Imagine your favorite character designs interpreted into costumes full of bustles, bodices, and shrugs, and you’ll come close to the work of LoriAnn Costume Designs, where the reality is probably better than you envisioned.
LoriAnn Gerlisky’s designs feature a range of styles, from Renaissance to Steampunk and even pirate looks. But it’s when these stunning pieces are given a pop culture twist that they particularly take our breathe away.
Gerlisky’s been sewing for as long as she can remember. While she originally thought she would be a fashion designer, creating a costume reproduction of the white dress worn by Madonna in Dick Tracy for a friend to wear to the high school prom put her on the path to costumes. She designed her logo when she was an exchange student in Australia and told the Daily Dot in an email interview, “It’s been a nonstop rollercoaster ever since.”
Her journey to selling her work online and creating pop culture-inspired items began with a suggestion from her mother.
“One day my mom looked at me and said, ‘If you can make a bodice, you could make a living doing this and stay home with your daughters while my husband finished college,'” Gerlisky said. “I made my first black bodice with boning in 1995 and listed it for 50 bucks on eBay. I sold it within 24 hours.”
Gerlisky became known for her pirate costumes in corsets thanks to the the Gasparilla Pirate Fest and a swell of local Floridian pirate lovers. “So I became known for my pirate costumes and corsets, and then Pirates of the Caribbean hit the world with a bang, and everyone wanted to dress like Jack and Elizabeth,” she said.
“After getting a good reputation and following, I looked further into movie gown reproductions, which led me to making my first bustle,” she said. “I used the black and white stripes to make a gown and BAM! It was a hit.”
Gerlisky’s new love became the Victorian era and Steampunk designs, and she began adding bustles to all her work, which she believes adds flare to a costume.
“Then one day I received an email asking if I could make a TARDIS costume,” she said. “I think my brain exploded. All I could think of was, ‘How can I add a bustle to this?’ My favorite thing in the world now is to take unusual characters or objects and bring them to life. I absolutely love the cosplay world and what has happened over the last several years. You’d think everyone wants to grow up to be a superhero, but the villains are the real characters.”