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Convention History:
Providence Anime Conference 2008
Dragon*Con 2009
Photo Credits:
Cheryl Carvalho
ARWEN UNDóMIEL: Coronation Gown
The Lord of the Rings

I knew almost nothing of Lord of the Rings until my senior year of college; some friends had previously tried to get me to watch the first Peter Jackson film, Fellowship of the Ring, and I was so lost in my ignorance of Tolkien's universe I fell asleep from boredom. However, as an English major my senior seminar was on Tolkien, and I was assigned The Hobbit and LOTR for class and loved them (I had to read The Silmarillion as well and struggled). It helped immensely to read the books with a Tolkien and Anglo-Saxon scholar for a professor and have a context not only for the universe Tolkien created but the medieval cultural traditions it borrowed from. When I re-watched Fellowship of the Ring knowing the story, I was fully invested and rather than fall asleep, I cried at the end when Sam insists on joining Frodo on his solo quest to Mordor. I also loved how the film interwove the story of Aragorn and Arwen into the main plot, as it only appears in retrospect as an appendix in the books. I enjoyed this interpretation of Arwen's character, which is nowhere nearly as fleshed out in the original story, and of course I adored her clothes. I knew if I was going to cosplay from Lord of the Rings, it was going to be as Arwen.

Construction Notes:
When I first saw Return of the King, I absolutely fell in love with Arwen's Coronation Gown. Not only is it green, which is my favorite color, but its intricate details were absolutely stunning. I wish I could say I made this one myself, but the dress was a limited edition reproduction by Museum Replicas Ltd. I generally dislike "official" costumes because mass production usually leaves out details and uses cheap materials. However, this is not the case with this dress; it is remarkably accurate and extremely well-made. The main dress and sleeves are made from several layers of velvet and bodice and upper sleeves are embroidered and individually beaded. Due to its materials it is extremely heavy; the sleeves alone weigh several pounds each and it is too warm to wear in the summer, although otherwise it is very comfortable. My favorite part of the costume is the butterfly crown which was made for me by searscho, who for a short time made Arwen's coranation crowns on eBay. It is hand painted and beaded and made with incredible care - the butterfly in the back actually flutters when I hold it up!

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