If you are familiar with cosplay, the Final Fantasy games, J-pop, or anime at all, then you have an idea of what Visual Kei is.
But only the vaguest of ideas...
See, Visual Kei is a music genre that encompasses a bizarre combination of what happened when 80's hair bands, Jpop, and punk smashed together, and created something altogether new. Born in Japan, it mixes cosplay, metal, gothic and glam. Visual kei bands are very extravagant, and you can usually tell a Visual Kei band or artist by their elaborate costumes, crazy-impossible hairstyles, and bold, daring makeup, usually applied over some variety of lighteining foundation. Want an idea of what I'm talking about? A simple example:
"Dir En Grey" Get the idea? Of course, this is not our favorite Visual Kei band, but this promo shot has the most varied imagery on which to base a generalized idea of the genre. *smile*
So, two days before Halloween, Willamina tells me she would love to be Visual Kei for her costume. Being me, I tell her that's no problem, and I can make that happen. She protested, saying we had nothing that would work for a costume that elaborate, and I gave her a short list of things to acquire from our closets, and the costuming bucket while I went out shopping.
A little while later, I returned with a can of hairspray, some red lipliner (I needed some anyway), a small jar of ivory foundation, a tube of white clown makeup, and some black eyeliner (useful for both her and her sister's costume). Total cost; about $20
Yes, that's all we're working with here. Budget-minded enough for you yet?
No? Okay, I didn't really have to buy the $7 hairspray, and I couldn't find red lipliner at the dollar shop, so sue me. *wink* If I had, though, or we'd had some liquid foundation at the house, I could have gotten away with spending a mere $6, tax included. Better? *grin*
When I returned, she had gathered my little stretchy vest, a red scarf, some leftover red hairspray from some other event, her little sister's white dress shirt, a couple of punk lace-up arm warmers I got on clearance last year after Halloween, some gold chains she had lying around, her black exercise pants, a punky leather collar, black pleather boots, and a sleeveless little t-shirt-like overcoat that buttons in the front. You know the kind that proper young ladies wear over their plain, long-sleeved dresses in the winter?
So with all of these disparate items, I got to work.
First came the sketch. A working example of what I planned on creating. Not pretty, but functional, and it gave a decent idea to W as to what I intended for her. But still she couldn't fathom how, exactly, I was going to pull it off with the seemingly meager supplies we had brought together.
Then I dressed her partially and set her in the chair for hair and makeup.
Doesn't she look so very excited? This, my loves, is a picture of teen disbelief. She was willing to let me try, but didn't think it would turn out very well, despite the fact that I told her that her hair alone would take me nearly two hours to complete...Somewhat more excited here, about 45 minutes into her hairstyling. Resting frequently to assuage the complaints of "yanking my hair out of my head", these sacrifices were necessary for "the look" she wanted. We still have not touched the colored hairspray in this shot, this is the (dyed) color of her hair.