Well the Faux Queen Pageant in San Francisco is almost 7 weeks away so it is time for me to get organised with costumes and an act.
This year’s pageant is a fairy tale theme “The Sisters’ Grimm”. I must prepare an outfit on theme for the couture section, and another outfit for my act which does not need to be on theme. I have to travel with my costumes, so they need to be gorgeous, but practical for stuffing into a suitcase.
After several hours of watching scenes from Shrek and Puss in Boots on Youtube, I felt completely without inspiration! Those films are just so clever with their personification of folk-lore characters that I didn’t feel I could do any of them justice.
As usual, I complained to my partner and friends that I was struggling with ideas, and also struggling to feel any connection with these characters at all. When I was a child I found the Brothers’ Grimm fairy tales to be a bit scary, especially Rumplestiltskin which I found utterly terrifying. The Shrek phenomenon has helped to make those fairy tales more modern and palatable, so they become less warning tales for children to understand worldly dangers.
I cannot take credit for this idea, but it is blaringly obvious now that a person close to me mentioned it. For many Australian children growing up in the 80s and 90s, May Gibbs Snugglepot & Cuddlepie and Dorothy Wall’s Blinky Bill hold special memories. I am no exception, as a child I loved the imagery of the gumnut babies, imagining that they lived illusively in our backyard bottlebrush tree. I also enjoyed the rascal antics of the koala Blinky Bill, sort of like an Australian Huckleberry Finn. As an adult I have laughed hysterically at the references to May Gibbs characters in Kath & Kim: “gumnut boibies”
Snugglepot & Cuddlepie and Blinky Bill are not fairy tales, but they are mythical characters to which I feel a strong emotional and cultural connection. I’ve chosen to design my costume inspired by the gumnut babies, in red, green, yellow and brown tulle and ribbon. Take a look at the “concepts” page under Faux Queen Pageant for up to date design work.