Re: Akasha, Queen of the Darned

Barbie, Queen of the Damned.

One of my Middle Easter dance students, Jessica, decided that she wanted to portray Akasha, the lead vampire, from the movie “Queen of the Damned” for her next performance. This isn’t as far off base as it sounds. Aaliyah, the singer/actor who portrayed Akasha, wears a bellydance-inspired costume for much of the film and since Akasha is supposed to have been an Egyptian vampire, there is a Near Eastern element to the music as well. In fact, there is a scene in the movie when Akasha enters a disco and proceeds to do some very bellydancer-type isolations.

Aaliyah as Akasha wearing the iconic costume from the movie poster.

Our first problem was finding some screenshots from the movie that allowed us a good look at Akasha’s costume. You wouldn’t think that would be a problem, but it was. There were plenty of closeups, headshots, and three-quarter shots, but no full length views of Akasha. What’s up with these movie photographers anyways?

A closeup of Aaliyah as Akasha showing the vampire queen’s crown headdress made from what appears to be North African heart-shaped pendants.

The best reference pictures we could find on-line were of fan made versions of Akasha’s costumes, most of them using the movie poster version with the coiled breastplates.

Here’s a nice one. I believe its from a Brazilian carnival celebration.

Another excellent effort. This photo was taken at DragonCon 2006.

Perhaps the best fan effort I’ve seen so far (photo taken at DragonCon 2007). Love the fangs! I tried to persuade Jessica that she needed to wear some Dracula fangs for the full effect, but she refused. Spoilsport.

This fan made costume is a fusion of the movie poster version and Akasha’s copper costume (see below).

Stuart Townsend as Lestat and Aaliyah as Akasha wearing her copper costume from the latter part of the movie.

We finally had to go to the movie itself to attempt to get a good look at the costumes. If you’re planning on doing this yourself, I recommend a remote control with a fast forward button. The dialogue and acting are as wooden as the proverbial stake.

After some consideration, Jessica opted to go with a re-creation of Akasha’s copper costume from the last third of the movie–a sort of the Nefertiti meets Xena, Warrior Princess look. The major part of the costume is a copper collar/breastplate with a matching hip belt. The rest is simplicity itself–a white circle skirt made from what appears to be lightweight white cotton and with matching sleeves attached to copper armbands.

When she gets it built, I’ll take some pictures and post them. Vampire bellydancers–a concept whose time has come.

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Re: Hats and Headresses

A combination of a nasty sinus infection and bronchitis has laid me low, but I’m back now with some cool pictures of hats and headresses that I’d like to share.

First up, here’s an awesome tufted hat that I think would be great for winter wear. I have no idea how they get the yarn to stand up like that on the crown of the hat, but it’s just too fun:

Here’s the link to the New Jersey company that makes them.

Who wouldn’t want to wear this special headdress on their wedding?

A more practical hat by the same European fiber artist (Constance Willems):

This knit hat has two tails which can be wrapped to the front and twisted to give this cool turban effect. To check out this hat on Constance’s site, click here. To see her Wedding Crown hat page, click here.

Tznius.com is a site that sells clothing and headscarves for conservative Jewish women who want to cover up in public. However, it’s also a handy site for conservative Christian and Muslim women who want attractive and fashionable clothes as well as Middle Eastern dancers and Renaissance re-ennactors looking for an ethnic headcoverings. The headscarf section is particularly nice because they give step by step instructions on to tie the scarves into various turban shapes. This is the Rapunzel:

Neat, huh? Who knows, maybe the fashionable headscarf will make a come-back.