Alice In WonderBra

A Recreation Costume In the Master Division
by Donna M. Dubé and Gunther Anderson

[Alice Costume Image]
Photos Copyright 2002, Ken Warren

Now that I'm a full-fledged Journeyman with nothing more to prove, Donna and I are free to collaborate.  And collaborate we have, with this delightful costume as our first cooperative endeavor.  We've shown it only once, at Balticon 36 (Memorial Day weekend, 2002), where it promptly won Best In Show for both Presentation and Workmanship, and a special award from TechnoFandom (who run lighting and sound for Masquerades up and down the East coast) for use of technology.  We've not yet decided whether and where to show it again.  It was a lot of work and fun putting it together, but WorldCon is on the wrong coast this year.

The costume was inspired by an off-hand remark at last year's Balticon, but we didn't start work in earnest until January of this year.  But we built it steadily from then until the beginning of May, when we finished it up an astonishing two weeks early.  We hardly knew what to do with ourselves.

[Alice Nibbling the Mushroom]The costume conception is a recreation of the scene in Disney's Alice In Wonderland where the miniature Alice is talking with the hookah-smoking caterpillar after being run out of town by the flowers.  Although we had the illustrations from Lewis Carroll's original to draw from, we stuck closest to Disney's representations for both recognizability and simplicity.  Alice's dress, with its bloomers, pinafore, petticoats and Mary-Janes, was a modified Minnie Mouse dress pattern, since all Disney's heroines at that time looked alike.  We took some more liberties with the caterpillar, including having fun with fabric selection, make-up, and limbs.  But the end result was immediately recognizable.

The presentation ran just under a minute.  You can hear the soundtrack here: AliceInWonderBra.mp3 (918KB)

The soundtrack opens with the song that the caterpillar is singing as Alice approaches in the movie.  We had originally thought of trying to piece together our dialog out of other snippets from the movie, but it simply didn't have the right sorts of lines available, let alone the problems of blending or removing the background music.  So the dialog was recorded by Donna and me.

Just as the caterpillar begins to speak, we bring in the very recognizable bass line from White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane as background music.  The caterpillar explains, after a fashion, that eating from one side of the mushroom will make her grow larger, and one side will make her grow smaller.  Alice nibbles on a piece of the mushroom, and impatiently waits for her return to normal size.  In our presentation, instead of Alice telescoping up into the treetops (technically a much more difficult effect to produce), her breasts suddenly enlarge considerably.  An indignant Alice exclaims, "That's not what I had in mind!" as the music cuts to a later section of the song as Grace Slick sings, "Go ask Alice / I think she'll know...." Fade to black.

The costume broke down into four sections, not counting the soundtrack, each of which is given its own treatment below:

Thanks for dropping by.  I hope you enjoy the show.

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