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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