SunLive – The Delights of Costume Designers’ Fantasy Masquerade Ball

Disappearing for a few days into a fantasy world of magic and wonder is the kind of weekend getaway that appeals to many who have navigated a grueling, whirlwind world of Covid.

Creating magic using a goblin throne, maze walls and an underwater spectacle was one of the highlights of 2021, a year lined with many other canceled events, and creators bring back.

Paul and Rozanne de Wild have taken the concept of theming to an exquisite new plateau in New Zealand with their Costumiers’ Fantasy Masquerade Ball which returns for its second year in just days.

The couple, their skilled crew and hundreds of cheering guests from across New Zealand and even Australia are now gearing up for the weekend’s event, to be held at the Millennium Hotel in Rotorua from Friday July 15 to Sunday July 17.

Knowing Paul and Rozanne since 2018, when I found Paul building a replica of Drogon in their kitchen and Rozanne working on corseted dresses, I was intrigued by this couple who not only won Armageddon Expo Cosplay awards, but who opened up a world of wonder. to so many others.

One of the attendees at the 2021 Costumiers Fantastic Masked Ball. Photo: Supplied.

“The concept of the Costume Designers Fantasy Masquerade Ball came about because Paul and I traveled to many conventions overseas, and on one of those occasions we ended up at Jareth’s Labyrinth Masquerade Ball in Los Angeles. “, explains Rozanne. “It takes place in a hotel for two nights, with the same kind of themes on both nights, but has seven different ballrooms.”

Floating from room to room, Rozanne says each room had a slightly different theme.

“One was a nightclub, another was dancing in a ballroom, another had magicians and storytellers. There were 7,000 people on both nights. It’s the ‘who’s who’ of LA and a lot other people, and anyone can go in. It’s absolutely magical.

One of the attendees at the 2021 Costumiers Fantastic Masked Ball. Photo: Supplied.

Two of the attendees at the 2021 Costume Designers’ Fancy Masked Ball. Photo: Supplied.

After that vacation, they then traveled to Atlanta to attend Dragon Con, the world’s largest multimedia pop culture convention, focusing on science fiction and fantasy, games, comics, literature, art, music and film.

“Dragon Con had 80,000 people a day, for five days, 24 hours a day. It takes place in five international hotels, which have air bridges connecting them all so you can move between them.

“We really enjoyed the interaction you get when you stay at these hotels. What we’ve found is that by staying there, rather than somewhere else, and then going to the event each day, you just have a deeper, deeper experience. It makes it more intimate, you can go back to your room, get up, rest or change your costume and right back there. And that’s magic.”

Two of the attendees at the 2021 Costume Designers’ Fancy Masked Ball. Photo: Supplied.

They went two years in a row with Rozanne wanting to go back, but when plans changed she came up with the idea of ​​creating a themed ball in New Zealand.

“I wanted others here in New Zealand to experience a bit of that pixie dust. If I could just grab a tiny bit of it, I knew it would still be magical. I managed to bring Paul into the whole idea.

One of the attendees at the 2021 Costume Designers’ Fantastic Masked Ball. Photo: Samantha Arthur.

Part of the concept was finding a suitable hotel to hold it.

“Unfortunately in Tauranga we don’t have any international hotels or hotel spaces with grand ballrooms. I know that’s something that’s missing here.

“So we chose Rotorua because it’s central, there aren’t a lot of people in the creative costume environment, and because we want people to experience a destination event and s immersed for a whole weekend.”

The Millennium Hotel turned out to be the perfect venue, with a large swimming pool, breakout rooms and a grand ballroom.

Two of the attendees at the 2021 Costume Designers’ Fancy Masked Ball. Photo: Supplied.

Initially, Paul and Rozanne planned their 2021 prom weekend to be a small boutique event, with plans to expand it in the future. The main ball would take place on Saturday evening with a small pre-function cocktail party by the pool on Friday evening.

“But the Friday night event refused to stay small. We called it The Creatures of Atlantis.

With mermaids in the pool and live music from local band Pow Wow, the ground floor area has been transformed into a magical underwater world with tall columns and pillars, blue lighting, special effects, a bubble machine and sparkly garlands. Even Rozanne gasped when she saw him for the first time.

Two of the attendees at the 2021 Costume Designers’ Fancy Masked Ball. Photo: Supplied.

“It was absolutely spectacular. It was as if you were underwater in this most incredible scene in Atlantis. People came in amazing costumes.

With their first event delayed a year due to Covid, that means Paul and Rozanne were able to create more props than expected. And participants have had more time to dress up, with many discussions held on their Facebook group over the past few months.

On Saturdays, a costume exhibition and craft market are held during the day and are free to the public.

“This year, the market will be held at the nearby Sudima Hotel,” explains Rozanne.

Two of the attendees at the 2021 Costume Designers’ Fancy Masked Ball. Photo: Supplied.

Saturday guests also have the opportunity to attend one of the two afternoon teas organized in the themed rooms on level 13.

Saturday night is the spectacular Masquerade Ball Fantasy, with the main theme based on the movie Labyrinth “because Paul and I obviously have an affinity for that”. Tauranga local Patrick Visser of Groove DJ’s will set the mood with iconic Labyrinth music as well as popular dance music from the 60s to today.

This year, Saturday night features a whole new area to explore, including the Time Travelers Ballroom, which will host traditional and historic dances led by dance teacher Fiona and her team with an orchestra. There is also a drawing room and a Victorian drawing room.

Three fiddlers will play throughout the Saturday night pre-function walk with dancers entertaining guests. Rozanne recalls the event last year when she arrived for the walk before the function and found it already packed with people.

One of the attendees at the 2021 Costumiers Fantastic Masked Ball. Photo: Supplied.

“And again, I just gasped, not at our theme but at these costumes! We dreamed that people would understand the concept. I mean we defined the idea of ​​what we would like, but our guests not only grabbed it, they exceeded it! It was amazing.”

The Mad Hatter, steampunkers, Edwardian and Victorian outfits, even Cruella de Ville showed up at their 2021 weekend.

“Essentially, it was like going to WOW without watching the people on stage; instead, you’re that person and you interact with those people. You’re totally immersed in that magical world.

Hotel reservations and tickets are in high demand, but it’s not too late to borrow, rent or create your own costume and come join the show.

For more information on the weekend’s event, go to www.cnzwildadventures.com

One of the attendees at the 2021 Costumiers Fantastic Masked Ball. Photo: Supplied.

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