Creating Costumes for Gala Nocturna

20 days to go before we’re in Antwerp, sipping absinthe and dancing the quadrille! We’ve booked the coach tickets and our hotel, so we’re down to the really important stuff – what to wear!As you can see on the event excitement post there is a strict dress code, basically if you’re not dressed up to match the theme you’re not getting in! Luckily, the Mood board on the website is very inspiring. The Pope’s Daughter, Lucrezia Borgia, would have worn Italian renaissance dresses with puffed sleeves, high waistlines, embroidered details and jewelled circlets. There is a lot of high fashion religious iconry with stunning halo-esque headpieces in the mix. For the gentlemen, cardinal’s robes and religious garb with heavy crosses seem to be the order of the day. The whole board has a pallete of rich reds, golds and angelic white and silver tones. We put together our own mood board on Pinterest Our ethos at GypsyPixiePirate is never to go for an off the shelf, ho-hum, run of the mill fancy dress costume, unless you can put your own stamp on it and make it really special. However, we also believe you should upcycle and reuse outfits and materials whenever you can, and that is what we’ll be doing for our Gala Nocturna outfits…The story of how I came to own a baroque style ballgown is a long one probably best saved for another post! To cut a long story short, I needed a dress for a Masked Ball in Venice and after a lot of searching and tutting about hire prices I found Your Dressmaker a Hong Kong based company on Ebay who custom make dresses based on historical designs. A month later my gown turned up in an amazingly small box that I have never been able to get in back into. I had to buy a hooped petticoat for it separately but these are widely available. At the time I was lucky enough to live with a professional seamstress, who adjusted it for me and helped me change the corset style lace up front to tie with gold bows. As the devil is in the details, I also found a crafter who made costume jewellery based on portraits of royals from history and bought some matching earrings and jewelled choker.Amazingly, I have managed to get quite a lot of wear from the dress for various costumed occasions! As well as the Casanova Ball in Venice I’ve worn it for a Last Tuesday Society Halloween Ball and the Prince Charles Cinema’s Labyrinth Masked Ball (ahh, the film that set off my love for masked balls in the first place!). With its gold tones and puffed sleeves I think it perfectly suits the dress code for Gala Nocturna. Inspired by the Mood Board, I’m planning a halo headpiece which I want to make from this gold Christmas ceiling decoration, maybe enhanced with some roses and beading.As for Emma, I had another dress in my collection that with a bit of Jujjing will be perfect for the theme. This dress was for a Myths and Legends New Year do thrown by a friend of mine, I decided to go full elf and got this Arwen dress with huge medieval bell sleeves. The trouble is, it is pretty big even for me and will drown Emma, so she came up with a plan to pair it with her lovely black cincher corset. Em is also thinking along headdress lines, and after scouring the local pound shops (treasure troves for fancy dress and crafting items!) I found a pretty beaded skullcap that she is thinking aboutWe will keep you up to date on how our costumes are coming along! Please do leave a comment if you have any ideas you’d like to share, We’d love to hear about your renaissance costume experiences!.

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