All right, this is a fanart made with the dollmaker.
- I thought, for my Bianca, mainly of that catgirl in SAO Alfheim... the cait sith (cat shee) leader... Alicia Rue. Not to mention other dark-skinned blondes in anime, but mainly this catlike, flirtatious, perky, honey-eyed Alicia for a good reason. She (Bianca, NOT Alicia!) also has those wistful, chocolate-y freckles that add more mischief to her character design. Her twintails with odd ribbons are a reference to Harley Quinn, which continues in the laced corset (meant for ripping it open!) and puffy sleeves. As for the décollétage... that already explains itself, right? #ImSexyAndIKnowIt. (It's an eighteenth-century, risqué one, while the other ladies wear Victorian-style high collars). As a performer and a free spirit, she is allowed to wear brighter colours and show off more skin (neck, décollétage, limbs; maybe a little midriff when she dances) than Desdemona and Emilia. That wistful, perky smile and those tsurime eyes also reveal something of her personality. The red shoes are a legend of fairytale per se, recalling the titular Andersen tale as well as the Snow Queen and the Wizard of Oz (the MGM version, since they were silver in the novel), and the whimsy of these worlds so similar to our own.
- Most of the male characters are in the military, so I gave them a uniform with rank distinctives to explain who outranks whom. It's a timeless period uniform with influences from Westeros through eighteenth-century Prussia, passing through the Swedish brigades of the 30YW era. The basic uniform is a white shirt with grey doublet and scarlet trousers and black Wellingtons; above, there is a Prussian blue waistcoat. Officers wear a burgundy cloak and matching pockets on their waistcoats, as well as a sword on their non-dominant hand side (As you see, Iago -with the missing eye- is not wearing cloak or pockets to explain his status as a non-commisioned officer). In the case of Cassio, "that frilly little stripling," that lacy scarlet-white cravat and the burgundy cloak are a shorthand for his lieutenancy and aide-de-camp position. His peaches-and-cream complexion, lack of facial hair, and long messy titian-haired queue with that blue ribbon call to mind a slightly darker-haired Enjolras, as well as the Beast from B&tB as a human, and also a self-portrait of Yours Truly (Sandra Dermark). Cultured and refined, yet slightly boyish and immature; and at heart innocent and your average nice guy, the kind of person we would empathise with when he suffers.
- Othello's distinctives for his position as general are the golden flower-shaped cockade on his chest and the scarlet cloak (a brighter shade than Cassio's). His skin colour, café au lait... I chose that my Othello should not be bald (like, for instance, as played by Lawrence Fishburne) because then he would look like a Kinder egg. He would also look like Sam L. Jackson as Mace Windu, not to mention quite scary. Though he is a broken ace and a veteran warrior, my dream self wanted to make him at least slightly youthful and relatable. There are no battle scars on his face because they are on his chest and limbs, concealed by the uniform. An impeccable face and uniform to stand for that impeccable façade, while deep inside he's bleeding; that speaks volumes. His chest scar looks exactly like the one on Zorro Roronoa, if you are at least slightly curious (and he bares his chest and arms later on, when his sanity slips).
- Desdemona was inspired partly by the fair-haired primedonne who have played her at the Verdian opera, such as Kiri te Kanawa; and partly by an adult Cosette Fauchelevent (not to mention Odette in TSP). Adorable, blonde, peaches and cream... like Cassio, she looks innocent and friendly and kind-hearted, and like the kind of person we would empathise with when she suffers. The dress she wears here is actually a replicate of her wedding gown, which she kept as a spare should her original gown be ruined; with a cream-coloured doublet on top. She usually wears green brocade, for hope and fertility, when she is not wearing this gown. Her eyes are a greenish hazel colour, to compare with Emilia's dark chocolate and Bianca's honey, if you take a closer look (it's also a "green-eyed monster" reference and one to plant life!). She also likes wearing her husband's uniform coat and cloak, as he puts those garments on her to warm her during that night of love... but of course he stops doing it once he is corrupted. And, to get the picture of what she would look like then: that white gown and cream doublet end up all besmirched, torn and stained with mud and blood and tears. Needless to say the jewelled tiara comes off as well, and the silk flowers too; and those perfectly coiffed regal Titian-golden ringlets become a tangled, rumpled mess, like that of a troll, framing a bruised and brooding face. So this is definitely NOT Des post-handkerchief trick, but the pristine young newlywed.
- Emilia is darker and more catlike and down-to-earth than Desdemona; in fact, I thought of them as foils to one another, like Éponine to Cosette. She is wearing a modest maid's uniform (which is most usually worn and stained with mud, blood, dust... from both her chores and Iago's mistreatment; this is what a freshly-washed uniform of hers looks like in the morn), and her uptight bun of dark hair, the same dark chocolate colour as her eyes (curtains match the windows), may stand for all the feelings of rage and pain that she has repressed for decades. When she finally speaks out the truth, as liberal as the north, she unties this bun and lets her dark nutbrown Rapunzel mane free, to emphasize this as they hear her roar. She also tears off her then filthy, bloodstained apron in a rage and flings it into Iago's face, not even wavering as she is wounded.
- Iago's missing eye (that on the left side of his face is a lock of hair, not an eyepatch) is due to a headcanon of mine: when both of them were young, a ranker Iago saved his beloved CO Othello's life in battle, but lost his left eye in shoving the darker officer aside. Nevertheless, Othello contrived to persuade High Command to keep the now one-eyed Iago under the flag, and not discharge him. Disabilities can make or break or change a person indeed. In the Grimm story Brother and Sister, the Dark Bride stepsister who suffocates the bedridden heroine and steals her identity "had only one eye" ("nur ein Auge hatte" in the source text). According to Sigrid Dirnberger: "Ihre Hässlichkeit wird durch das Fehlen eines Auges zum Ausdruck gebracht". Notably, the missing eye ("das verlorene Auge" in the source text, "the eye she had lost" in the Margaret Hunt translation employed by SurLaLune) is something she cannot have restored for a successful impersonation of the heroine, remaining as a red right hand that betrays the stepsister's real identity and forcing her to conceal this stigma from her unaware husband, having "her lie on the side of the missing eye, in order to prevent (the husband) noticing anything" (-damit der Ehemann- nichts merken sollte, musste sie sich auf die Seite legen, wo sie kein Aug' hatte) under pretense of light-shyness. SurLaLune's corresponding annotation states: 37. [···] and had only one eye: Physical ugliness and deformity (although a politically incorrect term by today's standards) has long been considered a sign of internal ugliness, sometimes in fairy tales. Just as beauty represents inner goodness, physical ugliness is used to stereotype inner ugliness, especially in the literature of previous centuries. In male cases, like Horatius Cocles (ie Cyclops) or Mikhail Kutuzov or Odin, however, a missing eye is generally the result of self-sacrifice and an indelible mark of heroism. As for my Iago, being a queer male, and adding revisions of queerness to those of disability, I wanted to conflate the connotations of Odin/Kutuzov with those of the stepsister who had only one eye (nur ein Auge hatte). Like Elphaba's skin colour in Wicked, the eye my Iago has lost, the missing eye, is a deviant sign of identity seen as both a medal and a stigma. While Othello has no visible battle scars, it's quite obvious that Iago is one-eyed, and that for a good reason. Speaking of which, his facial features are inspired by sissy villains of anime (especially magical girl warrior anime) and vampires. When promoted to lieutenant, he wears a burgundy cloak with pockets and a lace cravat, like those Cassio had worn pre-demotion; as well as a real patch of crimson brocade on the missing eye as a status symbol.
- Roderigo is the only civilian male in the leading cast, a fop, and a socially awkward, shy young lover. His whole character is meant here to look adorkable and camp straight. The reason why he wears so much mauve and so much fox fur (including the pink leg warmers on his boots, not only his collar) is to catch Desdemona's attention, and also to be in vogue with the latest fashion. It all contrasts starkly with the uniforms of most of the male cast, to hint at his fop-out-of water status. The character is also inspired by his namesake in Babes in Toyland, where the Skinny henchman is called Roderigo. He is also supposed to be taller and lankier than the other men, and to wear spectacles on those innocent blue eyes to observe things closer. He also wears a queue, like Cassio, but his is a silky, thinner and longer lovelock (hanging on the left shoulder over the chest), not inspired by padawan but by ThreeLights, and also by 30YW-era courtly fashion. As written of the fop Aselges by Phineas Fletcher in 1633: His fashion too too fond, and loosly light:
A long love-lock on his left shoulder plight,
Like to a womans hair, well shew’d a womans sprite.