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Stunning images of pagan costumes worn at winter celebrations around the world
10:18 am


winter rituals

‘Lucifer and little devils,’ Tauplitz, Austria. Photograph by Charles Fréger.
In a recent interview, French photographer Charles Fréger revealed that he has always been fascinated by European tribal traditions. This fascination inspired the well-known artist to travel all around Europe to capture images of people dressed in ritualistic costumes honoring the arrival of winter another other seasonal celebrations.

Fréger began his journey in Austria and to date has photographed stunning costumes and rituals from 21 countries around the world. According to Fréger there are many celebrations that mark the arrival of winter that take place in the Czech Republic and, say, Italy that are quite similar when it comes to the materials that are used to create the costumes. Such as the incorporation of animal pelts, branches from trees, horns and bells into the costumes. Though they may share similar appearances, the story behind each living piece of folklore varies from country and location. Here’s more from Fréger about why so many of these celebrations often involve a human masquerading as an animal:

It is not about being possessed by a spirit but it is about jumping voluntarily in the skin of an animal. You decide to become something else. You chose to become an animal, which is more exciting than being possessed by a demon.

Following his exhaustive tours of Europe, Fréger headed to Japan to photograph both winter and spring celebrations in Japan which showcase the country’s “theatrical” take on their celebratory costumes that have remained intact over the course of many centuries. The images from his travels to Japan reveal mythological “monsters” such as ogres and demons menacingly blending into landscapes, fields and the water or wielding machetes . Fréger’s exploits with international folkloric entities are the subject of two gorgeous books, Wilder Mann: The Image of the Savage, and Yokainoshima: Island of Monsters. I’ve included many images of Fréger’s scary monsters and mythical entities taken in Italy, Czechoslovakia, Finland and Japan as well as other destinations that celebrate the coming of winter and other seasonal changes with characters way more interesting than Santa. Enjoy!




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Katharine Hepburn dressed as a super-sexy silver sci-fi insect in 1933


“I wouldn’t have loved you if you’d been a usual man. And you wouldn’t have loved me if I’d been a woman who didn’t dress like an insect…”

The fantastic images you see here are of a twenty-six-year-old Katharine Hepburn dressed up as a shiny silver bug from outer space, from her first starring role in the 1933 film, Christopher Strong.
Katharine Hepburn in a publicity photo for the 1933 film Christopher Strong
In Christopher Strong, Hepburn plays free-spirited aviator, Lady Cynthia Darrington who has never taken up with a man due to her intense focus on her career. Despite the sound of it, the film’s plot is fairly lurid and full of philandering characters, unplanned pregnancies and suicide. It was the only time in Hepburn’s career where she would play “the other woman” and interestingly, in Hepburn’s first film role A Bill of Divorcement from the previous year, she played the daughter of actress Billie Burke (you know her as “Glinda the Good Witch of the North” from The Wizard of Oz) whereas this time around she was playing Burke’s romantic rival.

But the real star of this film is Hepburn’s “silver moth” costume. Designed by prolific costume designer Walter Plunkett, the manager of RKO’s wardrobe department whose vast body of work includes the “curtain dress” worn by by Scarlett O’Hara (played by Vivien Leigh) in Gone with the Wind.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Katharine the Great looking more stunning than she does in these far-out images. As for the spaced-out gown itself, it was up for auction in 2002 along with other Plunkett collectables, but apparently didn’t sell.

An image of Hepburn from Christopher Strong (she’s dressed in an aviation uniform, not a silver bug) was used for a Led Zeppelin poster for their 1975 US tour.

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‘Fancy Dress Balls’: Get a load of this Victorian-era cosplay
02:41 pm



As someone who used to be a costume designer, I find these images of Victorians in their finest costume threads intriguing. I have to admire all the tailoring and all the hard work that went into costumes and extravagant gowns/suits. These outfits put any Halloween or Comic-Con creation to shame. Okay, maybe not all Comic-Con cosplay, there were some out-of-this-world creations spotted in San Diego this year.

But damn! The Victorians knew how do it!





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Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment