The lights are on
Final Fantasy VIII summon Siren is a franchise favorite of mine, so I was ecstatic to see such a fantastic interpretation of the guardian brought to life. Don’t let the simple design fool you though, Cosplayer Etaru took on an engineering job when designing Siren’s elegant headdress. Despite the difficulty, she passed with flying colors – and feathers. Who: The Character The character is Guardian Force Siren from Final Fantasy VIII.Why: The Decision Final Fantasy VIII was one of my first RPGs, and when watching my best friend play through the game, Siren became one of my favorite junction/Guardian Force/summon. She’s the perfect costume for me: visually attractive, powerful, exotic, and with a calm, benign nature. It begged to be made - a challenge I had to eventually tackle in the back of my mind - and I decided that 2011 would finally be the year I was experienced enough to attempt this project. Plus, I adored another opportunity to work with a material as versatile, organic and sturdy as feathers. I couldn't be happier to have completed this costume after years of dreaming of making it! What: The Process I worked on the costume on and off between the months of February and May, but total I'd say about a month of work was put into it. The majority of the cost of the costume - as the majority of the outfit suggests - were the feathers. With materials like wire and paint sold at hardware stores for pretty cheap, the costume didn't run me over $100! Due to the placement of the wings jutting from her head, I knew I couldn’t approach this as I normally would with a pair of wings, so I devised ways to cut out as much weight as possible in order to make it wearable for more than five minutes. The wings were made out of a copper wire base, embroidery floss for the body, light polyester batting, and of course lots of feathers. The wings sit underneath the wig on a metal and plastic headpiece lined with HD foam for comfort and stability. The turkey rounds were ordered from Rainbowfeatherco.com who custom dyed them to the yellow I wanted, otherwise they would look highlighter yellow and very cheesy. I trimmed all 600+ feathers by hand and spray painted the colored ends of each feather individually on the wig, bra, wing tips, and tail when the dye I used wasn’t acidic enough. I also found I couldn’t dye the downs to fill in the spaces of the wings, so I had to cover any exposed batting with more rounds by breaking them right above the base of the stem. I built a custom bra for the feathers at the bust and created several layers so nothing would be exposed, and did the same with the torso and tail feathers. The eyebrows are thin yellow feathers held on by spirit gum. The gorgeous harp was made by Lionel Lum. Although the wings and headpiece don't weigh more than 7-10lbs, they do make it difficult to move my head in any direction, hear, or see in my peripherals. Where and When: The Debut I initially aimed to make her for Katsucon 2011, but ended up debuting her a little while later in May at Fanime-con in San Jose, CA. We shot in several locations, some resembling Ultimecia's extravagant castle, others pool-side to bring an element of water and tropical surroundings since that's what one first sees when she's summoned. Links: The CosplayerI have a personal page, and you can find me on AC Paradise, DeviantArt, and Cure. The Gallery Photo credits: Sleepy\
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