Commission for a client. Includes shirt, handkerchiefs, pants, boots, hip bag with belt, rope belt, shrug with "slashed" sleeves, tunic, hat, wig, beard, and cape.
<------------------ Costume this way!
I had been planning this commission with my client since January of this year. I was particularly excited to work on it since I knew it would require some pretty fancy fabrics, so six months was a pretty long time to wait as I was super thrilled about this project ever since the first emails!
LDV's costume obviously has to be approached with at least some historical context in mind. He was born right in the middle of the Renaissance, so that is where I looked for inspiration in my fabric choices. My main three fabrics were a white linen, black/dark gray cotton velvet, and a heavy red wool.
I knew the shirt would be the only garment (besides the pants) actually coming into contact with the skin, so linen was my first choice for both its soft texture and breathability. I also like the overall visual texture of linen.
The tunic and shrug in the LDV artwork seem to have a little sheen to them, so my first thoughts turned to velvet (which would've been typical of fancy-pants clothing in the era). As a result of its pile construction, the velvet color changes from black to dark gray, depending on the lighting. Since LDV's colors changed a good amount from the artwork to the gameplay, I felt this was a good solution.
The point of a cape is to have protection from the elements, and when it comes to natural fibers, wool is the best fabric for the job. It keeps the wearer dry in a rainstorm, warm in snowstorm, and wicks away moisture when it is hot. When I saw this gorgeous red bolt of it at the fabric store, I couldn't resist.
The trims were also an important part of the costume. The squiggly gold trim on the tunic and shrug was a great find at Jo-Ann's, and the ribbon on the cape and the bottom of the tunic were from my favorite Atlanta fabric store, Gail K Fabrics.
In addition to wool, linen, and velvet, I tried to incorporate a good amount of leather into this costume as well. LDV's hip bag and belt, his clover-shaped decoration, and boot covers are all done in leather. The belt was available as a pre-cut blank which, after a little beveling, some dye/sheen, and getting a belt buckle became a finished piece. The bag was a pre-cut kit that I added a front pocket and top strap to, and re-cut the top flap. It came with a few tooling patterns, one of which I tweaked a little to fit on the "V" shaped top flap.
The clover decoration is composed of three pieces. One very long piece (about 25") of 1/2" wide leather and two skinnier 1/4" wide pieces (about 12.5" long) that were riveted to the longer piece.
The rope belt came from Home Depot
Working with veg tanned leather is surprisingly easy, and with helpful places like Tandy, it can be a great way to bring a little extra "pop" to a costume. I highly recommend checking them out!
The beard was a little long when I got it, so I trimmed it shorter to look closer to my client's references. LDV's hair looks almost bone straight in the AC2 artwork, but I didn't feel this would translate well to a real hair style. So, I left a little curl in the wig to maintain some body and texture.
The base shoes are calf-high tan boots with an inside zipper. The boot cover is brown garment weight leather, and the toppers are veg tanned leather with braided suede ties. The back of the toppers are fixed with rivets, and the topper/cover combination simply snaps onto the base.
What I like about working with leather is that it is very easy to distress. All the leather pieces for this costume were custom dyed, which allowed me to concentrate color in different areas to give a worn look. For the boots in particular, I picked a light brown hide that already had some natural imperfections in it, as I knew it would have a lot of texture once a darker dye was applied.
The boot toppers also have a subtle tooled border, just to add a little visual interest.
I had a great time working on this costume - thanks for looking!