Avant-garde costuming. Animals preferred.
February 5, 2016 2:29 AM   Subscribe

I am interested in animal costumes, but searches either come up with mascots and fursuits (which are far too literal) or things like The Lion King (which foreground the human too much). Can you point to anything less conventional?

This is admittedly inspired by the recent Guardian article. Full disclosure: I'm a furry, and would love to dress up. I'm also let down by fursuits, which mostly are extremely literal, and am looking for inspiration in unconventional costumes where the person is essentially appears as an animal, as opposed to a person representing an animal (see: The Lion King).

One of my inspirations is the Exploding Galaxy's Bird Ballet; I can find very little about it, but this bird mask is one of the few non-overly-literal representations I can find, if you're looking for a starting point.
posted by solarion to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you checked out a timeline of Bjork's costumes over the years? A lot of her stuff from, for instance her MoMA retrospective, can be read as animals, and her costuming style in general is great tinder for your own ideas.
posted by cocoagirl at 4:21 AM on February 5, 2016

I'm not sure exactly what type of costume you're looking for, and this is in no way furry, though I guess with some glue gun and fake fur skills it could be, but I've made a few masks from this kit supplier that turned out well:
bear mask
I would suggest browsing etsy adult animal costumes, you will find a large variation, and maybe something will come up that fits your criteria.
Another idea, though I suspect it would be too much along the human representing an animal scope, is for mardi gras costumes or carnivale costumes on ebay.
I go to themed costume parties quite a bit, and I've had good luck in both those places, either for inspiration to make my own or just to buy the components.
Good luck and happy furrying!
posted by newpotato at 4:22 AM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

My sister once dressed up as a sea cucumber. Basically it was just a weird frilly maroon dress she found at some second hand store, but hey... sea cucumber. And I imagine that when people asked her what she was dressed as at the costume party being able to answer in a totally deadpan way, "I'm a sea cucumber." was probably pretty god damned hilarious and fun.

Now, I get that you don't want to be a person representing an animal, but I imagine making a big billowy tube of maroon fabric to truly "look" like a sea cucumber shouldn't be too hard.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 6:14 AM on February 5, 2016

If you google Weimar-era German avant-garde dance costumes, you may find some inspiration. You will find stuff like this.
posted by Tchad at 7:07 AM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

There was Isabella Rossellini's series of short science films Green Porno where she's dressed as insects and other animals to talk about their modes of reproduction. According to wikipedia, the costumes were made by Jody Shapiro and Rick Gilbert.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:50 PM on February 5, 2016

It sounds like you're interested in more abstract and less literal, so might also look at things like carnival costumes, and traditional festivals/rituals that include animal costumes. Some possible starting points from old posts here.

Another avenue might be costumes worn by people like Lady Gaga or Bjork, or the costumes of groups like Cirque du Soleil or avante garde dance groups -- they probably have the top people working in art costuming.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:09 PM on February 5, 2016

For inspiration, might I suggest taking a look at Procession of the Species? There are plenty of photo galleries of past years' events, although actual costuming instructions are not online, so far as i can tell.
posted by Vervain at 4:22 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

You may want to consider alternative costumes that other furries are wearing? I know several furries who've gone for unfurred native-american themed masks or resin masks that use their own eyes, accompanied with furred 'arm warmers' and 'leg warmers' and a tail. Sometimes they also don body paint -- or their overall animal personas are brightly colored (ie: rave colors) and it works really well. I'm a huge fan compared to fursuits (which I have made/worn before).

Also, 2nding Vervain's suggestion of looking at Procession of the Species -- lots of very creative animal costumes. So much so that the fursuits that show up often look very out of place. Some of the costumes I describe above have walked in the Procession of the Species, but I'm having a hard time finding photos (I don't remember what year they participated).
posted by stubbehtail at 6:22 PM on February 5, 2016

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