Monday, November 22, 2010

New project- Earl of Oxford

So one of my favorite figures to study from Elizabethan England is Edward deVere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. My first character at Bristol was Anne Cecil who became the Countess of Oxford. Through my exploration of her history and character I naturally learned quite a bit about Oxford. My next project is an opportunity for me to explore a number of topics and challenges that have been fascinating to me. I love playing a different character and getting to be someone else and pass as them for the day (or summer). I'd love to explore one extreme of this aspect which is female-to-male gender passing. I want to try to play the Earl of Oxford. Challenging though it may be I'm determined to do as much as I can to pass as a 16th century Earl without hormone treatment or body alteration or even a haircut!
Luckily one thing that will help is the clothing. With a boned doublet and slops, I will be able to mask an otherwise femininely contoured body. I may put some of my other transformation things up on this blog as I go through the process of figuring out how to pass for a day convincingly enough at conversation distance as a man. Yeah, that's gonna be tough. Mainly however, I will post my progress of just making the clothing. So without further preamble, here's what I'm starting with.

The scheme is black and gold, clearly. Oxford is the second highest ranking Earl and is very arrogant and entitled from my feeling of his personality. Angsty even in some ways. He spends money he doesn't really have but feels he deserves anyway because of his rank and person. Taste isn't exactly his buzz word when it comes to styling.
Here is the first rendering I have for the look. Please note! I'm not attempting to recreate the outfit in the Earl's portrait. This outfit is for entertainment/historical theatrical purposes. I actually sketched this on the airplane while watching Orlando on my laptop. The labeling says I'd be playing the character for the Guilde of St. George at Bristol, however that WILL NOT be so. When, if ever, I play Oxford it will be at smaller faires or purely as a patron, as Bristol has a strict No Crossing policy for its cast members (unless they are on a personal transgender path themselves, which I am not).

Some of the details on the renderings have already changed slightly as I acquired the fabrics I'll be using. But these are the general blueprints.

The doublet and panes will be styled out of the black and gold striped silk. The gold is a pale gold, not metallicized. The silk is a heavier weight fabric I found at Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, Il. The stripes will run vertically on the doublet and if I have enough fabric I'd like to create a chevron look with the panes, alternating which way the stripes slant. Codpiece would ideally be chevroned as well. We'll see how that goes...

In between every other stripe will be some layered black and gold trim (yes more!).
For the simple two-piece sleeves, I found a metallic brocade, more actual cloth of gold style, NOT lame (lah-MAY). These will be horizontally trimmed w/ black soutache and more black and gold trim as well as some detail-highlighting set stones and beading.
The demi-cape will be either 3/4 circle or full circle out of black velvet with gold lace-trim radials and green silk lining.

The hat has yet to have designated fabric but it's the last thing on the list as I want to figure out my wigging situation first and then figure out how big/what proportion the hat should be. Besides, it won't take too long so if it's left for the last that will be alright.

So far I have 7 different black&gold trims for this outfit! Like I said, the look is over the top but still a little sullen and snobbish. Regal but stand-offish. Ostentatious rather than tasteful.

If I can get my butt started on this I will post more pictures of the progress. If not, I'll next post some pictures of the two other projects on my table. Thanks for visiting and any comments!

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