Lúthien's Magic Hair Cloak

Rob Harding

Active Member
My only real thoughts about the cloak are more to do with the vfx. To be clear, I don’t solely mean digital vfx. Thinking about what can be done ‘in camera’, what it contributes to the editing. As she spins, does each sweep of her cloak across the scene provide the opportunity for a cut to the one under her spell, to tie a visual link between the act of the dance and its effect? Does it cut to another key storyline for comparison sake in some extended montage? How is it being used visually to progress story as well as looking cool in the moment? I’m less interested in it’s material make up and lighting for its own merit at this stage and more concerned with what it offers to the viewer to help understand the power of magic in the world? For example, if an evil king were to being put under a spell by a good wizard while at the same one that evil king’s fortress were being assaulted and brought down by the good wizard’s knight friend, then cutting between the spell, it’s direct effect, and the symbolic destruction of the king’s stronghold would tie it all together and be dramatic, show the stakes, show the heroes triumph and emphasise how crucial magic is. If the evil king broke free from the spell, even for a moment, the tension is SUPER high then as it’s no longer just about the wizard, but OH NO, what if the good knight feels the king’s wrath of he defeats the wizard? So how can we use the moment for the dance to tell story, not just in terms of events happening but specially, how can a dance as a visual medium help do this?
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
A cloak behaves as a cross between a veil and a skirt. Generally, cloaks are removed before dancing, because they are a bit unwieldy. Since Lúthien will have to keep hers on through at least one extensive dance scene, it is up to us not to design something too unwieldy for her to dance in.

It is true that Gandalf can dance with the hobbits in his costume. However, there is nothing light/airy/flowing about the fabric of his robes in the scene where he dances. Nor is there meant to be. He is not showing off superb dancing skill in that scene. It is meant to show him having fun. He has to pick up his robes to avoid tripping on them, suggesting that his outfit is NOT designed for dancing.

Voldemort does not dance, but he does move fluidly, 'like smoke', and the fabric and costume design enhance the fluidity of his movements (even if that movement is just to point a wand). His sleeves and hems swirl about him every time he turns around.

I am suggesting that fluidity of movement is an important element to consider when designing Lúthien's magic cloak.
A little like in the Oracle scene from 300 that we had in the other thread (seems removed now)? Where the Seer's peplos billows with the smoke (seems to be fine silk)?

My only real thoughts about the cloak are more to do with the vfx. To be clear, I don’t solely mean digital vfx. Thinking about what can be done ‘in camera’, what it contributes to the editing. As she spins, does each sweep of her cloak across the scene provide the opportunity for a cut to the one under her spell, to tie a visual link between the act of the dance and its effect? Does it cut to another key storyline for comparison sake in some extended montage? How is it being used visually to progress story as well as looking cool in the moment? I’m less interested in it’s material make up and lighting for its own merit at this stage and more concerned with what it offers to the viewer to help understand the power of magic in the world? For example, if an evil king were to being put under a spell by a good wizard while at the same one that evil king’s fortress were being assaulted and brought down by the good wizard’s knight friend, then cutting between the spell, it’s direct effect, and the symbolic destruction of the king’s stronghold would tie it all together and be dramatic, show the stakes, show the heroes triumph and emphasise how crucial magic is. If the evil king broke free from the spell, even for a moment, the tension is SUPER high then as it’s no longer just about the wizard, but OH NO, what if the good knight feels the king’s wrath of he defeats the wizard? So how can we use the moment for the dance to tell story?
But would not all this would be part of the scene itself? Here we just discuss the prop itself? Or do you suggest the ideas of the scene would involve the prop itself in a very significant way?
 

Rob Harding

Active Member
I will say, nailing the purpose helps with costuming choice of course. The scale of it will depend on how vast we want it to be in a dance sequence. How much of a space will it consume when the dance is performed. Especially for those sweeping visuals. As it’s being sewn will it flow out the sides of Luthien’s treehouse? Is that a cool visual? Should the treehouse design be informed by that?

That kinda stuff
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
She's not dancing in the treehouse. She's dancing in Morgoth's throneroom, and perhaps a bit after she escapes the treehouse.
 

Rob Harding

Active Member
She's not dancing in the treehouse. She's dancing in Morgoth's throneroom, and perhaps a bit after she escapes the treehouse.
I thought she was sewing it in the treehouse? My question was, is it so large it flows from the confines? As she is sewing it, is the piece so big it can just fit on the floor of this small space. Does it bleed out and drape down like this inorganic willow tree effect? I'm thinking of cool visuals. It may not make sense that it can do that otherwise I guess it suggests the design of the treehouse is maybe not secure? But the size of the cloak also depends on how we want the dances to look too, how much space in Morgoth's hall it takes up when whirling hypnotically etc. etc. My point was that visuals and story have to connect in that way. I was more using it as an example.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Neither.

The first is very voluminous, and as such, will likely be too unwieldy for a dancer. It has very nice flow, but too much bulk and likely too heavy.

The second is sheer, so plenty light - but we definitely do not want a sheer cloak here! It also has no gathering at all, so very limited flow.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
My question was, is it so large it flows from the confines? As she is sewing it, is the piece so big it can just fit on the floor of this small space. Does it bleed out and drape down like this inorganic willow tree effect?
No, it shouldn't be as bulky as all that. The fabric should be thin (though not transparent!), so it would puddle up in a small lump if not worn.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
No, it shouldn't be as bulky as all that. The fabric should be thin (though not transparent!), so it would puddle up in a small lump if not worn.
I have searched around but not found anything that fits your description - how you something to help visualise what you are thinking of? - I assume the colour to be dark grey?

(In my experience all the algorithms in the search engines slowly do become a real handicap - they restrict one's search to locally available items - even if you use other languages to get around that - while it was formerly possible to search the WWW freely for any content worldwide now one is ultimately always guided back to things that are available to buy in one's own area - it is getting more and more frustrating - maybe you get other examples shown when you search around?).
 
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MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I guess go with Voldemort's robes as a starting point for now - (1) thin, flowing fabric, (2) significant gathering at the neck to get volume without bulk (3) raw edge for the hem
 

Kathrin

Well-Known Member
I think I would love almost a wrap-cloak, where it is very clear that it is just one big fabric that she maybe belted around the waist. Also I would love if it could look very different in when luthien is calm and collected and when she's in full action. Of course we would need talented costumers who would make and style it so it is runnable in, and looks good at all times, but this is just the general idea. Also I think it might look very cool if there is almost a mesmerising, shifting leaf pattern that maybe looks like leaves in the wind then it moves, or shines in the moonlight. (Hmm now i wanna actually paint it xD) But for now, have some messy ballpoint sketches


WhatsApp Image 2022-07-15 at 15.03.21.jpeg
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Yes, I would like to give this cloak some personality. Maybe not Dr. Strange's autonomous Cloak of Levitation levels of personality, but some!


I agree that it is difficult to find images of silk cloaks that would work for dancing AND also work for hiding all of Lúthien's body when she is wrapped in shadows. I think it would make the most sense to have some sort of transformation, where she throws the cloak back over her shoulder, and is suddenly in dancing-style for a sequence where she needs to be active and visible. There are a few tricks that can be used to achieve that for real (meaning, yes, you would need a cut scene, but you could just pin/attach the fabric cleverly to make it do what you want, rather than switch it out for a completely different style of cloak). Possibly.

One tool that is helpful are loops added to the bottom corners of the cloak. They allow the ends of the cloak to be anchored to the wrists, which would keep the fabric controlled while dancing. Similarly, the garment can be pinned at shoulder or belt to make it do what we want it to do.

In this example, the garment only falls down the back; it is not a cloak that can be wrapped around the front:



Still, the image is worth sharing as the cloak is made out of 100% silk, and is cut on the bias and has middle back gathering...both features are designed for better flow.

Source: https://armstreet.com/store/medieval-clothing/embroidered-and-beaded-silk-cape-water-flowers


I do think that Lúthien's cloak needs to be able to wrap around the front and 'hide' her. But it doesn't have to naturally fall like that. She can be actively drawing it closed, crossing her arms in front of her, when she wishes to hide. Generally, neither cloaks nor capes have sleeves, though there can be slits to allow her arms to stick out from within the cloak if necessary. A sleeved garment (such as Jedi wear) would be referred to as a robe.

Cloak with arm slits:
1659215114270.png
(This one is made of wool)

It is also possible to give the cloak a high/low hem, so that even if it does wrap in front of her, it would only fully hide her when she crouches down. I think that could be made to work, unless we need her to be running and hiding in shadows. Probably not a good idea to force the issue like that, though - this cloak is meant for concealment, and should be able to do the job.

Part of the issue here is that oftentimes, cloaks and capes are meant to be heavy garments, providing warmth and protection from the elements. They aren't often used as dance accessories. So, we are going a bit against the grain here. There's probably a decent example out there somewhere that works, though. I'll keep looking!

https://www.thenationalnews.com/lifestyle/fashion/not-just-for-superheroes-deconstructing-the-history-of-the-cape-from-royalty-to-the-runway-1.991820
1659215967421.png
 

Kathrin

Well-Known Member
Hmm, yeah, we might be looking at some sort of shawl dance, but we'd need to engineer the cloak so she can use it like that.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I suggested pinning to get the cloak to have different shapes. Here are some of the ways that visible cloak pins can be used to shape the cloak:

1) Start with a cloak that is voluminous enough to wrap entirely around the body:

1659479476636.png

2) Pin at front so that front of costume is visible and bulk of cloak is behind the person (for 'traveling' scenes)

1659479606183.png

3) Pin at shoulder so that most of costume is hidden (for secrecy/shadow scenes)
1659479747465.png

4) Artistically arrange cloak with hidden pins to secure it in place (for dance sequences)

1659479987198.png

Source : https://armstreet.com/store/medieval-clothing/wool-cape-with-nautilus-shell-trim-sea-born


I am not suggesting this exact cloak. It is made of wool, so likely a bit heavier weight cloth than we were hoping for (though this is not a thick wool). Decorative trim will not be needed for Lúthien's cloak. Also, it lacks a hood, and allowing Lúthien to pull a hood over her head/face or unveil herself by throwing her hood back are probably important features to have available. If the cloak has a hood, gathering/pleating at the center back should be possible. This cloak lacks that detail.

Still, the model is very conveniently modeling 'how to style a cloak with cloak pin'!
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
I suggested pinning to get the cloak to have different shapes. Here are some of the ways that visible cloak pins can be used to shape the cloak:

1) Start with a cloak that is voluminous enough to wrap entirely around the body:



2) Pin at front so that front of costume is visible and bulk of cloak is behind the person (for 'traveling' scenes)



3) Pin at shoulder so that most of costume is hidden (for secrecy/shadow scenes)


4) Artistically arrange cloak with hidden pins to secure it in place (for dance sequences)



Source : https://armstreet.com/store/medieval-clothing/wool-cape-with-nautilus-shell-trim-sea-born


I am not suggesting this exact cloak. It is made of wool, so likely a bit heavier weight cloth than we were hoping for (though this is not a thick wool). Decorative trim will not be needed for Lúthien's cloak. Also, it lacks a hood, and allowing Lúthien to pull a hood over her head/face or unveil herself by throwing her hood back are probably important features to have available. If the cloak has a hood, gathering/pleating at the center back should be possible. This cloak lacks that detail.

Still, the model is very conveniently modeling 'how to style a cloak with cloak pin'!
Two disc fibulae [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disc_fibula] on both of her shoulders and you can have a quasi-hood


just like Virgin Mary on Orthodox icons, just leaving out the third top one on her forehead:
1659507232495.png

If you want to accentuate the hood you could have the fibulae connected by a chain in the back - usually chained fibulae had the chain in the front - but technically there is no reason why not to use them the other way round...

1659508024726.png

1659508106609.png
 
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