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  • Canvas Cosplay

Long Live the Queens of the Damned

By Philip Odango

Queens of the Damned Cosplay Akasha Mekare. Photo by @withanhmedia
Queens of the Damned. India Raquel as Mekare and Alexandra Hudson as Akasha. Photo by @withanhmedia

"I know you crave to have the world at your feet. So I've come to give it to you." - Akasha, Queen of the Damned (film)

Anne Rice's dreamscapes of vampires set against centuries of decadence and decay filled my youth with emotive feelings of skipping through time in ancient Egypt, France, New Orleans and the deserts of California. For decades, her vision of a malevolent spirit and a blood-thirsty queen mother fascinated me in all the book and film interpretations, and I'm thrilled to collaborate with fellow creatives to bring my cosplay collection of gowns Queens of the Damned to life, just in time for the late Aaliyah's 20th death anniversary and for #BIPOCvampday celebration September 17-19, 2021

This costume collection - Queens of the Damned - features 3 costume designs by Philip Odango and was created in inspiration by American artist Karen Lamonte, whose sculpture work of dreamy draped dresses received an opening exhibition at Barry Art Museum "Theatre de la Mode" - the theater of fashion, on September 10, 2021.

Akasha, Queen of the Damned

Why so surprised, my love? You've called, I've come.

Cosplayed by Alexandra Hudson @frostfyrezero

Inspired from the film Queen of the Damned, portrayed by Aaliyah

Costume design: Philip Odango @philip.odango

Bracers 3D printed and painted: Frostfyre Fabrications

Makeup: Christina Rhodes @viva.valentina

Photos: With An H Media @withanhmedia

Fabrics: Fabric Hut

EVA Foam: Cosplay Fabrics Yaya Han foam

Paints: PlaidFX Cosplay Paints

Mekare, Queen of the Damned

“Let the spirits witness: for theirs is the knowledge of the future – both what it would be and what I will: you are the Queen of the Damned, that’s what you are! Evil is your only destiny. But at your greatest hour, it is I who will defeat you. Look well on my face. It is I who will bring you down.” – Mekare

Mekare is the ancient witch-vampire who becomes the new Queen of the Damned after consuming Akasha's brain and heart in the Anne Rice novel. In the novel, she has a twin sister, Maharet, however the film adaptation removes Mekare from the story entirely and changes the ending of Akasha's demise.

India Raquel is Mekare Costume design: Philip Odango @philip.odango Hair and Makeup by Levi J. Hull Photo by With an H Media Fabrics from Fabric Hut

Akasha and Mekare with sculpture artist Karen Lamonte whose exhibition is on display at Barry Art Museum and whose draped dresses influenced my designs

Vampirella, Queen of the Nosferatu

You have become like me. We are all monsters. - Vampirella

As a surprise and delight, I added a third dress to the collection, inspired by the Queen of the Nosferatu herself - Vampirella. Made with a sanguinous velvet and lace, Vampirella is another vampire queen of this draped brood.

Vampirella: Christina Rhodes @viva.valentina

Costume design: Philip Odango @philip.odango

Photos: With An H Media @withanhmedia


About the Designer - Philip Odango

Philip's love of artistry and crafting first cultivated with directing theatre. Expanding upon his technical skills, he parlayed his love of spectacle and visual storytelling into sewing, quickly gaining attention in the cosplay world. After crafting his first cosplay of Edward Scissorhands out of garbage bags and pizza boxes, Philip has designed and displayed numerous costumes across the world. His "cosplay your way" approach to cosplay is inspired by diverse and vibrant creators, ideas and communities he has met all over the globe. Philip curates his creations to reflect those journeys and demonstrates that cosplay is, above all else, a personal reflection of one's creative self-expression.

With a keen eye for style and craftsmanship, Philip has established himself as both a tastemaker and influencer continually inspiring those around him through various partnerships, television series, and branded collaborations. An award-winning crafter for needlework and special effects, he has taught workshops and panels at conventions, universities and makerspaces worldwide. He has been featured by Threads Magazine, Sew Daily, Forbes, Business Insider, GQ, MARVEL, Disney, The New York Times and SYFY. Since 2017, Philip has served as a global ambassador for SINGER™ Sewing Company, and founded the "Bros Who Sew" campaign to encourage the craft of sewing. Brand collaborations include FISKARS™ Crafts, VELCRO™ Brand, IKEA, Plaid Crafts, Mehron, Kryolan Professional Makeup, Cosplay Fabrics and JOANN Stores.

Philip owns a creative consultancy and leans into 15 years of marketing, theatre, event production and community engagement experience to write the Cosplay Professional Development Series of books. He completed Harvard Business School's Sustainable Business Strategy program, has certifications in inclusion and diversity and is a grant panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts.


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