{Costume Design: Cogsworth from Beauty and the Beast}

Cogsworth was the second character that came to me fully formed, costume-wise.  I knew exactly what my plan was, and though it got tweaked here and there as we were going along, he ended up looking exactly like what I pictured when I originally started doing my designs.

The first step was planning.  For months I had asked my coworkers to send me cardboard that they would otherwise be throwing out, and as a result I had tons to choose from.  The Cogsworth cardboard needed to be a large surface, as I was basically planning to put our actor in a sandwich-board.  I started by drawing out an initial plan.  Right off the bat, this proved that we had to make a small change – it was difficult to walk with the clock being floor-length, and so we decided to end the clock at about knee level.

I realized pretty early on in the process that the boxes would need to be stabilized to keep them from flopping around and bending all over the place.  I had a bunch of gorilla tape leftover from the staff Halloween contest and used that, along with some wooden dowels, to keep things stabilized and in place.  As you’ll soon see, I said multiple times that Cogsworth was held together with tape, hot glue and a prayer.

Before the tape, hot glue and prayers could do their magic, we redesigned the basic shape of Cogsworth.  This also required merging a number of boxes to get the width we wanted.  Enter: more and more gorilla tape and wooden dowels!

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Above you can see the insides of Cogsworth forming.  Once we had stabilized the cardboard, it was time to cover it.  I had this great upholstery fabric sitting in my stash that was perfect for the job.  It took a lot of hot glue gun sticks to get this on there, but it was worth it when we saw what it looked like:

Once both sides were covered in the fabric, it was time to design the clock face.  After a lot of trial and error, we ended up using a brownish fabric with a gold gimp braid trim.  We sketched out the side we needed, cut it out and glued it down, and then put the trim around it.  You can also see the preliminary plans for the clock.  At one point in time, Cogsworth had a working clock (alas, general wear and tear made the clock’s hands fall off and ultimately were just drew a time on it).

Both sides done!

With the box sorted, it was time to deal with the little details, like the clock face and the pendulum.  We actually took white craft felt and painted it copper to match the gimp braid, and then we took a cardboard cake holder and used that as the clock.  I purchased a clock kit and we poked a hole through the whole thing to put in the working clock.  I do regret that it didn’t end up working out, but you live and learn (and I was so happy with the final product it didn’t matter in the end)!

At this point, we had two Cogworth halves, and we needed to connect them together.  This was done with the help of a present costume we had in storage.  It was just the right shape, and provided a tunic that could be easily be slipped into.  We modified it by cutting the sides for even easier access, and then gluing it to the front and back halves of the costume.  I was honestly shocked that this never came apart.  Gorilla tape is a miracle worker.

Note: Those tubes ended up being removed.  We used them for stabilization while the costume was standing, but they weren’t really required for our actor to wear it.

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By the time we were finished with the costume, we had also covered the sides with the upholstery fabric as well to create an enclosed look.  I whipped up a matching pair of pants as well as a vest for when Cogsworth makes the transition to being human again (I wanted each character to retain something from their furniture costume – for Cogsworth it was the same fabric).  The whole look came together with a a colonial style wig, a button down shirt and some sleeve cuffs and a jabot.

And here you have the final product!  (And a look at Lumiere as well.)

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