen’t have to be a male, neither a female. So my friend and model Roberto was perfect to be the “death”, thanks to his experience as a drag performer.

To create the design I was inspired by haute couture designers like Dior, Alexander McQueen and Jean Paul Gaultier, but also sculpture by Sandra Sheehy and Lorenzo Nanni.

Outline the construction…

The outfit is composed by a corset, a shoulder piece and a mask.

The main garment is the corset. The foundation is composed by three fabrics: white hard mesh, red rebrodé lace and black chantilly lace to create the “decomposition” effect. I made the pattern on model measures but giving a more rounded shape on hips.

About the skeleton: ribs and spine are made with single stripe of paillettes sew on a cotton tape and then handsewn on the corset. Pelvic girdle is made with ivory cotton satin and i patterned it to give more roundness on hips. In three points there are wounds made with hand dyed red gauze, ripped and handsewn on the corset. To give more the idea of the blood I added different sizes of swarovski crystals and I create droplets with gems and red pearls. On hips there is a hand tea dyed cotton gauze, draped directly on the corset and handsewn, then ripped and stained in red. On the back, the corseted closure is made by the same Ivory cotton satin to simulate the spine that goes up to the neck.

To represent the shroud I used a polyester gauze fabric and stitch small channels to create a more “organic” effect. Then I stained in red it on bottom as the cotton gauze.

The mask was an optional, made out of a natural leather piece. Hand modeled with a half-skull shape and then hand painted in ivory.




  1. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 11, 2021 at 9:26 pm

    Oh wow- the details, the textures- the colours! this is art, this is gorgeous. very well done

  2. Avatar Mandy Vedder on March 11, 2021 at 9:39 pm

    I just can’t stop staring at this. Goodness, this is amazing!

  3. Avatar Heather B. on March 11, 2021 at 9:58 pm

    This is by far my favourite! Absolutely brilliant!

  4. Avatar Gabrielle Amey on March 12, 2021 at 3:08 am

    I can’t get over the corset with the skeleton ribs…its haunting. So good!

  5. Avatar Kathleen LaFlamme on March 12, 2021 at 4:22 am

    THIS. IS. AMAZING. I wondered if someone would take on the Masque of the Red Death in this plague year. This is such an original interpretation and the work is incredible.

  6. Avatar Sammyra on March 12, 2021 at 6:52 pm

    this corset is so beautiful! the structural detail of the long back piece looks so dramatic. wonderful photos, such a cool idea. lovely mask, but that corset though ♡♡♡

  7. Avatar Amanda on March 13, 2021 at 1:18 am

    So cool! I showed this to my partner who also says it’s amazing! The attention to detail is stunning.

  8. Avatar Carly Van Groeningen on March 13, 2021 at 10:29 am

    Wow, so much wow. I love every detail!

  9. Avatar Stanislava Pilkova on March 13, 2021 at 9:59 pm

    It is disturbingly awesome, I think you captured the essence of the character. Brilliant!

  10. Avatar Maeri Certo on March 16, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    I love the play of textures that you used. It is beautiful and demonic in the best possible way!

  11. Avatar Katie Hernandez on March 17, 2021 at 6:03 pm

    Rarely, very rarely, do I look at an ensemble and have my heart stutter. This made my heart stutter, trip and possibly smack itself. AMAZING! The design, the implementation, the ensemble complete – wow. You see the character Poe describes become corporeal when looking upon this. BRAVO!

  12. Avatar Xenofon on March 18, 2021 at 6:22 pm

    My jaw dropped to the floor. It is absolutely gorgeous. This corset lives in my head rent-free. The details are great. The surface treatment is stunning. The shape of the corset is breathtaking. Congratulations!!!

  13. Avatar Ari on March 20, 2021 at 12:19 pm

    This is wildly impressive, and look at those pelvic bones! Amazing!

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