We have always been incredibly inpired to create art and costumes from both The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. The world created by J.R.R. Tolkien and realized on screen by Peter Jackson has almost become a second home to us. The wondrous worlds of elves, humans and dwarves, really awesome! So detailed and well created. It provides us with lots of material to put our love and creativity into. We have made quite a few replica’s and had a lot of fun doing it. Next to making those, we were also inspired to create our own designs in the same style for Tharnduil’s wife, whom we called Vanya Ithilwen.


Mirkwood Queen Ithilwen Moonlight Moth dress
This was the second costume we made for our Mirkwood queen. Beautiful Moon a.k.a. Vanya Ithilwen.

As you can read with the Moon coat, she is not only a part of the forest, she ís the forest. We imagine that animals feel at ease with her. Our version of the queen of Mirkwood is feminine, strong, feisty, protective but at the same time gentle to anyone who is close to her heart. A beautiful shining being like the moon she is named after.

We wanted to bring back the moon and night theme in this costume in any possible way. For starters in the use of colour; cobalt blue like the night for the basic dress and silver and grey to represent the moon. We let ourselves be inspired by the world of Tolkien like Peter Jackson and Weta Workshop realized it in the movies, the costumes of Arwen and Galadriel and the design of Mirkwood. We went for a slightly Eastern feel, with strands of beads on the dress like you can see on dancers. You can imagine it surprised us a lot when, after designing this costume, we watched a special on the Hobbit dvds about developing Thranduil and found out that they too had looked for Eastern influences for this.

Since we love butterflies and moths so much and the fact that animals are attracted by her and her shining presence, we chose for the theme of moths for her, next to the moon and the night. The costume consists of the following parts; a blue velvet dress, an antracite overskirt like the dark side of the moon and another overskirt of grey chiffon for a nice seethrough effect.

Attacted to this chiffon skirt is a train of shiny silver fabric, representing moon beams. At the top of this train there’s a hand-made beaded orchid, which, according to the movie documentary, is the favourite flower of Thranduil. Long chiffon sleeves give the costume a stately yet transparent appearance. On the chest; an application of a moth (using the same fabric as the second verion of Thranduil’s silver coat), with on top of that a grey layer and finally a layer of painted lace fabric. On top of that, an outline of a moth made of cut out real leather painted silver. Under the leather, layers have been cut away to unearth the first layer of silver/gold again. Attached to this butterfly are several strands of beads in various colours of silver, white and cobalt blue. At the end of the middle strand, a little Swarovski moon that can also be found twice on the belt. Lastly; the belt (made of the same Thranduil fabric) that we are especially proud of, using the same thechnique as we used on the chest piece; a moth in various painted layers and a silver leather moth cutout with antennas made of silver Miyuki beads.

The design of the moths is quite sharp and pointy, with shapes you will find back in the movie’s Mirkwood designs. Attached to this belt, on the parts of the wingst that stick out, are long strands of pearls in white and silver, Miyuki beads and Swarovski bicones and elements, complemented with nice quality glass beads. We also used real stones, like on the Moon coat, to give her yet more character; round mountain crystal beads, rutile quartz crystal (mountain crystal with threads of pyrite in it) and Lapis Lazuli (blue with gold). The belt itself heas been decorated with painted lace (white lace, painted in various shades of grey and silver), applied like pointy vines. In between these vines, accross the belt, you can find Swarovksi hotfix rhinestones in three and four millimetres and all phases of the moon. These moons are made of the same fabrics that we used in the dress and two layers of different type netting. On the backside of the belt, under the full moon, you can find another set of long strands of beads that go as far as the silver train.

We think that Thranduil, with his fondness of jewels, would overload her with jewels of all possible kinds. This is why this costume is so rich and shiny. Shining like the highly coveted starlight and moonlight. On top of it all; we put a web of fragile silver chains on her arms and chest, with a moth resting in the middle, on her chest. The moth is designed and created by us and is highly detailed, also on places where you wouldn’t look for it, like its belly. In her hair she wears a hand-made big moth, a circlet that on the forehead has a Swarovski element, little chains that start from the wings of the moth. On the wings of the moth you can find moons too, which is a hint to our Ithilwen ánd to several real moths that truly have that feature. To top the costume off; a bag in the shape of a crescent moon to put little items in when we for example visit a fair in our costume with hand-painted lace moths and the same fabric that we used in the costume.

All in all it’s a very elaborate and complicated costume that we are quite proud of. This costume was not a commission and is worn here by Sanne.
Mirkwood Queen Ithilwen Moon coat
The first design that we made for Vanya Ithilwen’s wardrobe, which means Beautiful Moon in Elvish. Star- and moonlight is important for elves and the moon as a symbol means a lot to our studio.

When the second movie of the Hobbit trilogy came out, the Desolation of Smaug, we were introduced to the gorgeous wardrobe of Thranduil, king of Mirkwood. We were instantly so inspired by this character and all of Mirkwood’s design, that we wanted to do something with it. It didn’t let us go and thus Ithilwen cam into being. Because, what would the mother of Legolas and her wardrobe have looked like? Since J.R.R. Tolkien’s books have given her no name we chose a name ourselves.

That’s why, in 2014, we designed this costume, to match the well-known coat that Thranduil wears on his throne and in the scene with Thorin Oakenshield. With Thranduil’s coat, the emphasis clearly lies on the male lines whereas Ithilwen’s coat has very feminine shapes and lines. The piping we used in her coat is made of the fabric we used for the first version of Thranduil’s coat. The colours for her first costume are shades of silver, grey and brown, just like Mirkwood and Thranduil. Later, to give her a personal touch, we added white and red.

Of course we had to make a crown and jewels too. In both the books and the movies, it is suggested that Thranduil (and his realm) are different from other areas where elves live, that he is more attached to Middle Earth than other elves. One could conclude that he is not only the king of the forest, but the forest itsélf. To symbolise this, we gave Ithilwen a wrinkeled changeant taffeta lining, brown with a black hint, that looks quite a lot like tree bark.

The fabric for the coat itself is grey with silver details like flowers, branches and grass, since she too is part of the forest. Both fabrics are rich and catch the athmosphere of the movie well.

Her crown, like his, is an Autumn crown, but in this version the colours are various shades of brown and white, painted using several techniques. It is decorated with elderberries in different stages and lilac aster flowers (also painted to give the the perfect colour). The crown, necklace and brooch are just like she is; strong, feisty, sharp like her knives yet elegant. A woman to be considered. A branch for necklace, designed like Mirkwood and a brooch on her chest, also made of branches, with a piece of white calcite as a gem (where Thranduil has a piece of pyrite) that symblolizes moonlight and clarity, femininity and softness. White calcite is a gemstone that, according to natural medicine, works motivating, boosts self-esteem, vigour, firmness and gives hope and courage. Precisely traits that we would give this character.

This costume was not a commission and is worn here by Sanne.

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