Young Arwen
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Young Princess Arwen

Our character research on Arwen is here.

Arwen was born in year 241 of the Third Age (ie, 241 years after the downfall of Sauron in the Prologue; she was 2700+ by the beginning of the Fourth Age, but _very_ well preserved 8-), and IIRC did grow up in Rivendell. Later, she went to stay with her grandmother Galadriel in Lothlorien, and didn't return until Aragorn was in his early 20s (ie 60 years or so before the beginning of the LOTR book/movies).

So... you can take your choice of styles and influences. There were subtle changes between the Second and Third age elven armors (which are the only things we see both ages of), and Rivendell in the movies was made 'autumnal' because by the end of the Third Age, the 'time of the elves is coming to an end'. But when Arwen was a young girl, the elves still had a couple of millennia ahead of them, and, even in _The Hobbit_, Rivendell is the proverbial 'place more wonderful than you can imagine', although considerably less high-flown and formal than Lothlorien in LOTR.

When I worked ren faires regularly, we had a saying with regard to children: "Peasants have more fun." Little nobles have to behave like little nobles, and get into just as much trouble for messing up their clothes as their real antecedents undoubtedly did 400 years ago. A peasant lad or lass can get dirty or wrinkled, still look the part, and wash up reasonably well afterward. Another thing to think about (as you appear to have done) is that long floaty sleeves, trains, and overdresses tend to get caught on things fairly easily.

And all that cloth (especially renaissance underpinnings) can get pretty heavy and hot by the end of the day. But surely even elf-princesses have play clothes! Arwen had two older brothers, too, which probably means she was a bit of a tomboy.

You might take a cue from the shirt Eldarion wears in Arwen's vision, or from Frodo's or Sam's Gondor shirt/nightshirts, with possibly a more flaring, feminine sleeve. Or maybe try a jerkin adapted from the Chase dress. Then add a long sturdy skirt and a cloak, and you're there.

See if you can find cotton or cotton/rayon brocades to give the pieces a little more 'elven' class. Try the home dec department; if you pre-shrink them, they wash just fine, whatever the label says.

Cotton velveteen looks rich, breathes, and can be laundered although it never completely comes back to its original look. If you can tolerate the expense for a kid's costume, the less delicate silks (dupioni, for example) can usually be washed, too, although dyed silk  noil _cannot_. BTDT.

Add some rich trim (flat and stitched down firmly, or embroidered)  and a crown. Try the bridal section for a flower girl headpiece, or just twine some wire with beads or metallic leaves or flowers; wear it across the forehead unless she finds that uncomfortable or difficult to manage... A straightforward wreath of flowers would also be appropriate and they're usually for sale at the faire; reasonably cheap (for faire 8-) and a nice souvenir for a young maid.

Any props or accessories (a small curved sword, gloves, etc.) will probably end up being carried by Mom before the day is out, but will add to the characterization. Don't even think of a wig for faire.

Swords and bows may have special safety rules; check with the faire, and be sure to emphasize that she _must_ be courteous and careful with them, regardless of the rules or lack thereof.

Now, me, being the theatrical/performer person I am, I would talk to her during design and construction, about what Arwen would have been like as a child and how that influences why the costume looks as it does, just as I would with an actor and his/her part and costume for an actual theatrical production. It helps her be comfortable with the costume, it gives her some imagination practice (what is theater, after all, but an elaborate game of 'make believe'?), and IME kids get a tremendous kick out of being able to explain things like that to (clueless...) adults.

Also, for similar reasons, as much as possible let her help design and make the costume. She can at least help pick colors, and you can always let her choose between alternative design elements, all of which are acceptable to you 8-). She can probably help measure trim or cut ribbon, or even learn some hand sewing, although she's perhaps a bit young to use the sewing machine. (But then, I don't know your daughter; let her do what she's able to do. Supervised challenges are _good_ for kids.) That, again, makes the costume more 'hers', and lets her take more pride in it. "My mommy and I made it" is quite a different thing than "My mommy made it for me".

-- Emc^2

Elves may want pointed ears.  Check out our ear tips over in the hobbit section.

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This page was last updated 04/22/08