Has it already been a whole month since we started on the magical quest to create vintage inspired Studio Ghibli garments from some of their most iconic films? Where has the time gone, it’s like it just flew away. Speaking of flying, this month, we will be drawing our inspiration from the 1992 film, ‘Porco Rosso’. In Italy in the 1930s, sky pirates in biplanes terrorize wealthy cruise ships as they sail the Adriatic Sea. The only pilot brave enough to stop the scourge is the mysterious Porco Rosso, a former World War I flying ace who was somehow turned into a pig during the war. As he prepares to battle the pirate crew’s American ace, Porco Rosso enlists the help of spunky girl mechanic Fio Piccolo and his longtime friend Madame Gina.
For this instalment, we will be drawing our inspiration from the two main female characters in the film, Gina and Fio. As this film is based in the 1930’s, many of the costumes already have a vintage flair to them so I will simply giving them a bit of a twist. Let’s start with Madame Gina; an opera singer and the owner of Hotel Adriano. She is an original character for the film and she doesn’t appear in the manga The Age of the Flying Boat, which the film is based on. Gina is a well respected person in the community and due to her kindness and respect towards others, she is protected by the wider community and no fighting or attacks during the war are aimed towards her. She is a very strongly willed individual with a soft spot for Porco Roso and a bit of a love interest in him although she would never make the first move.
She wears a few different outfits throughout the film and many of them definitely have strong 1920’s vibes which reflect her youthfulness and sense of fun and joy. When it came time to choose an outfit to redesign for Gina, I chose her soft lilac garden outfit. It consists of a large collared top with puffed sleeves, cinched waist and a belted waist, and then a skirt worn underneath. I wanted to turn it from the 1930’s design to a more 1950’s by making it out of a soft cotton, adjusting the sleeves and the collar, and altering the shape of the skirt. I also thought that by turning the entire outfit into a simple dress instead of staying with two pieces, it might make the outfit a bit more interesting. That was about the last thing that actually worked out before construction started, it all sort of went down hill for Madame Gina from here. I began by ordering a very soft lilac coloured cotton only for a strong light purple to arrive. I did think about buying plain white cotton and dying it myself but we were under a bit of a time crunch and I knew that many people wouldn’t be happy with the final results and we hadn’t even started cutting anything yet.
I toyed with several patterns and found it difficult to find a vintage collared dress pattern where there was no buttons fastening the front. Eventually I settled on Butterick 6055 which I had never attempted before. It didn’t go well, I didn’t realise I had run out of interfacing so for the collar I just cut out another piece of fabric. I had a bit of problem understanding some of the steps and it wasn’t until it was finished that I saw that I had done wrong so the collar is completely wrong. I’m honestly really let down by this dress attempt. I feel the dress looked better in my head and the pattern wasn’t what I was looking for, it was all just wishful thinking. If I ever decide to do a redemption, Gina is at the top of my list. For styling, I wore this dress with purple gloves and a large hat to match the original character design.
As I was so disappointed in how Gina’s outfit turned out, I thought I would quickly whip together a Fio inspired outfit to help make up for my failed sewing attempt. Fio is the main female protagonist in ‘Porco Rosso’; she is an intelligent, friendly young aircraft designer that had recently moved from the US to help with grandfather’s company Piccolo S.P.A to cope after the Great Depression. She was responsible for most of the plane design repairs after she persuaded Marco Pagot (Porco Rosso) to give her the job of fixing his machine Savoia S.21. She was almost handed over to Donald Curtis when Marco and he were fighting one on one in aerial combat. At the end of the movie she becomes good friends with Gina and she takes over the company.
For most of the film, Fio wears a shirt that is white with sky blue lines (or a blue shirt with white checkers) and jeans. She accessorises by wearing pearl earrings and sometimes a little straw hat. This outfit is super simple and I had most of the things I needed already in my closet so I didn’t have to reach for the sewing machine at all. I opted for a 1950’s style tie up blue gingham collared top from Turning Heads by Carolina, a pair of vintage inspired Katherine pants from Vivien of Holloway and of course, pearl earrings. I hope this simple Ghibli-bound look is enough to make up for my failed Gina attempt.
I feel bad that it’s only the second month of this project and I’ve already dropped the ball. I did have a lot happening in my personal life but I am disappointed in myself for not pushing through and making this instalment as good as it could have been. I’m promising you that next month will be much better. Keep an eye out on my Instagram as I will be dropping clues as to what the next project will be.
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