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Rococo X-Men Prepare For Comic-Con Masquerade

Costumers add final touches for Saturday event

Rococo X-Men Prepare For Comic-Con Masquerade

Comic-Con is in full swing and Thursday night there will be the second annual Her Universe Fashion Show. But the longer tradition for costumers and cosplayers at Comic-Con is the Masquerade on Saturday. One group is preparing to take the X-Men back to the Rococo style of Marie Antoinette by way of Sofia Coppola.

Comic-Con is in full swing and Thursday night there will be the second annual Her Universe Fashion Show. But the longer tradition for costumers and cosplayers at Comic-Con is the Masquerade on Saturday. One group is preparing to take the X-Men back to the rococo style of Marie Antoinette by way of Sofia Coppola.

Arabella Benson has been costuming for the Comic-Con for years and has picked up a few awards along the way.

"Masquerade can be something as simple as walking onstage and showing off your costume," Benson said as she worked on an elaborate, flaming orange wig. "I think that when it’s something at the level of Comic-Con, it’s a really big stage. I think Ballroom 20 is 6,000 or 4,000 people, that’s a lot of people. I think you are perfectly welcome to walk on stage and be beautiful but you will be kind of overshadowed by the people who do full on skits, by people who do dance routines."

Like kaiju showgirls stomping Tokyo to the tune of "A Chorus Line's" signature song, "One." Or a Tatooine take on West Side Story's "America" song but with a bunch of Jawas showing off their rainbow colored petticoats.

Benson recalled what she did in 2011: "We came up with this group called Arkham tango and we did this really cool tango, and we thought we were the coolest, sexiest thing that ever was, and then we won Best Humorous. So we learned something there and that’s OK because I got to tango with Batman with a rose in my teeth so you can’t go better than that."

Then Benson and her friends kicked it up a notch in 2013 when they did Marvel Mumbai and a Bollywood version of the Avengers and this year it’s a Rococo version of the X-Men called "Let Them Eat Cake Presents X-Men Days of Future Past, Past."

Photo caption: Arabella Benson's rococo style dress for the X-Men character of Phoenix.

Photo by Beth Accomando

Arabella Benson's rococo style dress for the X-Men character of Phoenix.

"We’re getting ready for the Comic-Con Masquerade that is this coming Saturday. Our costumes are on the verge, the very verge, of being done, but we’re down to the little fiddly bits like the hem, and we’re adding some more trim. The nature of our dresses, there can’t really be enough trim. She [fellow costumer Erwyn Hildebrand] dulled a pair of pinking shears cutting my trim. That happens."

I checked in with Benson a couple weeks ago and she was painting elaborate silk wings for her Phoenix costume. But by Tuesday, some things had changed.

Photo caption: Arabella Benson painting silk wings for her rococo Phoenix costume. The wings...

Photo credit: Beth Accomando

Arabella Benson painting silk wings for her rococo Phoenix costume. The wings had to be scrapped because they were not dry in time.

"If I have learned anything in masquerade it is to roll with the punches," Benson said with an accepting sigh. "The beautiful silk wings I was painting had not dried so I cannot set the dye with the iron so that whole idea has been scrapped. We lost our Wolverine because he got a nice high-paying job. And as much fun as masquerade costumes are, work and money is a little bit better. So my husband, who was going to be the Beast, will become Wolverine because our skit, our joke is that Wolverine gets sent too far back by Kitty Pride, instead of going to 1973 he goes to 1773."

Photo caption: The costume sketches for the X-Men called Let Them Eat Cake Presents X-Men Da...

Photo by Beth Accomando

The costume sketches for the X-Men called Let Them Eat Cake Presents X-Men Days of Future Past, Past.

With just a few days to finish the impressive costumes, Benson said, "I have to hem it, once I hem it, I could go onstage with it but I will know that it didn’t have any beads on it and that would make me sad. I have Yuly who still doesn’t have sleeves on her dress, she thinks I don’t know but there are no sleeves on her dress. And so it’s getting kind of tense. The sun’s going down and we are counting down the hours. I’ve given up on checklists, and Erwyn’s hair is not done. I know that. I know these things because I’m boss queen. I’m gonna let them eat dinner. They can eat dinner. I might even give them some cookies."

The team behind "X-Men: Days of Future Past, Past" will be bringing their Rococo dresses to the masquerade on Saturday and hoping to take home another prize.

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