So a very long time ago, Abby made me watch Avatar: The Last Airbender. It went only sort of well because Abby also decided to start the show when I was already half asleep but I liked what I remembered of it. Essentially ever since then, we’ve been trying to find a time to cosplay as Mai and Ty Lee because they are basically us in a nutshell. Several years ago, we ended up doing their beach outfits at Dragon Con but have always wanted to do the costumes properly. The problem always came down to how Mai’s a great winter con costume and Ty Lee’s a great summer con costume and we always dragged our feet on picking a con where one of us would be miserable.
And then the Fire Nation attacked. Actually no wait: the stars aligned. My friend Tini Howard was cleaning out her cosplay closet, sold me her Mai costume, and Abby basically went “JUST TELL ME WHAT CON” as soon as I told her I’d bought it. AND THEN THE STARS ALIGNED EVEN FURTHER because Katsu this year was actually reasonably warm so Abby didn’t freeze. What I’m saying is that this was meant to be.
Ty Lee: Abby Rou Cosplay
Thank you to my amazing British Clone Anna for the photography at Katsucon!
In case you thought I was kidding about Mai and Ty Lee basically being us, there was very little acting involved in these pictures.
We’re clearly Team Fire Nation here at White Hot Room so it was only a matter of time before we put together an inspo post for our favourite Avatar kids. The Fire Nation has such great colours to draw inspiration from too. Red! Gold! Black! Oh wait, that’s also a list of some our favourite colours. No wonder we’re doing this post.
Let’s start with this Strapless Ombre Bandage Dress from Herve Leger and this Sheath Dress from BCBG. I’m betting Azula goes for the ombre and Mai goes for the colour blocked. They’re just such sharp dresses.
Ty Lee, however, would totally go for something way more fun and a bit out of the box like this cute dress from Desigual. Mai probably went shopping with her and convinced her that black was not a bad colour.
I could absolutely see one of the Fire Nation ladies rocking this Gold Bandage Top from Herve Leger beneath a red jacket or blazer. (We vote blazer.)
If Azula’s going to be the Fire Lord then she obviously needs a chic power suit. It’s all about the gold, darlings.
It probably gets cold in the Fire Nation occasionally, right? Or maybe Mai just needs a fabulous coat to keep her warm while she’s bored stiff in the Earth Kingdom colony. The fabric invokes the embers of a dying fire.
And of course, what’s a fashion inspo post without a little couture? Play us out, Elie Saab and Marchesa!
Welcome to Cosplay Tuesday! Every week we feature one of our costumes and talk a little more in-depth about it. This week, we’ll be turning the spotlight on Bria’s Mai costume from The Beach episode from Avatar: The Last Airbender.
This was probably the best costuming decision I ever made. Let me tell you how positively thrilling it was to be wearing this at Dragon*Con this year in the horribly oppressive Atlanta heat. I’d worn head to toe black the day before which made this even more of a pleasant change. Wearing this was amazing… or at least it was until I went inside for a BSG panel and froze.
It also helps that Mai is basically my spirit animal. She was also the first character where I put on the wig and costume and immediately went “WOW OKAY I WAS MEANT TO COSTUME THIS CHARACTER”.
This was one of the easier costumes to make and happened during my Spring Break last year. (Oh the irony of making Spring Break!Mai during my Spring Break.) It did, however, involve some guesswork and a lot of staring at fabric. The skirt was just a slightly modified version of a pattern I found in my pattern drawer. I originally considered editing the pattern to remove the pockets but then I remembered Rule #2 of Costuming: If you can add in pockets, HAVE POCKETS. Okay so maybe I couldn’t fit my wallet, my camera, AND my phone in them but it was better than having to ask my dear friend Brandyn to carry all of my stuff. The skirt definitely took some tweaking but the best part was that I didn’t have to hem it!
The top was what involved most of the staring. I’ve never made a bandeau top before and therefore got to practice my clueless face quite a bit. I wish I could give you a magical formula for making one but at the end of the day, I just took a lot of measurements of my chest, crossed my fingers, cut the fabric, and hoped for the best. Getting the elastic to work on the inside took a little bit of trial and error but eventually worked out!
The toughest part of this costume was actually assembling the wig. Although my natural hair is about right for the costume, my lack of bangs made going the wig route a better plan. I found a short wig to use as a base on Ebay and then cried while trying to cut the bangs to the appropriate length. (Honestly, I’d be happy to never have to cut bangs ever again.) The rest of was a matter of buying some extensions and hair buns and bobby pinning the crap out of everything and hoping it would stay in place for the afternoon.
And of course, you can’t have Mai without her fellow Fire Nation ladies. Lin was Azula (~with lightning in her hair~) and our friend Abby was our Ty Lee. Ozai Angels, am I right? We got up to some ridiculous shenanigans outside the Hyatt and it was the best. They involved Mai looking bored, Ty Lee being crazy happy, and Azula and Zuko trying to kill each other and insisting that THEY had the prettiest hair of all time. (Uncle Iroh could not be found to give everyone soothing tea.)
I also have to pause and give some major props to my friend Brian for letting Lin and me clothesline him into being our Zuko about two weeks before the con. Brian is a costuming newbie and originally though we were joking when we tweeted and told me to be our Zuko. (Spoiler Alert: We’re never joking with costuming suggestions.) Somehow, he managed to pull this costume together just in time for the convention and a friend of a friend offered to help him out with the burn scar makeup. And he didn’t even drop ice cream on me!
Want to see more of Bria’s work? Then head on over to her Costume Gallery!
As you may have noticed, we’ve been slowly aggregating the various costume efforts of our past years for your viewing pleasure. (And also to document the rise and fall of our wasted free time…) So we’re happy to announce that the Costumes section is up and running! You’ll find our respective galleries nestled within, as well as convention schedules and future cosplay plans.
And of course, there’s our beloved Sailor Hawkeye and Sailor Black Widow, and our shared enthusiasm for Miss Braddock as reflected in our cover pictures — just click either of them to get to our respective galleries!
We’ll also be featuring some of our costumes occasionally, and you’ll see some of our favourites make their way to our tumblr! And stay tuned as we start to get our heads back into the game for Katsucon 2013…