Monthly Archives: November 2007

World Beard and Moustache Championships ’07

The internet is a hotbed for weirdness, and interest breeds interest over time. Some of the things that have found fame on the tubes have proven to be so awful it’s just completely hard to ignore.

Other internet phenomenons deserve the buzz they get.

Every year, the World Beard and Moustache Championships in Brighton, England brings the best of the best in facial hair to the table for an all out hairy brawl. Not surprisingly, the internet turns it’s massive head with a proud glare as traffic pours in to the results of this cultish phenomenon. Why, you ask? Well, basically it’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen.

The competition is broken down into 3 main events: moustaches, partial beards, and full beards. Within each event are specific categories that keep the playing field somewhat fair. Some of these categories are as follows:

  • Imperial Partial Beard – Hair to be grown only on the cheeks and upper lip. Moustache integrated. The ends must point upwards and not be curled. Aids Allowed.
  • Hungarian Moustache –  Big and bushy, beginning from the middle of the upper lip and pulled to the side. The hairs are allowed to start growing from up to a maximum of 1.5 cm beyond the end of the upper lip.
  • Garibaldi Full Beard – Broad, full and round. Length not to exceed 20 cm, moustache integrated. Aids not allowed.

The competition has a remarkably detailed form of judging and is very serious. It’s perfection like this that brings beards in like what you see below. Check out more from the links provided. Of all the cool, natural masks you could possibly have, these beards and moustaches take the cake.

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World Costumes in History: The Toga

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Few forms of classic attire have lasted as long as the toga. It’s history is long and varied. Unfortunately, what a toga is today is far from it’s original purpose, despite it’s always maintained legendary status.

Togas in their earliest form were worn as garments by Romans. In fact, the only time the Romans were caught not porting their noble attire was in activity or in the home. However, if ever encountered in public the typical Roman respected his fellow statesmen by dressing in the classic robes.

Over time, Roman attire evolved to more comfortable and practical forms of clothing.  Tunics, cloaks, and more practical shirts took their place in the Roman wardrobe, but the toga remained at the center of Roman nobility dress. In fact, non-romans, poor citizens, and exiled citizens were forbidden from wearing Togas.

So here are some things you may not know.

via Wikipedia:

There were many kinds of togae, each used differently.

  • Toga virilis (or toga alba or toga pura): A plain white toga worn on formal occasions by most Roman men of legal age, generally about 14 to 18 years.[8]
  • Toga candida: “Bright toga”; a toga bleached by chalk to a dazzling white (Isidorus Orig. xix. 24, 6), worn by candidates for public office.[9] Thus Persius speaks of a cretata ambitio, “chalked ambition”. Oddly, this custom appears to have been banned by plebiscite in 432 BC, but the restriction was never enforced.[10] The term is the ethymologic source of the word candidate.
Those with the right to wear a toga praetexta were sometimes termed laticlavius, “having a broad crimson stripe”. It also gave its name to a literary form known as praetexta.
  • Toga pulla: Literally just “dark toga”. It was worn mainly by mourners, but could also be worn in times of private danger or public anxiety. It was sometimes used as a protest of sorts—when Cicero was exiled, the Senate resolved to wear togae pullae as a demonstration against the decision.[17] Magistrates with the right to wear a toga praetexta wore a simple toga pura instead of pulla.
  • Toga picta: This toga, unlike all others, was not just dyed but embroidered and decorated. It was solid purple, embroidered with gold. Under the Republic, it was worn by generals in their triumphs, and by the Praetor Urbanus when he rode in the chariot of the Gods into the circus at the Ludi Apollinares.[18] During the Empire, the toga picta was worn by magistrates giving public gladiatorial games, and by the consuls, as well as by the emperor on special occasions.
  • Toga trabea: According to Servius, there were three different kinds of trabea: one of purple only, for the gods; another of purple and a little white, for kings; and a third, with scarlet stripes and a purple hem,[19] for augurs and Salii.[20] Dionysius of Halicarnassus says that those of equestrian class wore it as well, but this is not borne out by other evidence.

Toga’s today have taken an obvious turn towards pop culture with toga parties. In many cases modern adaptations are far less intricate and modest as the typical toga. It’s in fact highly ironic that they’ve come to be worn most frequently by college students at toga parties, where their history is directly associated with nobility.

Other facts about Togas:

  • Although togas were the dress of nobility in Rome, women who wore togas were often considered prostitutes.
  • Togas are not sewn or fastened in any way, but were cleverly folded to stay up.
  •  Togas were often desired to be more white to look clean, so they were died with fuller’s chalk to get the white look.
  • High ranking political figures wore a toga with a broad maroon stripe. Eventually emperor’s ended up wearing all maroon togas, in favor over the plain white “manly” toga, in order to stand out.

If we had some good photos from the period, we’d put them up. Unfortunately ancient technologies didn’t permit us to get our paws on them. Modern interpretations are seen to be highly accurate by historians, however. Now, you’re in the know. Toga party anyone?

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At The Secret IMDB Club, You Only Get Robotech Info For Your Hard Earned Greenbacks

Judging by how many cosplayers visit the site, as well as how many hits we have had for our Tobey Maguire potentially starring in Robotech article, it seemed like a worthy endeavor to pursue finding out more information. Unfortunately, IMDB thinks you’re only worthy of that info if you pay for it.

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Hmph, who said the Internets were free. For what it’s worth IMDB, you’re a good site. I’m willing to bet that there’s not much behind that veil, since anything significant usually is spread out like a prom night rumor. I wouldn’t mess with the Robotech fan scene, if I was you.

They act like 2010 is a few years away or something.

IMDB – 1, MyDisguises – 0

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The Final Word – Political Correctness Can’t Change Santa

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“First it was butter then it was sugar and white flour, bacon, eggs, balogna, rock ‘n roll, motorcycles. Then! It was celebrating Christmas on a day in September when you knew it wouldn’t be commercialized! What else are you gonna ban?”

If you’ve ever seen Almost Famous, you’ll easily remember that line. Although, the depiction of the over-protective mom for her rebellious teenage daughter doesn’t quite mimic what I’m talking about here, it has shades of the same restrictive nature that political correctness can tend to have on culture and tradition these days.

And now, they’re trying to get Santa Claus!

Most people know him as the big fat bearded man who’s just jolly enough to deliver the gifts of Christmas across the world all in one night, and do it with a smile on his face. Sure, the true origins of Christmas have religious values, but today we celebrate it in a way that invites anyone to take part in the cultural festivity. Even so, the assault on tradition and culture in the name of political correctness seems to always be encroaching.

In an article put out by SignOnSanDiego.com, reporters found that an Australian shopping company was training shopping mall Santa Claus characters to no longer say “Ho! Ho! Ho!” for fear that the words had a sexual and demeaning connotation. Numerous news sources have reported the incident and found a number of people claiming that it was a silly move and completely overdone. In the end, the Santas were allowed to revert away from the “Ha! Ha! Ha!” they were demanded to exclaim and be their natural selves. Phew, one small victory for level-headedness.

So, like anyone else, I started to worry and ask myself: What else are they going to ban? Soon, Santa will be assaulted for offending overweight people. Maybe he’s offensive to a small community of individuals with skin problems that can’t shave their beards. Still again, that red suit surely has communist overtones, doesn’t it?

I find a few inherent problems with the detraditionalization of Santa Claus that the political correctness crowd has to consider.

Here are my reasons why political correctness can’t win over Santa:

  • First, lets dispute the word “Ho”. This word is obviously a pop cultural phenomenon. It’s origins do not provide an actual root from which it can be derived. That being the case, shouldn’t we consider the fact that pop culture is killing tradition, not civil liberties?
  • Second, once we pick ol’ Santa apart for all the things he does that represent a potential offense to various interest groups, we’d be left with a guy in jeans, sandals, a button up flannel, and a pair of thick glasses. Ultimately, isn’t it significantly more politically incorrect to have children sit on the laps of mysterious men?
  • Thirdly, the very age group that is typically involved in sitting with the jolly fat man and asking for toys is disputably not interested in political correctness. Shouldn’t we ask the kids if they’re offended before we decide for them?

Here’s the deal, people. If ever the words bah humbug were in order, it’s now. Santa hails from a magical land of gumdrops, flying reindeer, and unbridled happiness. You just can’t touch him. You can’t attack the man…well.. because… he’s not real.

We dedicate our blog to the joy of costumes for one major reason. We like to celebrate the ability to get out of the daily monotony of who we all must be. It’s the power of imagination that keeps people dressing up, playing a new role, and having fun. If we start to extract imagination out of the biggest holiday of the year, we’ve completely failed.

My final word is this:  We should spend less time worrying about how Santa is potentially offending a few of us. Frankly, if you ask me, the bigger point of interest should be on how he manages to mass produce toys for the entire world in such a short period of time. The secrets he possesses could change the face of our economy for the better in more ways than we can count. That’s my final word.

Discuss…

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Unmasking the Community – How Much Is Too Much To Spend?

Unmasking The Community is a segment where we ask you, the readers, to give us your ideas and input on some common questions surrounding the world of costumes.

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Costume enthusiasts are like sports fans. They come from all types, have their own tastes, but typically appreciate all things costume. However, one trait they don’t all seem to mutually possess is the agreement on how much to spend on costumes.

Think about it for a second. You may be a Bob Mackie Barbie collector and may be willing to spend hundreds of dollars on a rare vintage Barbie costume to complete that piece of your costume. Or you may be a cosplayer and be adamant about completing your own collection without any sort of aid. It’s part of the culture.

It begs the question, how much is too much? If you’re doing a homemade project, is there a limit? What about a collection piece? What’s the limit? How much would you spend before you settled?

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The Costumes of Disney’s Enchanted

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After seeing the movie Enchanted last night, I couldn’t help but wonder about some of the clever costumes shown in the film.

For those of you who don’t know, Enchanted is about a princess in a cartoon fantasy who gets cast into modern day New York City by her evil Mother-in-law to be to keep her from taking over the position as future queen. The queen’s not-so-evil and quite full of himself prince son dives into this parallel real world atmosphere to save her. The plot twists when Giselle, the object of the Prince’s affection, ends up falling in love with a real life New York City lawyer.

I admit, I had my reservations about this one. I’ve moved passed this form of entertainment. Well, at least I thought so. In the end the movie was very good and reminds us that we’re never too old for some classic fairytale-like imagination.

In many cases, one would fear that the transition of costume characters over to real life action would be a bit over the top. Well, it is. However, that’s just the point and reason why this movie and its costumes work so well together. It was so clever in fact, that I came home and started browsing the Internet for information about the costume work in the movie.

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Most notable is the wedding dress that Giselle ends up taking with her from her fantasy world of Andalasia over to New York. In a number of instances, you find the protagonist with her elegant, pannier heavy dress getting caught in doorways, tripping over busy New York Streets, and accidentally stepping over an unsuspecting midget. It has to make me wonder if women truly feel more beautiful the larger their dresses get.

Costume director Mona May (also known for her work on Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion and Clueless) recalls the experience of trying to recreate the classic Disney Princess:

It’s one of the biggest dreams for a designer to design for a princess, but it’s also difficult because you’re dealing with iconic Disney characters who have been in the psyche of the viewing audience for so long. It’s a big responsibility to stay true to the character while trying to invent something new. (via Star Bulletin)

Ultimately, the costumes in the movie are absolutely charming. There are a few moments where Giselle helps herself to the curtains or sheets of her hosts home and makes her own dresses. And, like a bad cliche, there is the ultimate scene where she discovers shopping. In so many ways, the average person will not notice the costumes from the movie as blatantly as other aspects. That’s where the genius lies. They’re subtle enough to be highly appreciated, but not the only good thing going.

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The Metropolitain Museum of Art Costume Institute – The Art Of Dress

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For those who are into the more sophisticated history of costumes, the Met is the place to be. With more than 30,000 costumes from all over the world, it’s a respectable collection for any costumer. Although, in many ways the costumes are focused on style and fashion, there is also a vast and extensive historical collection of costumes from 5 different continents and numerous cultures. If you love all things costume, it’s really a must see destination.

That being said, here’s something of note. The Met Costume Institute will be hosting a new tour called “The Art of Dress”. This comes via the Costume Institute website:

 

“The Art of Dress” is a new cross-cultural guided tour that focuses on the way artists have used clothing to express identity and influence from the 6th century B.C. through the 20th century.
This new tour is offered between special exhibitions, when the Costume Institute is closed. This innovative guided tour offers insights into the landmarks of costume history and examines the different materials used throughout the ages. Featuring clothing represented in stone, wood, and paint, the tour covers trends and developments from all over the world starting in ancient Greece and continuing through the 20th century.

It’s sure to be a remarkable display of the pedigree of fashion and costumes. Not quite in the sense that we think of when we hear the word, but all the more worthy of the inevitable attention the tour is sure to gain. We hope to look into this more, as we can’t foresee getting out to New York any time soon. If luck blows our way, we’ll surely cover as much as possible.

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Coalition for the Appreciation of Random, Strange, Awful or Ugly Costumes – The Turkini

Sometimes, in the most silently brilliant moments of a persons life, they come up with an unbelievable costume idea that is ripe for the world to witness. This weeks CARSAUC submission isn’t a normal costume idea, but it was so genius I had to send it to everyone I knew.

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Personally, my favorite part of the turkey are the breasts.

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