Cosplay Feature: Lara Croft (Tokyo Dress)

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It is hard to believe, but this is the first costume I ever made and somehow I only got around to shooting it this year. I think it was worth the wait, however.

I chose to make this costume way back in 2006/7 to wear to my first San Diego Comic Con. At the time, I really had no idea how fulfilling cosplay would become, nor how complicated and time consuming a hobby it is. I figured that a good place to start my cosplay portfolio was with my favorite character in the world – Lara Croft. After unsuccessfully searching for duds to make Lara’s default costume in Tomb Raider: Legend (I am still perfecting that costume to this day) I found a black halter dress that looked well enough like Lara’s garb from the Tokyo level. With that, I made the decision to swap costumes.

Fixing up the dress was super easy, even despite my complete lack of sewing skills at the time. I ripped the seems up to an immodest level on each side and resewed them so that the dress angled in from my hips. After cutting up so high, lacy boy shorts were added. I had already ordered a tactical leg holster for the alternate Croft costume I was putting together, and picked up her dual pistols online. The pistols were pulled apart and painted appropriately.

I grabbed the backpack at Target, and modified it by adding silver buckles and clasps to make it more in line with the render I used for reference. I threw on a pair of black heels (for the convention, I went barefoot for most of the shoot per the game) and was set. That was back in 2007.

I never got around to shooting Lara’s costume because by that point I had become a stickler for finding the perfect location. Turns out I couldn’t find a location that looked enough like downtown Tokyo to do the costume justice. Until this year, that is. A light bulb went off when I realized that I had a pair of free days in Japan after attending the 2010 Tokyo Game Show, so I brought my costume with after making plans with one of my favorite photographers (LJinto) to shoot sometime during my free weekend.

I made a few tweaks to the costume before leaving for Japan to ensure that it was up to the quality of my cosplay now – not five years ago. I painted and attached an ornate silver button to the belt to look like the clasp she uses, and also scavenged some binoculars and something for her grappling hook. Yes, I used an Arc Reactor Iron Man toy from Target. Quite observant of you!

We ended up shooting in the photographer’s hotel, which had a phenomenal view of downtown Roppongi. Since I was away from my pool of talented makeup artists, I did my hair and makeup myself, but I think I pulled off the look well enough on my own.

I was extremely nervous about shooting anywhere outside of his hotel room since I had a pair of very realistic looking guns and Japan has a strict no-weapons policy. Any shots in the elevator or out in the courtyard I decided to leave my pistols in the room. Not very Lara-like, but I doubt I could talk my way out of a Japanese jail cell as well as she could.

I think the photos turned out fantastic, and I am planning on doing more Lara costumes now that I’m in a bit better shape. Hopefully by summer I’ll have nice sculpted arms, and you can stare at them down the length of my barrel in my next Lara getup. :)

Enjoy the photos!

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49 thoughts on “Cosplay Feature: Lara Croft (Tokyo Dress)

  1. Your cosplay is some of the best I’ve ever seen, which makes it tough to believe that this is the first one you ever made. The quality of the look is astounding. In another life, you could easily be the traveling Lara Croft publicity model, but then we wouldn’t be able to read your work with GI, which is not a good trade-off. :)

    Keep up the awesome work, in all your endeavors!

  2. I SO love this set. Along with Black Canary. This one though… too awesome. I look forward to your other TR sets! And thank you for having a holster attached to your thigh. I have such a hard time drawing that style of holster when the leg is up, ya know?

  3. love it! I myself got started gaming with Croft. My first halloween costume I made, in 7th grade, was Lara. I envy your career

  4. I know this is really random especially since you dont know me, however i think we are related.. my mother is a VanBurkleo and i was told once that all VanBurkleos are kin to each other.. anywho i was just wanting to say that even though i dont personally know you i think that you have accomplished ALOT and i am honored to say that i am related to you. You’re like my hero.. especially to have accomplished so much at such a young age.. You’re doing so many amazing things!!

    Thanks for reading!

  5. I saw you in the PlayStation Magazine and you caught my eye, so I decided to check out what else you’ve been doing. Your pics are incredible and you look amazing in them. Keep up the great work.

  6. Oh! I haven’t had a chance to see that article yet! They are supposed to send me one at some point 😛

    Thank you for the kind words!

  7. WOW…just wow awesome cosplay.I recently started reading all of your cosblogs and I must say I’m a fan of ur work and I’m thinking about doing cosplay myself thank to u…so I was wondering if u could give any tips to a newbie

  8. Well I’m thinking about doing Marcus from Gears of war since he’s my favorite game character of all time. And I know its gonna be extremely hard but I love a challenge (I’m already working my butt of at the gym)

  9. Haha! Well, funny enough, I just started my Anya costume for Gears 3 last night! I can make a point to update my blog with progress shots and tutorials as I move along if you like!

  10. Great pics! Love the glittery dress that you have!…btw excellent article in the new issue of GI btw. Can’t wait for the new Tomb Raider, it looks pretty amazing!

  11. Meagan,

    This cosplay thing is really awesome, here I’ve learned about it the first time, just yesterday! I also read your reviews in GameInformer each month, you’re really good at what you’re doing, I’m truly impressed!

    You look great -obiouvsly- I was stunned the first time I saw the pictures from above! Unbelievabile gorgeous you are “Lara Meagan”! I can also understand your fear for guns in Tokio… :)


    Regarding the cosplay, since you’re so deep into cosplay… I want to see a beautiful girl -alone- playing on XBOX360 and Playstation 3 inside a room filled with books! The girl should sit on books, and everywhere around her should be as many books as possible, yet somehow, she should shamelessly carry on playing with Lara Croft on her huge LED 3D screen, sitting on books… :)

    Maybe some pizza leftovers and beer/wine on the floor too, but hey, I’m just a man, that’s optional, don’t listen to everything I say… LOOOOL

    And please don’t get me wrong either, I don’t imply that gamers do not read, because I know they do! What I want to underline is the fact that many readers (especially females) do not play, which is a shame isn’t it ?

    “Methinks” you’re just the right girl for the fore-mentioned task! If you do this “book photoshoot”, I promise to donate something for the cause/cosplay…


  12. I approve of the iron man arc reactor on your belt. It works well. I used one myself recently as control panel detail in a steampunk play.

  13. Very lovely, the third one is definitely my fav, you seem to have powerful looking legs.

    Excellent job

  14. This is so much more awesome now that I’ve played the game! =^^= I’m so behind in the world of video games….

  15. i am big fan of tomb raider saga and lara croft …and your look is just umbelivable because we can see the big travel you do for it (sory for my english ) and i would see you in a cosplay of Tsunade or in daft punk girl or in naomi of mgs …so think’s for all what you do well done

  16. wahoooooo the most beautiful lara croft really.Very good job,you are a very fantastic girl and you are the true lara croft.For tomb raider 10 it’s you?Lol congratulation and thank you for you’re artistic pictures.I love it.

  17. I follow the outlink from deviant… and I want to say just one thing….

    you married me???? n_n

    excellents photos!!!

  18. wow you are beautiful :O
    omg omg xD

    nice cosplay
    great pics! 😉

    your dress is better than the in-game dress
    ’cause in my opinion the original tokyo dress is focusing in lara’s breasts -_-

    but yours is perfect 😉

  19. Interesting how you managed to bring fake guns into Japan despite the no-weapons policy =p

    However, you look great, and this is my favourite costume in the game. Well done!

  20. Meagan , the girl is there into these picture are you ? is it you into these picture ? or another girl dressed this costume and you took picture ?

  21. you are very good girl , are u into Square Enix Team ? i am moderator of a Persian Gaming Website , i will be thankful if u accept our invitation to have a interview :) <3

  22. …Hi.Meagan

    hehe you look even better than Angelina Jolie in this costume.

    i was imagining you in morrigan’s costume from dragon age origins and Katrina’s costume from dungeon siege gonna be great in them.

    and one more thing,i’ll never forgive you for living The Game informer 😀

  23. I’m extremely impressed with your…
    trigger discipline!

    You really know how to handle firearms. You look like a real pro always keeping your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target and you are ready to shoot. So many others get this detail wrong.

    Realism is important even in make believe and you’ve got it nailed. Keep up the great work and continued success!

  24. hi
    lot’s of people tried lara’s costume but this is something else,better than any i’ve seen before.
    i like it cause your photos,figures are so natural you know gives me the feeling like i’m watching a movie’s screen shots,
    by the way i like the way you look at the camera 😀

    i like you because you and your work support gamers and video games like no one else a gamer myself(addicted type of gamer)so you have my full support.

    keep up the good work and good luck Meagan.

  25. These are good. I’d like to see you barefoot in Lara’s wetsuit from Underworld.

  26. Much respect to you Meg for having to courage to post these awesome
    pics of your self at Flickr and Deviantart and share this with us

    I am now an eternal fan in a non stalker respectful way

    You have a great talent to use your eyes, face expressions and a first
    class body to set the mood in these pics

    I’d love to see you cosplay a Vulcan Star trek officer.

    Theres a “T’Meg ” in you that wants to beam out to the surface
    (raises nerd glasses, nod, wink)

  27. love the cosplay, but no matter what i, i still think crystal singlehandedly destroyed the franchise with a small series of completely sub-standard sequels (one of them was reboot of core design game!) with weak stories, gimmicky gameplay elements, and whats worse, a hint system and binoculars that literally show what elements are needed to solve already simple puzzles! where oh where has my beloved tomb raider gone?! oh, and before i forget, why did they make a near copy of the mansion from the movie when they could have done something completely original on their own? whatever this new monstrosity is that they’re releasing turns out to be, just by the previews i already am not impressed. i’ll just wait until some kind soul uploads all of those reportedly awesome death scenes to youtube so i can finally bid this dying series farewell. this will be the first tomb raider game that i and many of my close friends have already sworn not to buy.

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