Cleopatra Halloween

Still putting your costume together? Why buy those overpriced, cheaply made, unoriginal costumes (that you’ll wear once) at Halloween outlets when you can use vintage finds, props from previous years, and a little DIY to make an unforgettable outfit? Check out what the always-glamorous Laura Okita put together. Originally published on Paper Mothball Vintage



Candy corn, pumpkins, streets lined with golden amber leaves, jack-o-lanterns, goblins and a chill on the breeze. Its almost Halloween, one of my favorite holidays of the whole year. I dont know if its that particular smell that permeates the air, a scent that only the cold can foster, mixing with leaves fallen from the trees and fire places burning in the distance, maybe its the feeling of a cozy corner on an overcast day, candy lined shelves in stores or the excitement that we get to dress up and be anyone, or anything, we want for a day.

10 5 days and counting, if you havent decided what your costume will be this year, its time to start! I always begin my plans for a costume at the end of September. This year I wanted a vintage mid-century based costume and the stunning makeup and wardrobe design for Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra immediately came to mind. I love a costume where you really get to transform, change your hair color, load on the fake blood, glitter, fangs, accessories, glow in the dark, go all out! For this look I would get to once again use my trusty little black wig. I bought it for my costume of Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction while I was in collage and have used it at least two to three times a year since. I gave it a haircut a few times too.

Elizabeth Taylor and the Queen of the Nile, what powerfully beautiful muses to inspire this night of endless possibilities.

All Photography by me (Laura Okita)

For this costume I knew I wanted to make my dress. I wanted something that would feel like the real Cleopatra, but still be recognizably inspired by the movie, yet wearable on any other day. This gold brocade fabric was perfect for the dress, giving me a little structure to work with for the wrapped mummy like drape of the mid-section, and I knew it would photograph well. It is actually two pieces, a bodice and skirt with sequined details on the back. I made the hemline short because on Ancient Egyptian walls it seems to be the length of choice and also to give it a little Mid-Century pinup feeling. This is the first dress that I have draped completely without using the patterned sloper I made a few years ago.

Yes, I am obsessed with this necklace from Amarcord!

I was inspired by the fashion of the film, but also enjoyed one of my old interests from school. Growing up I always wanted to be an Egyptologist. I taught myself to begin reading hieroglyphics, studied Egyptian mythology, history and even have the hieroglyphic dictionaries still sitting on my shelves. I graduated from the Univeristy of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in Anthropology, where I was honored to take a course on Egyptian Hieroglyphics from an astounding professor in the field. I was in a serious relationship that moved me to NYC after graduation, combined with a seeming fate tied to fashion both led me in another direction, but I still remember my early passions and am glad whenever they can come back to life through my current work. A perfect theme taken from Egyptian mythology, the afterlife.

I hand drew and made the hieroglyphic wall background for the header image. It was fun to visit some old friends and rewrite the symbols once more.

 Sister Post with Halcyon Fair
 A few weeks ago my good friend Maura of Halcyon Fair was in New York City. We have so much in common, we order the same thing at restaurants, love the same movies, music and of course vintage fashion… so we decided it would be fun for Halloween to do a sister post. Check out the link below to see Maura’s Egyptian Revival. Didnt she do a fantastic job on her makeup? And her dress is vintage 1930s.

Photo courtosy of Halcyon Fair

Paper Mothball Vintage

Laura Okita is a vintage fashion designer, photographer and vintage editorial blogger living in Brooklyn, NY, and model for over 10 years in New York, Europe and Japan. "I am mostly self taught using vintage sewing patterns. I create all my garment patterns and sew all my designs. I specialize in luxury fabrics and hand beading and embroidery, and occasionally create my own prints for fabrics. I take most of my own pictures and videos, working in both film and digital. As a model, I always try to bring the clothing to life. Every garment has its own story that it wants to tell. When I step into a dress, I step into being that girl."

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