2013 Costume College, Pt. 1

I’m back! I’m alive!

Costume College was splendid this year.  I had SO much fun, met and chatted with so many cool people, and took so…SO…many photos.  I’m breaking this up into pieces just because there are really THAT many photos.

So before I start – what *is* Costume College, anyway?

Costume College is an annual gathering of costume enthusiasts, of all skill levels, that takes place in L.A. each August.  Costumers from all over the world attend – this year we had Cathy from England, Merja from Finland, and Christina from Germany, as well as the beautiful hordes of West Coastians, all dressed to the nines in their finest.

So now that you know, let’s go!  First…the drive.  It’s about 8 hours between Reno and L.A., but there are some beautiful sights to see…

Once I arrived, it was time for festivities…

Okay, so I might have squealed kindof a lot when I met Merja…
Elizabeth in her original vintage bathingsuit
The theme this year was “Cavalier With a Touch of Pirate.”  The 17th century gowns were splendid
Tudor Tailor Reticella Lace on the collar of this gorgeous black silk 17th c. gown

Stephanie and Lauren M. wearing Astoria an Gibson shoes

Katherine Caron-Grieg in Regency perfection
Merja’s incredible 18th c. riding habit – more squee-ing.
Jen, another of my heroes, in her gorgeous riding habit.  That color!!
Details of Merja’s riding habit
Rebecca in a beautiful Robe a la Turque, for the Ice Cream Social
My first curtain-along dress, the 1780 Indienne, for the Ice Cream Social
18th century Disney Princesses – *genius* !
Pompadours and 23Skidoo shoes makes an appearance
My favorite picture of Elizabeth ever.
Natalie in Regency glamour
Jen’s Regency open robe and turban – I adore this ensemble!
Cynthia in a dress from Kyoto Costume Institute
Kendra in her Marie Antoinette black and white Redingote
Mary Johns in beautiful 18th c. men’s wear worn in “Courage, New Hampshire”
Merja and Kendra had made matching Marie Antoinette redingotes, both utterly fantastic
Details from the costumes on exhibit – this one made by Natalie Meyer, fashioned after Glenn Close’s costumes in Dangerous Liaisons.
My favorite from the display room – a Directoire Revival gown from the 1890s, by Chantal Filson
A gorgeous 1830s bonnt by Diane Yoshitomi
A ribbon bonnet decoration – really fun and adds a lot of texture.
One last detail from the costume room – I loved the bold and sophisticated combination of colors on this bonnet.  Like candy!

Want more pictures? Okay, this is only half!  I’ll have more to share with you soon. 🙂


  • Rebecca

    August 9, 2013 at 6:18 AM

    Oh how I'd love to be able to go to this one day! It's a shame they don't alternate the host coast. Thanks so much for sharing your pictures and letting those of us who couldn't be there live vicariously through you. Looks like you had a perfectly splendid time! 🙂

    • Lauren Stowell

      August 9, 2013 at 7:55 PM

      Indeed. I think Costume Con travels around – I've never been, but it's on my list of things to do. I believe there is a similar event on the East Coast called Dress U, though…

    • Marcail Gaelyn

      August 13, 2013 at 4:36 AM

      Hi. Costume College was actually created in response to Costume Con (after Costume Con #10) as a few West Coasters were driving back to CA. They wanted something that DIDN'T travel around (stayed in the same place) and wanted to do something that focused more on Education (spreading of the costuming knowledge) than out & out competition. Hence, Costume "College" for the name. 🙂 Our first year was 1993 so 2013 was our 21st year (aka "20th Anniversary") The Dress U started up recently (2010 according to Facebook.) – Rebecca T. (CGW Guild Historian, and person who taught the Costume College History class this year at CoCo2013 😉

  • E. Waterman

    August 9, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    Oh that looks like so much fun! So many fantastic people! I so wish I could go. Mayhaps next year? I'm intimidated! I'd feel much better having you with me, though! : )

  • BaronessVonVintage

    August 10, 2013 at 5:38 AM

    WOWOWOWOW! I am just in awe here. I am friends with Lauren and Chantal, and it is just glorious to see their creations!!!!!!

  • Jess

    August 12, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    awww!! I´m so in love with the dresses and gowns the all look so fantastic! I love the white one with the black collar most!

  • Fanny Temps d'élégance

    August 13, 2013 at 12:04 AM

    Yeah, thanks for sharing !
    We have to come next year or the year after 🙂
    And we are preparing this kid of event in Paris.

  • ZipZip

    August 13, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    Dear Lauren,

    Wow, your portraits of folks — for they show so much character, that's the best name for the photos — are fantastic, and bring Costume College to full-blown life.

    Have wanted to attend for years. Perhaps someday…

    Very best,



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