FIT MODEL: JOHN EL-JOR
"I've had an odd experience being MENA (Middle Eastern North African) in the performing arts. I think the main issue I find myself in is that I'm being called in for every race possible. I yearn to play only [culturally] appropriate parts, however...I'm really left with few options. People in power often try to go with what they are comfortable with, therefore, making a lot of the art we see 'white'."
John El-Jor is an undergraduate Musical Theatre student in the Pennsylvania State University's School of Theatre. He is originally from Lebanon and self-identifies as MENA (Middle Eastern North African).
ORIGINAL DESIGN RENDERING
This costume consists of trousers, a sheer (corseted) foundation, a collar featuring two serpents rearing off the shoulders, a sleeve drape, and a large cobra hood featuring five cobras.
The design seeks to meld the body of the model with the largest of the cobras, blurring the line between the human and the serpent. The belly of this largest serpent carries down onto the torso with the collar that overlays the sheer corset .
I designed the costume intending to utilize 3D printing and laser cutting technologies.
These trousers are based off of a primitive trouser style that has been, at one time or another, shared across much of the Asian continent.
These pants are made of light-weight linen woven with gold metallic thread that produces a subtle sheen and glimmer.
The cut of the pants produces a large amount of excess fabric that collapses in the center of the body, creating the diagonal folds. This excess provides an immense range of motion, and traps little heat to the body.
This garment is present to provide a foundation to secure the large cobra hood to the body.
The materials used are sheer corset mesh, German plastic boning, twill weave upholstery fabric, and snakeskin pleather.
COLLAR WITH SHOULDER SNAKES
This collar overlays the corset and has a small, shaped stand around the back of the neck. Attached are two cobras whose bodies separate from the collar at the base of the ribs and wrap around the body.
It is a continuation of the belly of the large cobra rising above the model's head.
The pleated arm drape affixes to the collar near the shoulder point and wraps around the back of the costume. It is a shaped piece of linen pleated at the attachment point and finger-pressed in a gentle curve as it wraps the body. It is non-restrictive and still allows full range of motion for both arms.
This large hood is the most involved element of the costume, featuring two snakes on either side and the large open-mouthed cobra at the apex. Each side snake is split on the hood-- half is mounted on the front, half on the back.
The large cobra head is comprised of 8 individually printed pieces, while each of the side snakes is a single piece.
The hood is supported by two large aluminum bars running up either edge that slide into channels in the back of the foundation. There are 4 rows of crinoline steel running horizontally for additional support and curvature. The hood has a twill fabric base (2 layers, containing all the boning) overlaid with a pleather covering.
Each snake and the entire pleather cover is hand-painted using acrylic paint.