Laura (lauralorien) wrote in unlockd_closet,

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Starry Mantle

Woooo! Long time, no post. Well, my costume stuff hasn't stopped contrary to my lack of updates. I'm now doing some voluntary work for a theatre group which is wonderful, I'm sure I'll learn so much from the costume team there. I've also changed jobs so I have more time to devote to actual costume making, something which seriously has had to have taken the back seat for a long time. Actually, not even the back seat, more like the boot or the roof rack. Anyway, I've got quite a lot to update but I'll start with this

Right, this is a sort of twist on Tolkien's description of Éowyn's starry mantle from Return of the King. I'm not going to fool myself into thinking it's canon, it's not, but really I don't care.

The quote from the book is :

They were clad in warm raiment and heavy cloaks, and over all the Lady Éowyn wore a great blue mantle of the colour of deep summer-night, and it was set with silver stars about the hem and throat. Faramir had sent for this robe and had wrapped it about her; and he thought that she looked fair and queenly indeed as she stood there at his side. The mantle was wrought for his mother, Finduilas of Dol Amroth, who died untimely, and was to him but a memory of loveliness in far days and of his first grief; and her robe seems to him raiment fitting for the beauty and sadness of Éowyn.

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I remember from the first time I read Lord of the Rings how I fell in love with this starry mantle. Oh the whole thing is too romantic. I've piles of drawings of how I imagined it from when I was little (which I am certainly not posting here!) so I suppose it was only a matter of time before I came back to it. It's begging to be made, especially since I felt the costume in the films was extremely disappointing, still I've included reference pictures & links.

Just out of interest here is a link to another one of my ideas for the mantle. It's a LotR illustration and not really anything to do with my costume designs but is more of a mantle in the normal sense.


Right a mantle is (from it's definition) a piece of clothing, similar to a robe but open on the front side and often sleeveless (so like the film version mantle). It is worn over the outer garments

A robe is a loose-fitting outer garment of various types, including:

Any long flowing garment; for example, a cassock is sometimes called a robe, despite the fact that the cassock is close-fitting.
A robe is distinguished from a cape or cloak by the fact that it usually has sleeves.
A cassock is briefly put as being a close fitting robe.

My design fits more into the robe area. Not canon generally speaking but what's a robe between friends? I feel that a more Elizabethan style is quite fitting for some reason. Being fitted it would be warmer and therefore more luxurious.

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The robe itself is cut in the Elizabethan style, I'm part basing the cut on a few dresses from Patterns of Fashion series by Janet Arnold. I want hanging sleeves and a fitted bodice. and a vented skirt. To add to the effect I'd like to part line it in a white medium length faux fur and will used sparingly just on areas which will be shown and will be considered necessary for example, the vents and front edges of the skirt, and the hanging sleeves. Most of the dress will be lined in matching midnight blue satin.

The back vents will be held in position by means of white open lacework panels which won't be terribly noticeable with the white fur backing. This idea is based on a evening robe from the V&A museum book 19th Century Fashion in Detail.

The decoration is made up of crystal (silver foiled backed) stars of varying sizes around the stand-up collar and shoulders interspersed with small silver crystal and jet beads. The beads continue graduating down the gown to the hem.

Film version

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It looks like a midnight blue (possibly velvet) mantle decorated with crystal (beads/stars) all over but concentrating mainly on the shoulders, the decoration becoming more sparce towards the hem before becoming slightly more concentrated.


The back hem of the mantle is very strange. Instead of the normal half circle robe, it appears to be cut in 3 rectangular shapes, the centre back piece being considerably shorter than the two side pieces. It has a nice drape but I'm not fond of it to be honest.

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Trim is a wide ivory gold brocade down the front edge.

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Reference Links ~ LotR costume site ~ gallery ~ Anke-Katrin Eissmann ~ Ted Nasmith ~ terms definition ~ Dress diary of a Arwen mantle from deleted scenes. ~ more costume pics from EE discs ~ List of costume pics from gallery extras on EE discs. ~ LotR inspired clothing (canon starry mantle near bottom)
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