FOUNDATIONS REVEALED COMPETITION ENTRY
Ties That Bind
Outline the story …
"Rohan at the Louvre" is a Japanese graphic novel following Rohan Kishibe, an artist with the ability to read people's lives by opening “books” on their bodies, as he investigates a cursed painting linked to his past. Rohan’s ancestor painted the painting with ink obtained by illegally cutting down an ancient tree owned by the Emperor. He was executed for this crime and his painting was cursed by his anger, killing anyone who saw it. Years later, Rohan locates the painting in the Louvre’s basement but accidentally activates the curse, forcing him to use his abilities to destroy the painting for good.
My outfit is inspired by Rohan's book-reading ability, the actual graphic novel’s cover, and the theme of being tied to the past. My outfit’s monochrome color scheme symbolizes the graphic novel’s black-and-white art. The pages on the corset front represent a person’s story opening up, and the black “back cover” represents the forbidden ink and the secrets some keep within their life stories. The living tree on the cover represents a "growing" story, while the cut tree with sprouting buds represents the tree that was cut down and the idea that threads in our stories may end, but our story as a whole continues. I made the blouse and pants from tulle and pleather, two highly contrasting fabrics, to represent the past, future, and unpredictability of life. Overall, the ensemble symbolizes Rohan’s determination to write a new future instead of dwelling on the dark past his ancestor created.
Outline the construction…
Since this was my first time making a proper corset, I had two rules. One, I would use a written pattern so I could practice proper corset-making techniques, and two, I would use as much stash fabric as possible. Starting with an AraneaBlack pattern (Lolita), I made two mockups to alter the fit, then cut the actual pieces from black and white coutil, white silk for the front pages, hand-dyed black silk for the back cover, black twill for the lining, and duck cloth for the grommet strips. I constructed the pieces into a book-shaped corset by flatlining, roll-pinning, and using the sandwich method to sew everything together. Then I beaded the back, bound the edges with bias tape made from leftover dyed silk, and hammered in grommets. The back panel/book spine was designed to float over the laces.
The blouse was patterned by draping black tulle over my dress form. I added pleather to the bottom hem, cuffs and back tie to match the pants, and fishing line to stiffen the collar, which unintentionally turned out well.
The pants were made with two types of stretch pleather, giving them a unique drape when worn. I also added a duck canvas waistband and satin-stitched buttonholes to the sides so I could attach waist ties.
The biggest hurdle overall was creating an original design to fit the prompt. Since I usually make cosplay, creating an original design really pushed me out of my comfort zone, but I learned a lot.