Invited to be members of the audience for the 2008 Martha Stewart Halloween Special, broadcast LIVE from her New York Studios, myself and my 3 guests had only one requirement. We must come dressed as statues.
Initially this requirement might sound easy enough, but if you really think about it, most any figure can be a statue if they remain completely still. This makes it harder to be clear that your costume is a statue without visual clues like monotone coloring, etc... or you are a famous statue, like the "Statue of Liberty", etc... I knew those costumes would be taken by others in the studio audience for sheer popularity. I have a particular fondess for the sort of creepy bust statues you find in a Disney Haunted Mansion, or similarly creepy environment, so I came up with this concept for us to be 4 famous composer busts.
Step 1: Research & Design
Next came measurements for all 4 of us followed by thrift store shopping for the required jackets, shirts and accessories. I wasn't necessarily going for authentic ressemblance of each composer as much as creating 4 distinct costumes. I found 3 wigs, and one beard, and I knew that one friend would be using his own hair, sprayed white.
Step 2: Assembly
Each costume was assembled on a mannequin. The jacket and shirt were then cut to the desired bust shape, folding and gluing up the cut edges.
A slit up the back was cut with wide Velcro being glued into place on the inside of one edge, and overhanging the opposite edge. (side note: I cut about an inch or so from the slit on the back of my jacket which, when pulled together puffed out the front a bit giving it extra shape, which was visually good- but after an hour of wearing it, horribly uncomfortable. I was terrible pain by the end of the evening, so learn from my experiment).
Using a hot glue gun to adhere the shirt to the jacket, along with any accessories like a tie or ruffled scarf, making sure everything was in place and one "solid" piece.
Step 3: Paint
Step 4: Shirt Design
Completing the bust effect were our t-shirts. Long-sleeve black t-shirts with opaque heat-transfers of the bust pedestal design I created in Adobe Illustrator. Each pedestal varied a little and was placed in a location that aligned with the bottom edge of the bust jacket, with enough overlap before using the heat press.
UPDATE: Download a PDF with all 4 composer bust pedestals and 2 blank designs for you to use here (6.4MB):