Cosplay Couture Kazuhira Miller

Photography by Vespa Photography

Despite Miller’s limited wardrobe and static body language, I find him endlessly inspiring. The challenge of portraying him through cosplay, and reenvisioning him through fashion is all about subtlety and the little details. I kept the silhouette functionally the same, but draping the trenchcoat like a cape to entirely obscure his missing arm added a touch of theatre. Essentially I built everything around the velvet double breasted blazer, it read to me as the formal fashion equivalent of his military uniform.

Most of this costume was assembled, the most work I did was cut the wig myself. I’m surprised what I could get out of a $15 eBay wig, it’s a half-wig too, it needed to be thin enough to fit under the beret. The downside is I could only cut it so short, but I think this length works for what I’m going for.

Cosplay Couture Henry V

From the archives, October 2013:

Cosplay Couture interpretation of Prince Hal from the Hollow Crown

Costume and styling by Courtney Coulson (jacket, t-shirt and cape)
Photography by Luke Milton Photography
Sword by Jack Barbour

Shot in King’s Park

I absolutley love Tom Hiddleston’s performance as Prince Hal/Henry V, I thought his costume was cool too, but completely inaccurate for something supposed to be set in the medieval ages. That said, the clothing of that era is not very appealing so I can understand why they didn’t want to go that direction. Then I remembered that these plays were originally performed in “modern” clothing, so I looked at 16th century costume and decided it made more sense for Hal and I wouldn’t have to deviate too much from the costume in the series.

Just as with all Cosplay Couture, this was about representing not just Hal in terms of appearance but also examining his character, personality and history.
It took me a while of researching before I decide on a punk/glam rock approach.
As a prince he was a scapegrace, reckless and rebellious but as a king he was said to be the epitome of a leader, a particularly defining quote is this one: “Depending on his mood, his eyes flashed from the mildness of a dove’s to the brilliance of a lion’s”

I had a lot to work with, the plays cover a great deal of his life plus he was based on a real person. This was definitely an interesting and complex man and I wanted to represent that duality of who he was as a prince and who he became as a king.

The t-shirt, which I made, then painted and burned has the Lancaster house symbol as well as a bit of bloodspatter representing the Battle of Agincourt. The glove in the belt is a nod to the one he swapped with a soldier in the camp whilst he was in disguise. The jacket came together in a really short time, I worked on it for about two days non-stop. It was based on a doublet but I added modern features like the buttons and the zippers and the printed lining to update it.
The scalemail scarf and the bracers I had in my collection for ages but I like how they walk that line between armour and fashion.

I didn’t have to do much with my hair as I did deliberatley cut it to look like his and my hair is red anyway. The make-up was fun, taken right from the 80’s with the bright clashing colours, to get the lipstick to match the jacket I mixed a red with a black.
In terms of physicality, I again had a contrast of playing regal and a rockstar so I had freedom to get serious or playful.

-Courtney Coulson

I have not yet sat through the source material, but was very much sold by the rock slant of Courtney’s re-design and the possibilities of that incredible jacket.

I am rapidly discovering that, location-wise, the most important thing seems to be finding somewhere with a palette that compliments the character. Even in a place as large and lush as (the aptly named) King’s Park we quickly discovered that not all trees and bushes were created equal, and we really had to hunt for those special spots with particular colours and textures, and shelter from the sun. But my favourite place was probably the sculptural metal wall – not something that immediately springs to mind for Hal, but strangely appropriate when paired with the clothes.

And, no! She’s not Joffrey!

– Luke Milton

Lady Loki

Here’s one from the archives, my first photoshoot ever:

Character: Lady Loki (Marvel)

Costume and makeup: by me

Photographer: Jaqueline Auty

Date: 05/05/2012

This one makes me reflect on my costume history. Technically, I have been sewing since I was taught how to in primary school when I was seven years old (we were making felt picture squares for Christmas, mine was a reindeer), after that point I would make my own plush toys by hand, or use those skills to repair holes or attach buttons to my own clothing. I took home economics in high school, where I ambitiously tried to make a silver trenchcoat (look, I was going through my Matrix phase), the results weren’t too bad, wish I still had photos of it.

I then studied fashion design at TAFE in 2009 and that’s when I began cosplaying. I had seen cosplayers at international conventions and thought they were so cool, but Perth didn’t even get a comic convention until 2008, so I never had the opportunity to cosplay myself, nor see other people doing it in person. Our costumes were all rough as hell at that first Supanova, most of us just lazily slapped on some Joker make-up, myself included. It was more akin to what you would expect from a Halloween party, or maybe a Star Trek convention from the 70’s. A part of me actually loves that DIY, improvised look before cosplay became so serious and competitive. I think that spirit is the one I continue on with Cosplay Couture, accuracy doesn’t excite me, assembling an outfit from found items or customising the costume to suit you as an individual, that’s what I love. Thankfully Marvel canonically did that for me.

This shoot was taken around the time the first Avengers movie was released, so the Marvel hype was at an all-time high, and we all loved Loki. I didn’t have to dress up as the male Loki, there was already a female one in the comics and I really liked her design. I assembled this costume while studying costume design at WAAPA, during the long hours sitting around backstage during rehearsals, I would make the chainmail bodice, the first and only time I’ve worked with chainmail, it was difficult, but the results were great. Back then I had dreams of being a professional cosplayer, so I would spend countless hours trying to make elaborate costumes from scratch, I learned a lot of new techniques through trial and error. I made that helmet out of real leather (apparently money was no object?) I created the pattern and everything by myself. The sceptre was the only thing I had help with, I’m still no good with props.

I’m proud of the work I did, that was quite an impressive costume, maybe one of my best. I’m surprised how natural I was in front of the camera considering I had never done any modelling before that. I am accompanied by Ben Gates as Thor and Alex Suriano as Cardboard Iron Man. I don’t see these guys much anymore, but we were part of such a tight friend group back at uni. Life sure changes a lot once you get into your 30’s, huh? Oh no, I can hear the Stand By Me theme somewhere in the distance, I’ll wrap this up.

Here’s a fun discovery, my old tutorial from my now deleted DeviantART account still floats around online:

Cosplay Couture Lone Ranger and Tonto

From the archives, October 2013, the following descriptions were taken from the three individual posts respectively, but are now collected as one. I still love these photos a lot, this was our most controversial shoot, but that was the point, exploring commodification and appropriation within the worlds of Hollywood and fashion, it should make you feel something. I guess these photos only gathered more controversy given the current state of Armie Hammer and Johnny Depps’ lives in the decade since this film was made:

A Cosplay Couture interpretation of the Lone Ranger

Costume (mask) and styling by Courtney Coulson

Photography by Luke Milton in collaboration with Sabatomic Photography

A life-long love of Westerns meant I was excited to see the Lone Ranger return to the big screen, was it a good movie? Not really, at least not in the conventional sense, but I had fun and it got me excited to explore this new John Reid and Tonto in a fashion context.

Westerns also influence the way I dress, so everything, apart from the hat and the holster, came from my own wardrobe. My hair isn’t too disimilar in terms of cut to John’s, so that was easy, make-up is a heavy smokey eye with everything else minimal, lots of bronzes and gold as they seem to work best in this environment.

-Courtney Coulson

I haven’t seen the film, but I couldn’t resist the chance to shoot a cowboy in a desert and I think Courtney sells the masculinity very well with her body language. (Although I love the contrast of her eyes which are still quite feminine through the mask. Love the makeup on those!). These were shot early afternoon and have a far brighter, overexposed feel than the Tonto shots which are more ethereal. This was more about a desert that was hot and bleak, although I do like how some of them have that fake campiness of an old western film.

– Luke Milton


I am certainly no model, and definitely do not have the heroic, manly shape of Armie Hammer. But, just as this Adventure Weekend, cemented our team and the commitment to our work together, it felt very important to me to somehow be a part of it and have that indelible image to remind me of this time. It was a real thrill to be photographed alongside someone that I have photographed so much before. There’s nothing couture about what I’m doing, but try to think of me as the stunning Tonto’s awkward accessory.

I love what Sabatomic has done with these, and the use of the flash gives such a surreal, fake feel to the images, like we’re standing on a set, or against a matte painting. Huge thanks to Sab for her generosity with her time, knowledge and talent, and to Courtney for being patient and helping me pose.

– Luke Milton

A Cosplay Couture interpretation of the Tonto from the Lone Ranger

Costume (pants, wrap belt,beaded choker and crow) and styling by Courtney Coulson

Photography by Luke Milton in collaboration with Sabatomic Photography

Shot at the Pinnacles in Cervantes

A life-long love of Westerns meant I was excited to see the Lone Ranger return to the big screen, was it a good movie? Not really, at least not in the conventional sense, but I had fun and it got me excited to explore this new John Reid and Tonto in a fashion context.

Despite the controversy surrounding the film’s costume, I think it is a really impressive design and I had the most fun reinterpreting it into fashion and wearing it.

The crow head dress was inspired by the millinery of Philip Treacy, it was made from a pair of costume angel wings and a real magpie skull. The pants are brown panama with black vinyl fringing. The necklace was the most challenging part, it took four attempts to get it right, it’s made of suade leather, plastic retic tubes, glass and wooden beads. The wrap belt was also made of suade, I had fun creating that pleated shape. Everything else came from my wardrobe.

Make-up is pretty much the same as Tonto’s although I was less literal with the cracks as you can see all the drawn on “cracks” around the neck and temples. I also added lipstick to give a more feminine touch.

Tonto was the usual cookey Johnny Depp character, but at the same time he could have a seriousness or intensity about him, I decided I would personify that side of him the most.

-Courtney Coulson

I think that cosplay, by nature, is appropriation. And the internet is a wonderful hive mind that excels in getting offended for everybody else. I haven’t seen the film and I have no interest in the off-the-rack Halloween costumes that have everybody riled up. I think context and intent are incredibly important, and our intent was to make something beautiful and surreal in an environment that matched that challenge.

I love Courtney’s stunning interpretation of this much maligned character and I’m incredibly proud of what we shot.

– Luke Milton

Metal Gear Solid 3: Naked Snake

Normal people take walks and admire the scenery, I find a cool location, go home and come back in costume for a photoshoot. This was about a ten minute walk from my house, I shot this on my phone on a tripod using natural lighting. I couldn’t have asked for a more ideal location, a hidden pit beneath a canopy of trees, right there next to the sidewalk

Cosplay Couture Tintin

From the archives, October 2013

A Cosplay Couture interpretation of Tintin

Costume (pants) by Courtney Coulson
Photography by Luke Milton in collaboration with Sabatomic Photography

Shot in Atlantis, the abandoned theme park

Tintin has such a simple yet iconic look with a very distinct colour palette, which made him a perfect candidate for a couture treatment. The sweater was a lucky find on ebay, everything else came from my wardrobe already, including the breeches which were originally from my Road to El Dorado Miguel costume.
Hair was tricky to get to stay in place as it was a windy day, fortunatley it’s behaving in these shots.
Make-up is light and all pinks to give a more young, cute kind of look, just like Tintin!

-Courtney Coulson

The most hostile environment, where we battled overgrown paths and giant spiders, but what is Tintin without adventure? I was drawn to the odd statues although they are more comical than old-worldly and it was tricky to take out the clues that many of them are near visible shops and car parks. The real treasure was the rocky landscape that we found in the heart of the theme park which looked far more exotic than the rest of it. I think that much of what we shot would look beautiful in black and white but when you lose the iconic colours of Tintin’s costume you risk losing the sense of the character.

-Luke Milton

A Physical Manifestation of Regret

I don’t know why I’ve been hesitant to share this one, all my art has been equally angsty lately, but I’m trying to be more abstract. Domas quickly became my favourite character in Ranking of Kings, his grief and regret physically manifest in attacking and permanently disfiguring himself. Spoiler: everyone gets a redemption in this story, but I think Domas’s arc is wrapped up too simply. I’m left thinking about the complexities of this character.