Cosplay Couture interpretation of Peter Pan
Costume and styling by Courtney Coulson
Photography by Luke Milton
Location University of Western Australia
Re-read Barrie’s Peter Pan if it’s been a while. I forgot how clever and twisted it is. Peter is an anarchic supernatural character who does whatever the hell he pleases. We’ve become too familiar with the watered down film versions so, once we returned to the original text, I was especially excited to explore a more tribal and chaotic Pan. Once again we were very lucky with local environments. You could travel quite far to capture this lush, jungle-like wilderness which is really just a patch of garden not too far from here.
- Luke Milton
Disney has the power to completely dominate people’s imaginations to the point that they can’t imagine certain characters any other way. After being pleasantly surprised by Frankenstein I wondered what other classics novels I was missing out on, I love the Peter Pan animated film but it doesn’t quite capture Barrie’s unique way with words nor the darker side of Neverland. Indeed it seems beautiful and inviting but this is a world where there is but a thin line between fantasy and reality and time, there’s this vague implaceable sense of unease.
Peter Pan embodies these qualities, his memories and imagination are interchangeable and he seems to be able to influence his world with his thoughts alone.Peter is ultimately an antihero, he can come of as a sociopath at times because he is so selfish and unempathetic, but these are the qualities of a very young boy, which is fine except he’s really centuries old and the leader of the Lost Boys, there’s an air of danger about him. He’s unpredictable, driven by impulse and seldom listens to reason, he’s also quite powerful.
Barrie is intentionally vague about Peter’s appearance, a beautiful young boy still with his first teeth and "clad in skeleton leaves and the juices that flow from trees". So I wanted his environment to influence his costume, not just nature but from what he had scavenged from the pirates and the natives.
As a nod to the Disney film I couldn’t resist adding the bandana as a take on his usual cap, I believe it’s what makes the character instantly recognisable.