Shake it for yo hood!
Artist, Muse, Diva and Booty Shaker Extraordinaire Corinne “Coco” Loperfido shares costume making tips and what inspires her.
Greetings from New Orleans! We are in the middle of carnival season and gearing up for the week of psychedelic costumes, long nights of debauchery, and the excessive hedonistic paradise that is Mardi Gras! When I am getting ready to make a costume, I have several things that I do to help myself get focused and inspired.
If you ever need to make a costume but are not sure what to do, set some limitations on yourself ie: I will only use purple and gold -or- I will have an epic headpiece -or- I will use a certain pattern or fabric on my whole look. It is easy to go for the obvious costume, but I prefer to do something conceptual or completely different – remember when you are dressing up for ANY event or holiday, you don’t always have to BE something or someone. For Halloween, people usually like to dress as a character or object, but Mardi Gras is so open, the only thing people try to “be” is completely crazy looking!
I am constantly collecting things (do-dads, fabric, trim, glitter, base garments to sew onto, ornaments, fake flowers, etc so that when it is time to sit down and make something, I have a huge selection of things to choose from already. I know that isn’t possible for everyone, but if you are going to the thrift store to get supplies, have your inspiration ready and know what kind of things (color, texture, shape, etc) you are looking for. I buy a lot of bed sheets and skirts made from awesome fabric – they are way cheaper at a thrift store than buying fabric by the yard at a store, plus there are way more interesting fabric designs than you usually can buy by the yard at any reasonable price.
Here are some inspiration pictures I’ve collected:
Simplicity is nice when done well, don’t feel like you need to go over the top to look amazing. You can choose a simple color palette, or just a basic look with 1 or 2 bold elements:
Monochromatic is always an easy way to look good if you don’t want to have a big costume concept. This is easy to do with layers and layers of one color:
When in doubt, make a weird headdress, headband, or hat – that is my go-to solution when I don’t have other ideas. Baseball hats are a great base to attach thing onto:
If a headdress isn’t cutting it, just go full on weird and make something completely outlandish. Use anything and everything you can find: sequins, fake hair, big insane coats, paper, necklaces… just pin things all over yourself and it’s a look:
And if you really run out of time / money / ideas, you can ALWAYS just paint your face!
• Any object / fabric / piece of trash can be made into a costume if you cut it and sew / glue / paint it the right way
• Have a baseline concept in your head before you go shopping, but don’t limit yourself… you can spend days looking for the EXACT thing you had in your head or you can be inventive with what you do find.
• Don’t box yourself into dressing up as something/someone that already exists – you can invent your own character or style every time you get into costume!
• Sometimes less is more – it is all about the right pieces and the way you wear them.
Here are some images of things that I’ve made in the past: