Monday, 1 April 2013

How to Create the Perfect Black Swan Costume and Makeup

Create the Perfect Black Swan Costume 

Smiffy Black Swan Costume
(Available in the UK here)

Black Swan is one of my favorite movies of all time, and one of the best things about it are the stark, bold and iconic costumes worn by the lead actress Natalie Portman, who plays troubled dancer Nina - torn between the innocent and fragile white swan and the sensual and impulsive black swan. If you are looking to create a stylish and terrifying Black Swan costume, then you've come to the right place, cause here I'll discuss just how you can do it.

If you want to team up with a friend and go as a White Swan/Black swan pairing, check out my guide on how to create the perfect White Swan Queen costume.

How to Create the Black Swan Dress


You can pick up some cute pre-made Black Swan costumes such as this one, but in my opinion the best costume is made from realistic ballet gear modified with some elaborate corsets and feathers.

You will need:

  • A black ballet leotard with a stiff and large tutu attached. The Black Swan's Tutu isn't a flimsy floppy thin like you'll find on most costumes, which is why its best to go for something like this for authenticity! The perfect example is this one, which is the one I use for my costume. Sadly though that one is only available for shipping within the EU. For US Black Swan enthusiasts, you can pick up the right kind of tutu here but you'll have to buy a leotard separately. Here's one without straps.
  • A black corset. You'll be wearing this over your leotard, so you want one that's beautiful and elaborate just like Natalie Portman's dress. Here's a beautiful one, and here's one with straps that would look fantastic.
  • Some black feathers. You will want to slip these into one side of your corset (stitch them into it if you feel confident with a needle) so that they stick up over one side of your chest (see the picture of me below to see what I mean).

How to Create the Black Swan Makeup

My Black Swan Makeup
The Black Swan makeup looks pretty complicated, but its actually remarkably easy to pull off - I managed to do it even though I have the shakiest hand imaginable. You will need:

  1. White face paint
  2. Black eyeliner
  3. Silver Glitter Eyeliner with fine point applicator

Step 1:

  • Use white face paint (here's the one I used) to lighten your face. The trick is to only use a little bit and carefully blend and blur it out towards the edges of your face. You want your face to be softly lighter - you don't want to look like you are wearing a white face mask. Don't drench the sponge you are using to apply the face paint - using only a little water and dabbing it on your face will help achieve the desired look.
Step 2:
  • Using black eyeliner (gel ones such as this one work best) draw the shape shown in the picture around your eyes, beginning half to a quarter of the way down your nose and ending around an inch past the end of your eyebrows. Depending on how high your eyebrows are naturally you may wish to make the shape cover your eyebrows - if not be sure to make sure you've added some white face paint to them instead (like I did). Color the shape in with the eyeliner so that it is completely black all over. Wait for it to dry. Add mascara or fake eyelashes if desired.
Step 3:
  • Using a silver glitter eyeliner with a fine point applicator (this one works well), make little dashes and lines all over the shape, following the natural contours of your face. Be careful when making lines on your eyelids to keep your eyes closed for a while while the eyeliner drys to avoid smudging. 

Creating the Hairstyle

Black Swan Replica Tiara
This part is easy enough - simply scrape your hair back and tie it into a bun, using a strong hairspray to prevent fly away hairs escaping and hold it in place. Tresemme Freezehold spray is an utterly impenetrable hairspray that is great for keeping the look in place while dancing or going about town. It leaves your hair a little plasticky to the touch, but there is no way in hell that hair is moving. 

Finally, top the look off with a tiara. Here's a replica of the one Natalie Portman wears in the movie. And there we go! One complete and perfect Black Swan costume, ready to go.

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