In Final Fantasy VII, Shiva is one of several fearsome creatures that are condensed into unique, one-of-a-kind red summon materia. Summon materia can be equipped by a qualified individual utilizing a specialized materia slot in their weapon. In the original game, Shiva's materia is gifted to Cloud after he rescues a young girl in Junon; when summoned, Shiva casts Diamond Dust, an ice-elemental spell which attacks the summoner's opponents. In the remake version, Shiva's materia is entrusted to Cloud after he defeats her in combat; when summoned, Shiva fights alongside her summoner's allies, attacking enemies with Icicle impact and Heavenly Strike before using her final Diamond Dust attack prior to departing.
Shiva has always been my favorite summon creature; I chose Shiva as my cosplay name years before I even considered making a Shiva costume. When I finally decided to make my cosplay namesake in 2007, I chose the Final Fantasy VII version which was my second favorite Shiva design at the time. Since the original game version was lacking in details, choosing this version allowed me to take some artistic license with the design. I started with a light teal unitard bought from NYC Dancewear. Using a bucket in the bedroom of my apartment, I hand-gradient dyed the arms and legs of the unitard using dark teal RIT dye. I then decorated the dyed areas with glitter, puff paint, and hand sewn teal and silver beads. For the hands and feet I bought two sets of fake press-on nails and painted them with a silver glitter polish before gluing them to the costume with jewel glue.
For the bikini I used a heavy pink casa satin that was speckled with silver glitter and self-patterned the top, creating four panels to form a halter which fastens to the unitard at the back using plastic snaps. The bottoms were also a self-patterned three-panel design that snaps together at the right hip and at the crotch. I embellished both the top and bottoms with silver snowflake appliqués. For the side “trains” I used a sheer shimmery pink fabric from the costume section of Joann’s which has a green sheen to it, perfect for my color scheme. Each panel is a large rectangle which is sewn to the bikini bottoms in a knife pleat that causes the fabric to flare out at the sides, and each are decorated with several silver metal rings. The “wings” which are supposed to be floating pieces of fabric, are made from industrial wire I bent into an upside-down dragonfly shape and covered with the shimmery fabric. The wig is a 42” teal behemoth which I gathered into a high ponytail and wrapped in fabric and decorated with silver hoops. I threaded glass beads through several strands of hair every few inches, which were pulled into the ponytail and hang down the back. The ears are plastic and bought online, which I then painted teal and inserted hoop earrings into. The face paint is Ben Nye Aqua mixed with Clown White, and the accent gems are attached with eyelash glue. Overall, I really loved how this costume came out and it was quite comfortable to wear, all things considered. For the time it was considered well-done, but it did not age well and I've wanted to redo it for a while. With the recent release of the remake version, I'd like to do a new version of this costume which is closer to the remake concept art, whose color scheme is closer to the original than the final game version.