Lio Fotia - Promare
Why I chose to make this costume:
Promare has lit my soul on fire and compelled me to cosplay a male anime character for the first time! After watching the film for the first time last year (2019), I became quite obsessed with it, to the point of attending the LIVE Inferno event in Tokyo and collecting an embarrassing amount of character merchandise. The idea of cosplaying Lio solidified after a few times of rewatching the film, when his character and costume elements would not leave my mind. On my last day in Tokyo on a trip in October, I bought a white blond wig and a chest binder on a whim. Once I got back home and looked at the black mirror foil fabric from my Cosplay By Yaya Han collection, I went into the project with gusto.
How I made this costume:
The costume mainly consists of a fitted short jacket and matching tight pants. The latter was easy enough to construct, and I made sure to add a gusset to the crotch seam of the pants for added mobility. The jacket required a mockup and I fitted it while wearing the chest binder. I also gave it more room in the shoulders in order to install a set of shoulder pads. All the main components of the costume were made with the Mirror Foil, a 4 way stretch holo PVC fabric from my Cosplay Fabrics line. I used a non-stick foot on my sewing machine as well as silicone spray (applied with a Q-tip) to help ease the fabric through.
Lio wears a bazillion straps and belts so I spent a day just measuring and making straps. Most of the buckles were from Dritz Sewing, and the studded belt was made by cutting/ironing my NY punk trim to a belt that I made from my silver metallic stretch fabric. I bought a bunch of zippers online and installed them with the flat-lay method on the pants and jacket.
Instead of making a full white ruffle shirt to go under the jacket, I just made the sleeve cuffs and sewed them directly onto the jacket. This costume was going to be warm enough as it was. The cravate is a separate 2-tiered piece that snaps around my neck. I used the heaviest bridal satin I could find and did a rolled hem on all the edges to emulate the anime look.
The finishing touch on the jacket was the gold double rope and single spiked shoulder pad. Thankfully, my trim collection has a great metal gold rope that worked well for the costume.
All aforementioned items can be purchased at JOANN Fabric and Craft Stores.
The wig was a project on it’s own, thanks to Lio’s distinctive floofy mushroom hair style. First, I teased the heck out of it and built up the volume I wanted, cutting and curling strands under along the way. I bought matching wefts in Japan and sewed them into the sides for even more body, and those fat side bangs. After styling, I made a dye mixture with FW ink and alcohol and sprayed it onto the wig.
Promare’s art style gave Lio ever present cartoony highlights on his many belt straps, which I emulated by painting @jacquardproducts Lumiere acrylic paint directly onto the fabric. I tried multiple paints, including Angelus leather paint, and in the end opted for the softer glowy look of Lumiere. The straps had to be taped off well and I can’t recommend @tamiyausa’s vinyl masking tape enough. 3mm and 5mm, super clean edges! I dabbed on the paint with a damp makeup sponge, in thick layers, let it dry, then peeled off the tape.
In some of the photos, I’m holding a stylized flame. Flame-chan was made from clear plastic sheeting and cellophane in one impromptu session after the Promare LIVE Inferno event in Tokyo, when I feverishly visited the lifestyle/craft department store Tokyu Hands and bought all materials needed and taped off my hotel room in newspaper to craft well into the night.
Thoughts on this costume:
The power of Promare was strong enough to completely push me outside of my comfort zone. Lio absolutely captivated me and I just had to... be him, no matter what. He is such an exquisitely beautiful character imbued with authority and strength, and I really love the experience of cosplaying Lio and posing as the Bossu.
The studio photos were taken at a cosplay studio in Tokyo called Haco cosset!
There is also a cool music video by Rescue the Princess!