Monday, March 17, 2014

Queen Of The Night

I recently had the pleasure of working with Daniel Roseberry, a designer for Thom Browne. Daniel was asked to design a dress for the Marchesa, the ring leader if you will, for the new vaudeville show, "Queen of the Night" at the Paramount Hotel in New York City.


Daniels original sketch for the dress.

The gown is quite ornate with a headdress and masks to complete the costume. The dress was to include a few life size hands sprouting from around the body hugging the curves of its wearer.

I enlisted a willing model, and Daniel as well, to life cast. With Daniels direction, we made sure the hand was always in the correct position for where it was to be placed on the dress.

Getting ready for the life casts. Smooth-on Body Double and plaster bandages ready to go.

Yon, our model keeping his hand very still.

Since the hand had to have enough detail, and be light in weight I used a combination of urethane and foam to cast the hands. Smooth-ons Task urethane seemed like the best option for the hands. It's durable, slightly flexible and easily tintable. I used a powdered gold pigment to tint the urethane then poured it directly into the life cast. Then, i made sure to coat the entire inside of the mold by rotating the life cast, then letting the material settle into the fingers. I did this a few times to build up a skin of urethane before pouring in the foam.  I used smooth-ons Flex foam V to fill the rest of the mold up.  This gave me a durable and light hand that could be attached to the dress.

The life casts ready for casting.

After a few coats of urethane, the life casts were filled with two part expanding foam.

Casting all the hands at once!

One of the first test hands, cast entirely in urethane.

More test hands. A urethane hand and a soft foam hand.

The folks over at Eric Winterling, one of New Yorks largest costume houses, built the gown and attached the hands. Prior to attaching the hands, they were gold leafed.

The finished cast hands.

I have yet to see the performance at the Diamond Horseshoe at the Paramount Hotel, but I hear it is an incredible show. You can get tickets, and more information at

The final dress.

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