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Blog Posts (8)

  • Mr Benn - As if By Magic

    Sad news last week of the passing of David McKee, creator of Mr Benn, who featured in books and a TV series. Like many children's characters, Mr Been may be fondly remembered by some and totally unknown to others. Put simply, Mr Benn was a gentleman in a pin-stripe suit who lived a double life - with the help of his local fancy-dress shop. When the opportunity arose, Mr Benn would slip into the shop and, 'as if by magic' (with the help of a costume) transform into a character such as a pirate, a knight or a spaceman and have an adventure before transformng back. At a time when parents did not have as much time as they did 'back in the day' to create home-made costumes, and before the age of the Internet, the books/programmes inspired young minds and many a costume-hir shop benefited (there were even a few outlet's calling themselves 'Mr. Benn's' Mr Mc Kee also created Elmer, the patchwork elephant, and those living in the Maidstone area will recall that the town was invaded by multi-coloured replicas of this popular character in aid of charity. Mr Benn and his costumes hark back to a simpler time of costuming before Marvel or Potter franchises took over but his ethos lives on in eople's enthusiasm for 'getting out of themselves'. .

  • Weird Wig Story

    In this business we can get some rather odd requests - you could say we think we've seen it all (depends on the costume). Anyway, a customer rang up for a brown wig. The usual routine is to ask what character they're being so we've an idea if we've got what they want, but he just said he wanted a short brown wig, as cheap as possible. Turns out he keeps falcons and one of his 'pets' had taken a liking to his (the customer's) hair, so he was looking for wig that looked like his own barnet to try and give the bird a different target. As all our wigs are synthetic, we weren't sure if the bird would be fooled by a fake (but then they do chase mouse-like lures), however the customer seemed happy so we'll never know.

  • Masked Singers, New and Old

    Back in the Spring, in the early days of the Pandemic and lockdown, a new entertainment show hit our TV screens – the Masked Singer (TMS). This show, based on a Korean original, featured celebs singing in outlandish mascot-style costumes, whilst other celebs tried to guess their identities. We covered this phenomenon in our Spring Newsletter and, as we come to Christmas, and a curtain-raiser on the second series is being broadcast on Boxing Day, we thought we'd revisit the topic as part of our retrospective. We do have a range of mascot-style outfits, but not too many because they are impractical in many respects: Aside from being hot and heavy, viability is limited and, without the hi-tech that allows the celebs on TMS to communicate, you can't speak, let alone eat and drink – you're in a sort of soft padded prison. Like many aspects of costuming, they can look great but bring their own problems: You usually need a minder, not only to make up for the lack of visibility – you can't easily see where you are walking – but to prevent you tripping over small children who want to hug the big furry- whatever. But it's the itch that's the worst: It's not until you are inside a 'suit' and your hands are 'outside' that you realise how much you take the ability to deal with an odd itch with an absent-minded scratch for granted. The golden rule is that, like any costumed entity, you have to stay in character, and in a mascot you find whole new levels of tolerance. Back in the day, when the Wombles were at their peak, several small children were traumatised when a Womble in a live show took off his head before he was properly out of sight. Talking of the Wombles, (and repeating a story we told in the Spring), they, of course, were well ahead of the game in masked singing, actually clocking up a number of chart hits. As with the Masked Singer programme, few knew who was in the costumes, and the Wombles’ music maestro Mike Batt has revealed that, on one occasion, the members of Steeleye Span (known for Christmas hits All Around My Hat and Gaudete) filled the furry outfits. Just for the record, for reasons of copyright and the problems of practicality noted above, we do not have any Womble outfits in our collection. However, mindful of the Wombles' pioneering environment work, and how costuming can make a good visual news story, we have been known to do some insect-related Litter Bugs for a Telethon!

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Pages (236)

  • A - Z of Themes | antrix-costumes

    Themes showing this book logo use flip-folio format As an alternative to this graphic menu, a text-based version can be found here Short & Sassy

  • Themes List (Text-based) | antrix-costumes

    This is a text-based alternative to the Logo-Based A-Z Theme Index Those highlighted in red are available in Flip-folio format 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s Abba Alice in Wonderland America Ancient Times (Greeks.Romans) Animals & Insects Arabian Nights Australian Bad Taste Best of British Black & White Book Characters (Adult) Book Characters (Youngsters) Burlesque, Cabaret & Can-can Cartoons & Animation Cats Chinese New Year Christmas Circus & Greatest Showman Colours Comedy Characters ​ Countries of the World Couples & Pairs Dancing? Not Strictly Disney-ish Easter Entities Edwardians,The Egyptians Fairies French Connection Fun & Novelty Game of Thrones Garden Party Georgian & Regency Goodwood Revival Halloween Heroes & Villains James Bond Las Vegas London Underground Mardi Gras Medieval & Middle Ages Moulin Rouge Movies My Favourite Fantasy Myths & Legends Oriental Pantomime Pink Pirates Pop & Rock Idols Professions Red, White & Blue Rocky Horror Seven Deadly Sins Short & Sassy Space & Futuristic St George's Day St Valentines Day Tarot Tudors, The TV Nostalgia Venetian Costumes & Masks Victorians, The Wild West Wonderland (Alice)

  • Garden Party | antrix-costumes

    Being 'No-Mow May' our title has become a little overgrown, but here are some outfits for a Garden Party-style event ​

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