In Memoriam

**Contains Harry Potter spoilers**

As I’m sure you’re aware, in one week we lost two fantastic human beings, David Bowie and Alan Rickman. I am still reeling from it as they both hold huge places in my heart. As the weird kid in high school, I gravitated to Bowie’s fearlessness. The Spiders from Mars album got me through high school, and I’ve always been inspired by how Bowie managed to reinvent himself just as the cynics of pop culture would deem him irrelevant.

Rickman’s passing, however, hit me hardest. Maybe it was losing two icons from my childhood in four days, but I kind of wanted to stay in bed. Having a few weeks to think about it, I think the reason I was so affected was because of Snape. The Harry Potter series is one of my biggest fandoms, filled with some of the richest character development I’ve seen in a book series, regardless of the target audience.

I knew there was something more to Snape’s character when Harry discovers that instead of bullying Professor Quirrell into finding out where the Philosopher’s Stone was hidden, he was trying to intimidate him because Snape was, seemingly, the only one smart enough to figure out he was after Harry and/or the Stone. Oh yes, let’s not also forget that Snape was using a counter-curse while Quirrell was essentially trying to murder a child on a broomstick. If you read the books or watched all of the movies, you know that Snape is pretty much the hero of the entire story, and has the most heart wrenching dynamics with Harry (or as I like to think of it ‘The Boy Who Should Have Been His’). It’s because of the glimpses you see of Snape’s inner workings and his role in Harry’s growing up that really drew me to him.

So, I’m pretty sure that when I heard the news that Mr. Rickman had gone to teach that great potions class in the sky, I was thinking, ‘Snape really is dead now.’ Instead of staying bummed about it, I decided to pay homage in the only way I can. I designed an outfit inspired by Snape’s costume. I based the idea on the jacket and pants, sans robe. You see it best when he and Gilderoy Lockhart demonstrate dueling.

After gathering reference photos, as well as images of ladies jackets from the 18th and 19th centuries, I sketched out front, back and details of his costume to get an idea of the shape and construction. Analyzing the original, I knew I wanted to keep certain design elements in order to stay true to the design. It’s very simple, almost elegant, with minimal seams and darts. It manages to make his silhouette at one simple and yet so imposing. And of course, the sleeve flare – I had to keep that.


Sketching out ideas, I found it hard to maintain the simplicity. The gored skit, so reminiscent of the opulent frock coats of the 18th century, just begged for a lace or braiding detail. But it would have been in appropriate to tart up Snape. The two details I did borrow from historical reference were adding height to the sleeve cap and changed the hem to a ‘high-low.’ In truth, not sure if I’m sold of the harm change. If anyone would care to throw in their opinion, I’d love to hear it.

I also lowered he neckline to a narrow V-neck, instead of the closed Mandarin collar. I am firm believer of celebrating your decolletage without being ostentatious. By lowering the neckline, the collar is now altered so that the break is under the curve of the jaw instead of under the chin. The elongates the neck and draws focus to the face.

Finally I came to the pants, and I found no reason to change them. They are just too cool with the fitted leg and buttoned vent on the outside of the leg. I did come up with a variation for someone who might want to make this a bit more trendy. By turning the bottom half of the pants into legwarmers/boot covers, one could wear the coat as a dress.


At some point I’ll get around to draping this. I’m just not sure if I’m doing it in the near future, or if I’m waiting to loose some weight before I make it for myself. Although, if anyone is immediately interested in having one of their own, I’d be happy to start patterning this. 😉

Thanks for reading!

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