Harley Qwednesday :: the Bikini Speaks!

Over a year ago I posted some pics I found online of a custom Harley Quinn themed bikini...and it's wearer. The model/designer has since found Toyriffic and the post she inspired, and has agreed to an interview, because she's more than just bikini-stuffing! ;)

Tell us about yourself, Courtney, and your designs as well:

I am currently a second year student of costume design at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts but before that I studied all kinds of things, it's been a long and interesting road to self-discovery, maturity and the career I ultimately feel suits me and I want to do for the rest of my life. Costumes really are my passion above all else.

I was always interested in the arts, I have been drawing since I could hold a pencil and I love popular culture and history which will never cease to fuel my imagination and inspire creativity in me.  Seriously, I can't watch a movie, read a comic or play a game without wanting to make a costume based on one of the characters.

But it's not all fanart and cosplay, I do a lot of original work too. My art is mostly character design, I love creating elaborate costumes and backstories to go with them, there are so many that I have created my own little universe called the Leviathan project. It would take far too long to explain it all but basically all of the characters I have ever created live in this same world, they are all vastly different from one another because I've made them separately over the years with different ideas in mind. So it's fun trying to write connections between them.

Because of this I studied art and animation thinking a future in comics or character design in animation was the way to go.

I do enjoy that sort of thing but ultimately I realized it's a hobby not a career for me. I tended to be like that, I would love something so completely and intensely to the point of obsession but only until something else took it's place. That's not so much the case now.

But that art course was very useful, it taught all forms of art, including sewing and life drawing which I excelled at, that's when I made the jump to fashion design.

Now I had sewn a little bit in high school (which I had left in third year, it was a waste of time) and I enjoy customizing my clothes, at this point I was sixteen and my unique sense of fashion was beginning to emerge. I was well into cyberpunk and film noir, so my clothing reflected an interesting hybrid of those styles.

This was the perfect time for fashion and I to find each other.

I learned a lot in that course, the most important thing I learned was that my designs are 'too costumey' and that the business side of the fashion industry doesn't interest me at all.

This is when Perth had it's first comic convention, Supanova and my eyes were opened to a whole new world of cosplay. When I get dressed evey day there is a lot of thought put into it, there's a theme, a period or a character as my inspiration, but with cosplay I had the excuse to completely immerse myself in a character,  I also found the acting and modeling side to cosplay very appealing.

In highschool I made a silver trenchcoat inspired by the Matrix Twins and the Scarecrow's jacket from Scarecrow:Year One, while studying fashion I made a hooded vest much like Altair's in Assassin's Creed. But my first cosplay was Batwoman, which has gone through more remakes than I can count. I do love looking at it's evolution though. My next version will be more realistic, the ultimate goal of any of my costumes really.

At the first Supanova I met the 501st and decided to join, eager to learn more about costuming. The experience was...Regretable and I learned the ugly side of fandom and I realised that I hated what Star Wars and its fandom had become. (Star Trek all the way!)

Then I went off and made my own group Gotham's Finest which basically does what the 501st is supposed to do, that is help the community and entertain children. We have standards for our costumes, but we aren't as strict or as obsessive as the 501st. Most people wouldn't know your costume has less buttons on it than the real character or that it's made of a different material. as long as you look the part and it's clear effort went into it, we're happy.

So Batman has been one of my favourite fandoms for a long time, it probably started with the Justice League and The Batman cartoons and then Batman Begins, since then I've become something of an expert on the subject. I don't think there's an incarnation I haven't read or watched.

When I put things on the internet, like my work, I can never predict what will become popular. In the case of the Harley Quinn bikini and my Loki costume, I made a pretty significant impact, I've become known for my superhero swimwear and I'm the Loki expert to many aspiring cosplayers out there who need help on making one of the trickster god's elaborate costumes.

The inspiration for the
Harley Quinn bikini was an episode of Batman the animated series where Harley was in bathers, they were very average looking, my mind immediately started conjuring up ideas of what she should have worn instead.
My design process is typical of a fashion or costume designer, I start with a design, this is fully rendered drawing to give an example of movement, drape, proportions and colour, then I make something called a 'trade sketch' a detailed diagram of the garment with style lines and construction information.

My ultimate goal is to become a costume designer for films and television, I hope to move to London and work for the BBC, specifically on Doctor Who, which is filmed in Wales, my ancestral home. But for right now I will finish my course next year, focus on my business Costume Couture which I operate from my DeviantART and soon Etsy when the issue surrounding the business name is cleared up. My next appearance will be at the convention Wai-Con in January where I will be selling My Little Pony and Doctor Who related merchandise among some original works.

Thanks so much Courtney for your time and for all the awesome work you do!

Everyone: be sure to follow Courtney's DeviantArt page at http://pyro-the-maniac.deviantart.com/


  1. Some very cool costumes and a very pretty gal.

  2. Cool designs, specially Venom!

  3. Those are some really cool costumes. I love cosplayers.