Thursday, October 27, 2011

Miss Havisham Halloween Costume: The Prep Work

When it comes to fancy dress, Miss Havisham is a very easy character to bring to life. Here are the bits and bobs that will help me embody this bitter, vengeful lover of vintage and cobwebs.

A watch
Miss Havisham's world stopped the moment she had heard of her fiances's betrayal. In fact, she ordered all her clocks to be stopped at that exact moment - twenty minutes to nine.  

I don't have a real pocket watch, but I do have this lovely little necklace from H&M. The clock face is just a picture inside a frame, so I made a new picture with the correct time, aged the paper with tea to give it a yellowish tint and attached it to the frame.

The paper flowers I got from a local crafts shop and I'm planning to wear them in my hair. I'm not going to have a veil so I thought they would give a nice 'bridal' feel to my costume. But since Miss Havisham has been wearing these flowers for decades, I aged them a bit with some watercolors.           

Fingerless gloves  
Fingerless gloves make me think of old-fashioned weddings. Also I own a pair. Sometimes it's tough to find a legitimate reason to wear them. Luckily, there's always Halloween.

Miss Havisham is a very wealthy woman, so it would make sense that she would wear her best jewels on her wedding day.

Cobwebs and a spider 
Miss Havisham has lived as a shut-in for many years and I imagine her sitting for hours without moving, staring off into space, wrapped up in misery and letting spiders weave webs around her.

This is the most simple cobweb you can get form any costume shop. It's usually used for decorating the house but I thought I could add it to my costume to give it an old, withered look.

A dress
Miss Havisham has not changed her clothes since she had been left at the altar. So, naturally, she should be wearing her wedding dress. My trip to several second hand shops yielded no results, so I decided to use my Mom's old wedding dress.

The image does not do it justice. It's a lovely off-white silk dress that acquired just a hint of yellow over the years. It has a diamond pleat around the wrists and on the shoulders. The neckline is very high and there is a frill around the throat. The neckline and the pleats make me think Victorian, even though it was made in the early 80s. Unlike many wedding dresses that are worn once and then never again, this one has served me faithfully over the years as a base for many Halloween costumes.

What I'm missing....
A shoe. Just one. Miss Havisham wears only one because she was in the process of putting her shoes on when she heard that her groom-to-be had run away. I pair of ballet flats would be perfect but I don't have any and I couldn't find a pair that wasn't black. I might just have to go shoe-less.  

See also, Miss Havisham Part I

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