I had really wanted to do a classic, Bruce Timm style Animated Series Harley Quinn cosplay for ages, since that was my introduction to the character, and the version of the character that I love the most.
I put a lot of effort into getting the correct shape – I made (from scratch) a spiral-stitched longline 1950’s style bullet bra in red raw silk and black stretch satin, for the perfect retro-pinup styled bustline.
The bodysuit itself is made from four-way stretch velvet, and the catsuit is a pattern I drafted myself from scratch. I didn’t want any side seams visible, so I moved the side seams to the back of the catsuit, which positioned the leg seams at the back, similar to vintage styled stockings. The bustline also has seams under the bust and a dart was worked into the centre front line, to give that skintight, contoured comic book silhouette.
The hood was the toughest part of the build, and I used soft bra foam to make the points, which are also wired with millinery wire, so they’re moldable to suit a variety of “Harley moods” – in the animated series, they convey her emotions similar to a dog’s ears, and I wanted that ability for future photo shoots.
The mask is of Worbla, with lots of coats of black acrylic and PVA glue. The wrist ruffs are of felt, and were assembled like an Elizabethan ruff over white elastic. Both pairs of shoes for this cosplay (I’ve since also made a third pair) were heavily modified by me – the leather pair had the ankle flare added and were then painted, the velvet pair are a pair of flat boots that I added the ankle flare to and covered in stretch velvet.
I also scratch-built the mallet, which is of EVA foam stretched over a 35mm film reel can, and a repurposed staircase bannister for the handle, which I sanded back and leather wrapped to form the grip. The wood finish was hand painted in acrylics, and I made the “Welcome to Sunny Arkham” sticker in Photoshop – even though it’s not really visible, I still get a kick out of adding tiny character details to my cosplays.
This shoot took place in July 2015, with Max and Louise of Light Sculpture Photography. Max found the location – a glorious abandoned brewery that doubled perfectly as a foreboding, crumbling Arkham Asylum. Photography in this series is by Max Valente, post production editing is by me.
Photos by Light Sculpture Studio