Based on Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, this version of Belle’s animated ballgown has been created entirely out of novels, encyclopedias, and homemaking guides. Belle’s character was one who wanted to escape from her provincial French life and the expectation of marriage, so the use of books as the design element was a natural choice for a character known for her love of reading, and adventure. While some fabric is used to give structural support, this ballgown is created out of books collected from resale shops and library donations.
The restrictive bodice is made of the spines of cookbooks, novels, and guides on housewifery. The skirt is made out of travel encyclopedia pages that have been pleated and stitched in layers to create the classic gathered look of fabric, with visible text on French kings, bicycles, and the Silk Road. The off the shoulder sleeves and neckline are made of encyclopedia pages on birds and gardening. The skirt and sleeves have been airbrushed shades of yellow with gold accents to avoid compromising the integrity of the text. The flounces on the skirt were created out of Disney’s Wonderful World of Knowledge book covers and are connected by paper roses hand folded out of the pages of the Disney encyclopedia and airbrushed gold.
Thematically, the restrictive corset has book titles relating to the character’s oppression while the full and free skirt has the marks of travel, adventure, and knowledge. The costume, though delicate, can be worn and will be photographed soon. This piece represents Caden Alexandra's third in her series of re-imagined characters, with a live plant version of Poison Ivy appearing in the exhibit last year.
Below, Caden Alexandra stands with her project in the Dragon*Con 2019 Costuming Exhibit.
WARNING! AVENGERS ENDGAME SPOILERS AHEAD!!
Every year my fiancé and I do a Pepper Potts and Tony Stark costume. Usually, it's our more casual costumes for easier con days, but we both love these characters and have a special connection to them. Then, the Tony StArc ended with Endgame. So, after sobbing through the entire last half hour of the movie I resolved that we had to up our Ironman game. In honor of them.
We started with the arc reactor floral piece. The arc itself was built from a rather pricey online kit, which had instructions only in Mandarin and involved a soldering iron. We put on the first Iron Man movie in the background and it really felt like we built it in a cave. With a box of scraps. The rest of the project involved wiring it up to rechargeable battery packs, and then mounting it. I hollowed out some floral foam for the reactor to sit and then used fake flowers and wire to create the wreath. As with most of my con costumes, I love to hide little pockets and make it easier to handle for long stretches of time. It's shaped like a shield, and the back is covered in fabric with a zipper so that it functions as a shallow, wide purse to carry my phone, snacks, and to house all the wiring safely. It also has elastic on the back so that it can be worn like a shield while walking around.
Ian and I have always wanted to explore foam armor. He has done some work with props and painting, while I've done some work with fabric distressing. Using EVA foam tiles and a free Mark LXXXV (85) paper pattern, we very slowly constructed the arm pieces with a lot of trial and error. Sanding and painting brought its own horrors and a lot of non-returnable paints.
Something I love about recreating costumes is that what looks correct on screen won't always look right in person. You have to change things for different bodies, environments, etcetera. Because in the end, you are trying to invoke the feelings a character gives you. There were no patterns for the glove, so we used internet reference images before the movie came out on DVD and worked it in a best as possible. The hand plate I designed from scratch to match the makeshift Iron Gauntlet and to look right with the shape of the glove, the Infinity Stones, and the wiring we planned.
Distressing with the rotary tool was fun, creating deep groves and a lighting effect for each of the wires that represented the energy the stones produce, Weathering and painting finished the rest, and then using matching thread colors I stitched all the wiring into the foam. The battery packs had a small compartment in the shoulder piece.
Another new thing for me was working with liquid latex to make the burns on his face, Since Ian has very sensitive skin we ended up making a separate burn piece and then applying it the day of which saved time and his skin. My dearest friend Amanda, who is much better at makeup than I am, did the coloring and attachment.
We made it just in time to march in the Dragon Con 2019 Parade, another personal dream of mine. We also had a photoshoot in our costumes which will be posted soon. Overall, these costumes were a blast to make and I feel so wonderful progressing in my knowledge and trying new things.
"Mermaid Rock Dress" has been in my idea folder since 2012. I love playing with the way we think about costumes and wearability. And with all the mermaid and Ariel costumes you see, I have always wanted to see what could be done about having a real tail rather than a mermaid inspired dress. Thus, idea of using the famous rock in which our heroine spies on her future husband was born.
A modified hoop skirt sits under the extra wide fabric, and then the "cliff face" part of the dress was built from cardboard with elastic that goes over the hoop skirt. Because this costume was intended for Dragon Con 2019, the structure of the rock has a built in snack compartment and a place for my change of clothes, wallet, and ID.
The fabric of the rock is draped and stitched to give it the right look, and then shadows and highlights were airbrushed on. Finally, layers of water and mod-podge were spritzed on with a spray bottle until it was soaked, then dried and done again. This gave the fabric a very rigid and textured look, It always returns to this shape, even with the bustle of crowds and elevators.
The tail is a simple tube with cardboard and stuffing to give it the right shape, with a belt of the same fabric wrapping around the stomach to give the appearance of the tail being the main body rather than legs going into the skirt. The fins along the stomach detach and adjust. Finished with a deep purple bra with stitched piping to give the clam-shell look and a sculpted wig, and you've got yourself an Ariel costume!
One thing that is always very important to me while doing animated characters is to maintain the clean lines and simplistic styles that evoke classic animation. You have to out a representation onto a real, 3-dimensional physical body, but you want to avoid complex lines and textured that will pull out out of the feelings you had while watching it. For me, the goal isn't to bring the characters to life, but rather to be, to borrow a phrase, part of that world.
This gorgeous cloak was created in 2018 at the request of the designer's close friend Crystal, who had a very clear vision for her wedding. She wanted a red and grey fur cape for her fall nuptials, which would be the centerpiece of the ceremony and the decor. After dying the linen red, the two picked out a grey silver faux fur as the lining and found a vintage wooden button for the clasp. The garment is reinforced at the shoulders to reduce the amount of weight on the wearer and has deep pockets hidden beneath the fur layer. The cloak is also fully reversible, with an ingenious hook system at the collar that always keeps the button visible. Embroidered into the hem is the designer's tag and the couple's anniversary date. This remains the designer's favorite commissioned creation.
Photos by Jeannie Cash Photography
Created for the Dragon*Con 2017 Costuming Exhibition (and displayed again in 2018), this interpretation of the classic Batman villain Poison Ivy was created by growing foliage into traditional fabric costume pieces. The hollowed out platform heels form tiny greenhouses where potting soil and small cuttings grow into the ropes of ivy directed around the costume. The lace up sweater, which in the traditional Poison Ivy costume would constitute what little fabric the character would normally wear, has instead been substituted for a sweater made of live rose petals. The petals of over three dozen roses were meticulously adhered to the cloth base. The corset style front is laced with a strand of ivy growing from the base of the shoes. The arm brace has various strains of moss edged with rose thorns to create contrasting textures of soft and sharp that mirror the personality of the character.
Harley Quinn is a character from DC's Batman universe. This costume is a reimagining of her character if she were placed in the early 20th century. Her traditional Harlequin suit has been replaces with a lined coat in alternating colors of red and black, with a pleated fan design in the back. The mermaid tail skirt keeps the diamond motif of Harley's symbol and trims it in black ribbon. Even the late victorian half boots are done in red and black leather. Harley's usual weapon is an oversized hammer, which here has been replaced with a croquet mallet. Even the blond wig has been styled in loose pin curls with a jeweled red hairpiece. This outfit was created for and worn by the designer in the Vintage Vogue Fashion Show at Dragon*Con in 2017.
Costume Designs for the Theater Emory show A Pinter Kaleidoscope
Selections from works by Harold Pinter
Directed by Brent Glenn
"An immersive confrontation with the comedic menace of Harold Pinter. The audience encounters Pinter’s dystopian nirvana by moving through various locations within the theater space. From his first play, The Room, to the totalitarian nightmare One for the Road, this devised theater event also features portions of The Birthday Party, The Hothouse, The Caretaker, and other plays, poems and speeches."
All costumes pictured were designed specifically by Caden Kluge of Calexandra Designs unless otherwise noted.
Costume Designers: Marianne Martin, Zoe Adberg, Abi Green, and Caden Kluge.
Costume Technicians: Marianne Martin, Shay Buckley, Genevieve Burgess Bargamian, Cynthia Church, Zoe Adberg, Nysa Loudon, and Caden Kluge.
Please note: These photos are the property of Ann Borden and Theater Emory, and are not to be used, shared, or downloaded for any purpose. All photos are used with permission of those entities solely for the purpose of this portfolio.
No Sew - Low Pro panel
From left to right: Andrea Mast Kessel, Caden Alexandra Kluge, Paige Garner, Tracey Carlson
Photo credit: Mary Abreu
Medli and Link from Wind Waker
From left to right: Ben Fullerton as Link (in the Hero's New Clothes), Caden Alexandra Kluge as Medli
Photo credit: Mary Abreu
Photos by Hannah Hester
These outfits were designed and created for the 2013 Stuck at Prom competition, hosted by the company Duck Tape. The prom dress and suit are created entirely out of duct tape in a design that evokes victorian opulence. 120 rolls of multicolored duct tape went into creating a full ballgown, corset, and tuxedo for the designers prom night. The decor on the jacket had to be hand cut from large stickers created by layering tape over wax paper. Even the accessories were created or accented with tape, including a top hat, cane, bustle, and shoes. After finishing the designs and submitting to the competition, it was narrowed down to ten finalists, and then down to three. This design won on the national level and included a $15,000 dollar prize. It is now being displayed at the Duck Tape Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.
More info on the competition at: bit.ly/DuckTapeCadenKluge