Dilandau Albatou - The Vision of Escaflowne

Cost: $876
Costume Commissioned From: Ammie
Sword Made By: Adrien (t_toast)
Costume Bought in: May 2015



Cosplaying as Dilandau was always a dream of mine from way back in the days when I first learned about Cosplay. It was not long after Escaflowne had been airing on Fox Kids and that's when I discovered the series and I came to really like Dilandau. That was back in 2001 and 2002. Dilandau was always on my dream costume list every time I created a new website and made a new Cosplay wish list. He was on the list for so long that the idea was collecting digital cobwebs. It's hard to say exactly what drew me to Dilandau as a character. He was quite psychotic and chaotic. A true villain, but as Escaflowne progressed, his character faced a lot of hardship and the truth behind his life was really unexpected and intriguing. Dilandau really stood out to me as a unique character and his Dragon Slayer outfit was one of the most interesting outfit designs that I can recall from any series that I watched in my childhood. I always thought his red and black uniform with his prominent armour looked very impressive and elegant.

I kept the idea of Cosplaying as Dilandau at the back of my mind for just over 10 years before it dawned on me that I should get the costume commissioned. Although my skills at sewing improved over the years, I never really felt I quite reached the level to make his uniform coat and really do it justice. To be fair, if I worked on it in the background for a year or two and made countless mocks, I may have been able to do it, but I just didn't feel the desire to pick up such a complicated project even if it was a dream costume. I also realized that if I didn't get the costume commissioned soon, I should just scrap the idea as I'm getting older and Cosplaying as a young bishie character was not only losing its appeal to me, but my plausibility to wear the costume and feel comfortable in it was beginning to fade in my mind. I became friends with Ammie in 2009 and our friendship blossomed over the following years. She's an excellent seamstress and I've commissioned several awesome costumes from her in the past including all my Sailor Moon fukus and my Nurse Lolita Rebecca Chambers costume. I had it at the back of my mind to perhaps suggest a Dilandau commission from her, but I wasn't sure if it was a project she would like to undertake. In the fall of 2012 I decided to mention the commission idea to her and she replied fairly quickly that it was something she wouldn't mind making for me down the line. I was really thrilled by her reply!

In the meantime, I had my own parts of the costume that I had to track down. I ordered the wig for Dilandau in February 2014 from Arda. I decided to get a Lulu in silver as the back of the wig had a nice shape to it and the wig had a small skin top. I figured the bang length in the front would work well for his side swept bang appearance. I had the wig for almost a year and a half before the costume was completed, but I didn't actually work on the wig until a couple of weeks before AN 2015. Pan helped me trim the back a little bit, but I had to work on the rest of the wig. I did my best to shape the wig. I tried to give the bangs height by hair spraying them and hitting the bangs with a hair dryer as the hair was flipped up. It did give the bangs a little bit of volume, but not quite as much dimension as I had wanted. I wasn't able to get help to trim some of the sideburns so the wig was incomplete. After AN, I washed the wig out and in the summer of 2015 I visited Ammie and she helped me style the gravity defying bangs. She's great at giving wigs height!

Another item I purchased was the tiara. It was a part of the costume that I wasn't sure what to do about. I asked Ammie if maybe she intended to make something for it, but she didn't have any ideas. I was searching eBay and Etsy when I came across Catzias Collectibles. They're the craftsmen that are known for making Sailor Moon accessories such as tiaras. All of my tiaras are from them. For whatever reason, Catzia at the time was selling Dilandau tiaras. Considering he's very rarely Cosplayed and the series is very old, I was so surprised to see a site selling pre-made ones. It's really cool because the crown is brass and the jewel is 3D printed. It was a huge relief to buy the crown in June 2014! The only change I did to it was that I glued in some foam on the back to better cushion my forehead from the pressure of the crown. It doesn't seem like you can buy this crown from Catzia anymore so I'm glad I was able to get one for my costume!

Another thing I had to buy were boots for the costume. Ammie wanted me to get boots that were not short, but not tall. She suggested ankle boots that she would cover the tops of with boot covers. The only stipulation was that they had to be red and if they could look pleather like it would be better. I found a pair on Aliexpress that I ordered in March. The boots didn't show up until early May so it was a bit down to the wire, but thankfully they fit just fine as I ordered a size 5.5, which is a smaller size than I usually order. Sadly, they didn't quite match the reds for the rest of the costume, but when I visited Ammie in the summer of 2015, she used some leftover red paint from other parts of the costume to paint the boots so they would match a little better.

I knew when I wanted to commission this costume that I would also want a sword prop. Dilandau couldn't appear without his beloved blade! I commissioned the sword from my friend Adrien who has made many awesome props for me in the past including my Silence Glaive for Sailor Saturn and my Samurai Edge gun for Rebecca Chambers. I asked him about making my sword back in 2013 when I confirmed with Ammie that I wanted to get the costume commissioned. He had an old wooden sword that he was ok with using as a base. He started working on the sword in 2014 before the costume got delayed. He then worked on it in the spring of 2015. He did a great job constructing it. He covered the blade with a silver tape so it looks like steel and he had a friend 3D print the details on the scabbard and hilt. He custom made the guard and painted all the parts. It turned out perfectly! I couldn't be happier with the sword.

Things came down to the wire with the costume part of Dilandau for AN 2015. Ammie only finished it a few days before the con. She did send me some progress photos in the last couple of weeks before AN and she kept me updated on her progress so I was excited. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get the costume from her until late at night on Friday of Anime North 2015. I was way too tired to try on the costume that night as I had just gotten out of the Nominoichi and I was exhausted.

It probably wasn't the best idea to try on a costume and wear it properly for the first time at a con especially not one that has a lot of detail. Sadly, the costume had some fit issues. It was meant to be a fairly tight fitting outfit, but Ammie lives in London so I wasn't able to try on the costume as she worked on it to check how the fit was. Ammie had originally suggested it was a costume I should visit with her when she worked on it so we could check how things would fit, but we just didn't have time before AN to do that. The costume really would have benefited from the one-on-one, though. I gave her my measurements, but given that this is a boy character, she took some liberties with the fit regarding the frame of a boy. Unfortunately, that translated into the jacket and pants being rather baggy on me. I don't think it was a wrong decision, she just couldn't account for how I would look wearing a chest binder. The binder does a pretty good job evening out my features so the jacket didn't have to be as loose.

I wore the costume for a few hours on the Saturday of the con. I had trouble wearing the contacts I bought for the costume. I tried on wine red ones I bought for Dilandau, but my friends suggested that I wear the dolly red ones I had as the brighter red gave my eyes a more intense look. I found out fairly quickly that my eyes were itchy and uncomfortable. That morning I also had started to feel a sore throat coming on and I was sneezing a bit. I had thought I was sneezing because the hotel room had been cold and that my throat was sore from talking a lot on Friday. It turned out that as the weekend progressed, I was coming down with the flu. I wasn't sure why I was feeling so off trying to wear Dilandau and I felt very uninspired. I was just losing focus because I was getting sick.

Anyway, I did try to soldier on. My friend Adrien helped me attach the sword using plastic chain as best we could to the belt Ammie had made. The belt was quite loose on my hips, though, and didn't really have the space to properly hold the chain to support the weight of the sword. We sort of made it work, but it was still very droopy. It took us a long time, but in the spring of 2017, Adrien and I finally worked on altering the belt for Dilandau to give it a tighter fit and we created a new string tie for the sword so it would hang properly at my side.

I changed my contacts after wearing the costume for a couple of hours and I probably wore the costume until 3 or 4PM on Saturday of AN 2015. I didn't do a shoot of the costume so there isn't much photo evidence of me wearing it at AN that year. I just was not feeling that well. I was disappointed that everything didn't quite come together for the costume to be perfect right out of the gate at AN, but it still looked really nice and AN was a great test run for the costume. When I visited with Ammie in the summer of 2015, she did take in the jacket and pants; she reinforced the boot cover tops. She also helped me fix up my wig and she painted my boots to match the other reds of the costume. I'm really grateful for her assistance and her hard work on the costume! The jacket looked really cool with all the gold and black detailing and the shoulder armour looked really impressive especially given that they were made out of floor mats with paper mache. She used velcro to attach the armour to the jacket and it worked out really well.

Both Adrien and Ammie did an awesome job bringing this costume to life. This costume turned into an expensive venture. It's the most expensive costume in my Cosplay history, but I think it was worth the money to Cosplay a character that has meant so much to me in my life and history with Cosplay and Anime.

After several years of delays, I finally wore this costume one more time for proper photos at YetiCon 2023. The delay was even more extensive thanks to the pandemic. It was only during the pandemic that I really remembered that with the costume being made of faux leather, it would eventually fall apart. I was also worried that it wouldn't fit anymore. Thankfully, it lasted until June 2023. I was even touching up the paper mache on the shoulder pads using some of the leftover paint and some paper clay to fill in some cracks. It kind of felt like a miracle it looked intact until I was able to wear it to YetiCon. Unfortunately, the costume did start falling apart as I was wearing it. The red pleather on the gloves, the area around the waist and the pants overall started to crack and peel. It was bittersweet to finally wear it again, but find the materials were deteriorating. I'm happy, though, that at YetiCon I was able to shoot with both Elemental and Stillvisions so we got quite a few photos of the costume. I don't think I'll wear it again, but I'm thrilled that was I able to Cosplay Dilandau and achieve a dream.

Events/Conventions this costume was worn to
Anime North 2015 (Saturday) & YetiCon 2023 (Saturday)

Photo Credits
Stillvisions & Elemental