Final Fantasy VIII was one of my first RPG’s, and watching my best friend play through the game, Siren became one of my favorite junction/Guardian Force/summon. For years I considered how to properly translate her design into 3D materials, I thought 2011 would finally be the ideal time to tackle this with the skills I had learned in previous years of working with feathers and challenging projects. And she’s the perfect costume for me, feathery with a calm, benign nature. I initially aimed to make her for Katsucon 2011, but ended up debuting her a little while later at Fanime. Due to the placement of the wings jutting from her head, I knew I couldn’t approach this as I normally would with a pair of wings, so I devised ways to cut out as much weight as possible in order to make it wearable for more than 5 minutes. The wings were made out of a copper wire base, embroidery floss instead of chicken wire for the body, light polyester batting, and of course lots of feathers. The wings sit underneath the wig on a metal and plastic headpiece lined with HD foam (otherwise I would hemorrhage from the pressure haha), and ended up being far less heavy than I had feared. The turkey rounds were ordered from Rainbowfeatherco.com who custom dyed them to the yellow I wanted, otherwise they would look highlighter yellow and very cheesy. I trimmed all 600+ feathers by hand and spray painted the colored ends of each feather individually on the wig, bra, wing tips, and tail when the dye I used wasn’t acidic enough. I also found I couldn’t dye the downs to fill in the spaces of the wings, so I had to cover any exposed batting with more rounds by breaking them right above the base of the stem. I built a custom bra for the feathers at the bust and created several layers so nothing would be exposed, and did the same with the torso and tail feathers. The rainbow makeup actually takes the longest in changing into this costume, and the eyebrows are thin yellow feathers held on by spirit gum. My gorgeous harp was made by Lionel Lum out of balsa wood! I cannot be more proud of the result! I made the outfit to how I believe it could be best translated into textiles and feathers, and not only did it look accurate, I was also able to have a lot of mobility in the wings for photos, and could pack the entire thing in my suitcase! Plus, it was such a pleasure to have my cosplay partner Yunie as my accompanying Rinoa. Also, many thanks to Krystal for the figurine from Japan because it helped a lot with more detailed construction, my friends for being my handlers while moving in this monster, and Lionel for the wonderful harp and continued support!
Photos 1-6 by Usagichan.com, photo 7, 30-33 by Judith Stephens, photo 8, 26, 28-29 by KenEden.com, photos 9-12 by Winterwish, photo 13 by LJinto, photo 14 by Joseph Lin, photos 15, 17-20 by BlizzardTerrak, photo 16 by Martin Wong, photo 21 by Crunchyroll.com, photo 22, 25 by Kei Tsubasa, photo 23 by Anna Fischer, photo 24 by Squallete, photo 27 by Eurobeat King, and photos 34-42 by Asianschoolboy.com.