The lights are on
Every once in a while I look at a piece of character art and come to the conclusion that there isn’t a way to faithfully manifest it into reality. I thought Cassiopeia was a character that transcended into movie magic territory, but Jerry Polence and her cosplay crew proved me widely wrong.The build was carefully engineered so to be lightweight and travel safe – each segment of Cassiopeia’s tail nests inside another so it can jetset with Jerry to conventions worldwide. Color me impressed!
Who: The CharacterThe character is Cassiopeia from League of Legends in her Desperada skin!
DecisionThe organizer of the International Cosplay Day Singapore celebration asked if I could cosplay something from League of Legends. I was happy to oblige. Since my guy and I play the game together, and we both like Cassiopeia out of the many champions, it was a good sign when the organizer asked. I like snakes in general, because even with no arms or legs, they are able to navigate ever so gracefully. Plus, the irregular black stripe design on the tail actually makes it feasible to segment the tail into sections, making it easier to pack for the rigorous travel schedule I had ahead.
ProcessOne big factor that the team had to consider while making it was the fact that I would be traveling extensively with a very bulky costume. With that in mind, we planned the design for over a month, extensively communicating online since costume production team, Project 8, was in the Philippines at the time while I was in the USA. The actual construction time was about 80-100 hours with three people working on it for two weeks.Design-wise, two things inspired it. First, it was inspired by a retractable water cup, so each segmented part can be tucked inside the bigger pieces. The segmentation lets it be packed away in a box complying with aviation standards. It also had to be light, weighing a total of 7.3kg or 16lbs 1.5oz total when packed. Secondly, the design was inspired by a wooden Asian snake toy, with the tail undulating depending on which direction I go, pretty much like the toy.Material-wise, it was made from stretch black velour for the gloves and the top layer of the corset, satin for the skirt, big-headed single fasteners for the detail on the hat, and resin for the big gems on the hand. The neck piece, hip pieces, claws, tail, sickle, hat, and corset were all made from lightweight "rubber sheets" (as they are called in the Philippines). Rubber sheets are very similar to craft foam, but these are denser, thicker, and more durable. It's the same material used for flip-flops. Then we used the usual spray paint for the paint job, and a soldering iron to engrave scales on the tail. Rubber sheets are easily repairable, which incidentally a small accident happened, and it needed repair right before I went onstage at ICDS! Overall it was a hard costume to make, with lots of tedious planning involved, which paid off in the end. It successfully travelled to two continents, three different countries, and passed through international airport security eight times in a span of a week. Price-wise, the materials themselves are cheap. It's the labor of love that beats everything, so I would price the costume at $600. From assembly, make-up and all it takes about two hours to put on.More facts about the costume can be found in the costume assembly video on my YouTube channel here.
Where and When:
The DebutFirst it had a photoshoot at Intramuros, Manila Philippines on Thursday, August 23rd, 2012. It's an old Spanish city built in the 1590s, so the area looks very close to the setting of the game. Present were five members of the "No Na Me" cosplay photography group. Mark Alvarez and Clark Navarro from Project 8 and my manager Mike Abundo were there to assist, since it was my first time actually wearing everything and we had to travel from one spot to another. Right after the eight-hour shoot, the costume was packed away for the flight to Singapore the next day. The costume debuted at International Cosplay Day Singapore that Sunday. I then wore it at PAX Prime Friday that same week, at the League of Legends North American Regionals, at Seattle, USA.
Costume Production: Me, Mark Alvarez, and Clark NavarroTalent Manager: Mike Abundo
The GalleryKira Hokuten Photography, Jhe Photoglapiruu, Jumpshot/Photography, Dreamshot Photography, JoviClaire Photography
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full archive of past costumes.