One of my dreams for a while was to cosplay at a really cool location… and another thing on my wishlist was to make a Chinese hanfu inspired outfit with a big flower on my head.
~LIFE GOAL COMPLETE.~
AJ, Judy, Marcus and I went to Beijing and we figured while we were there, we should try to cosplay. We asked some Chinese cosplayers online and it seemed like a lot of the tourist locations (like the gardens and palaces) didn’t really mind if you showed up in costumes and took photos. People sometimes rent costumes and do it, or they even take bridal photos there! This attitude is very different from the typical attitude in the USA about taking photos in similar locations. Most places in the USA either won’t let you do it or will charge you hundreds of dollars. They often assume you’re doing it for some professional thing,… but we’re really just dorks, perhaps we are elaborate dorks, but still dorks.
We chose the Summer Palace, which was easily one of the most lovely and interesting places we visited on our trip. Every corner we turned was a more beautiful thing to see! (I’ll post more photos from our trip later.)
None of the staff gave us any trouble about dressing up! In fact, they really liked us and some wanted to get photos with us. We seemed to be pretty popular with the Chinese tourists, too. Marcus said that the order of comments changed from “She’s so tall!” to positive comments about our costumes first and wondering if our hair was real (it wasn’t) and THEN “She’s so tall!” Ha! Some people even knew who AJ and I were supposed to be! You’d hear them call our “names” as we passed. AJ is Green Snake from The Legend of White Snake, Green Snake. She’s been wanting to make Green Snake’s outfit for years!
Really it’s mostly just my collar (and perhaps the flower on my head) that looks a lot like Yang Guifei, but “You can call me Flower if you want to.”
The outfits we made are not trying to be strictly historical, just mostly “inspired-by”. My patterns were drafted from scratch and I didn’t have much information on what actual hanfu were made like way-back-when. I was just going for a pretty look that was inspired by hanfu.
The phoenixes on the collar are machine embroidered (by me) from a set of files that AJ had used for her Asian Steampunk. Phoenixes, from what AJ and what we learned while we were in China, were the symbol often used by the empresses and consorts (basically the imperial females). The dragon was used for the emperor. The collar I made was heavily inspired by the tvdrama version of Yang Guifei. Some of the faux-extra-layer-collars are brocade, some are solid-colored.
There are three layers of sleeves, the longer two being floor-length and peachy-pink, while the shorter one is pink-pink.The sleeve-less underbodice is a blue on blue floral and has an appliqued ruyi tou arabaseque (sacred fungus) that I learned about in my Beijing Opera Costumes book.
The skirt is two layers of off-white with multiple layers of pink “petals” and a blue tabbard. The tabbard is made of the same fabric as the underbodice and has an applique design inspired by the ruyi tou arabaseque, but I’m not sure if it still counts as one.
The obi is a faux obi that snaps in the back. The dangling charms; one was from China Town in LA and the other I got at the Forbidden City in Beijing.
My hair is my own except the large bun in the back which is just pinned on. It’s a full pack of the yacky-type extension hair braid drawn into a bun. I wear it with about 4 silver hair flowers, 2 silver Miao-style hairsticks from CrystalMood, and a swarovski crystal pink bow in front of the peony flower (which is just a beheaded flower from Michael’s Crafts store with hair barrettes attached…)