Costume Design for YouTube Webseries Malcontent’s Lab!

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Hey y’all,

A few months ago, I was commissioned to create an original design for a new webseries. I designed,  created a pattern for, and constructed a custom steampunk-inspired lab coat for the titular character in the new YouTube series, Malcontent’s Lab for actress Alana Jackler this past summer. Designs were bounced around and around, playing with elements of the late 1800′s, as well as Futurist aspects. Over the course of about 5 weeks I designed, constructed, and finished this giant job and you can see the process below… Malcontent’s Lab is one of the many shows on the YouTube channel, ScifiRiot.


Alana Jackler in Malcontents Lab

Alana Jackler in Malcontents Lab

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The coat took approximately 22 hours and the process included preliminary sketches, merging sketches and then a final sketch was approved.

My sketches for the coat

My sketches for the coat

Document- Document-malcontent sketch1

So the sketch on the bottom left was the one picked, yet I would include a purple tulle underskirt to soften the hardness of the coat and also to convey a little fantasy in the character.

2. The next step was drafting the pattern! I did a simple bodice design with a full circle skirt and then chopped one side of the front bodice and enlongated the other. This would give that asymmetrical center front and create the palette for those leather straps and buckles you can see in the drawing.

3. Construction/sewing!

The pinned bodice pieces

The pinned bodice pieces

The bodice with the open skirt pinned

The bodice with the open skirt pinned



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The finished product :o)

The finished product :o)

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A LAST MINUTE ADDITION: a little M emblem, she beckons the idea of a superhero for herself



Spring / Law & Order SVU Sketches

Photo: Jessica Lynch

Photo: Jessica Lynch

I’ve got Spring Fever, cabin fever, what have you. I want outside time asap!

Here are the finished drawings I did for a Season 14 episode of Law & Order SVU:

Copyright 2013 Desira Pesta

Copyright 2013 Desira Pesta

DesiraPesta_SVUsketch2 DesiraPesta_SVUsketch3

A Year in Furs

Call it winter blues, call it writer’s block, I have been been working less in the last month after the holidays than usual.  These moments of less activity kind of bum me out, but I think I am winding down from a crazypants year of hyper-activity! I have to remind myself what I have done because whenever I am feeling “lazy”, I mull over my past projects in my mind and go, “Oh!, right, I did that.”


That refers to my being cast as Ann Marie, Ashley Greene’s rival in the ABC pilot, Americana, using my own designs to portray a fashion designer. The pilot was sadly not picked up, but this was my first opportunity to be able to showcase my two loves, fashion and acting.

On Americana with my designs!

On Americana with my designs!


That refers to my first theater production with my old theater company, Homebrewed, back in April-May, which I served as stage manager & actor in.


That also refers to the completion of & performance of my first full length play, Crystal Atlas, at the end of May


That also refers to the completion of a one-act play, Yess, Texas, which I also made 9 costumes for (my Spring 2013 Collection) and performed with my new theater company as part of Williamsburg Fashion Weekend.




That also refers to the wood-nymph photoshoot I held with one of my best friends of said collection in the woods where I grew up.






That would also refer to the fact that I got cast as a featured wife of a warlord in one of my favorite director’s, Darren Aronofsky’s, newest film, Noah. I got to be a part of the amazing experience of this biblical times feature complete with mud, rain, and amazing sets galore.

Me on Noah

Me on Noah

 To be continued…

S/S 2013 Show // Photos Galore!

Little Blue (Military) Dress





A look inspired by Janis Joplin…and Aladdin

The Vest Alone… Red Velvet & Brass Studs

A Unique Draped Wedding Dress with wraparound waistline… 20 hours of work, man.

Zee Back Complete with Train

Shoulder Detail

Little Pink Peter Pan Collar Check Print Dress

Little Cutie

Far & Away 

Baby Got back

A Little Grace Kelly

A Little Closeup

Wraparound Waist

A Hendrix Inspired Buttondown with Embroidery/Studs (15 hours of work, man)


Closeup Baby

Back Attack

C’mere, Gorgeous!

W o m e n    o f   t h e   2 0 ‘ s . . .

Mae Murray:

Billie Dove (best name ever):

Marion Davies:

Gone Blond

Lilian Gish:

Greta Garbo:

Louise Brooks:

and who could forget,

Clara Bow:

Gorgeous, timeless, and so utterly worth emulating. ;O)

Hot Tin Roof

It’s summer, it’s time for watermelon, ice cream trucks, sweating, and good vibes… and sweating.  Today was one of the hottest days we have had here in NYC in a long while and I spent it from 5am-3pm working on my seventh day as prostitute on Boardwalk Empire in the 96 degree heat.

My Father Said I Look Exactly Like My Grandmother Here

Le Legs

We thankfully had a wonderful air-conditioned set with Al Capone, boobies, cigarettes, and loose women, but I biked home at 3pm in full makeup and hair, mini shorts, a tank top and combat boots.  I got some stares from the local Bed Stuy residents, but made it in one sweaty and slimy piece.

2 Hours of Sleep, Man!!

I actually enjoy extreme heat and sweating.  My parents used to think I was insane in high school, when I would take off to Lake Scranton to run around the lake on the hottest days.  There is something so alleviating and releasing about sweating immensely as long as there is nearby shower use afterwards. I stopped by Home Depot after awaking from a nap and almost everybody was buying an air conditioner.  One man had SIX fans in his cart.  NYC is unbearable in the summer sometimes between the constant closeness of people and the concrete everywhere. I rigged up my air conditioner to work and although it’s precarious and I dropped some books out of my window while trying to put it in, it’s cooling off my living room where I sit presently.



Playing: Inspiration in (Historical) Pop

I recently completed half of a full length play based on The Doors. I performed it with some stellar actors last month and we are going to film it and hopefully produce it at the end of June. With that said, I spent months doing research on the Doors, Jefferson Airplane, the late 1960′s and that period in music in general.  I have seen every documentary ever made on the Doors and some of them more than once.  It was amazing. It all started in December when I went with my folks up to the Woodstock Museum in Bethel Woods after Christmas.  The emotional experience I had there, coupled with my love of that time in music combined with my love of dressing in Southeast Asian jackets and necklaces exploded into a play that I am very proud of.  Here’s a shot:

Cat Cabral, Desira Pesta, Alan Braunstein, Cameron Moir, Delaney Smeal

Half of the cast

Cat Cabral, Desira Pesta, Alan Braunstein, Cameron Moir, Delaney Smeal

Here are some freaking amazing photos of some sweet fashions on some even sweeter rock stars:

Jimi, etc.



Country Joe & the Fish

The Mamas and the Papas

Jefferson Airplane

Ray, John, Jim, & Robbie

:o) Can’t wait to share more of the play, the film, and photos ;o)


Anybody else feeling really weird energy these days?  It’s been strange here in NYC.  Can’t quite put my finger on it, but I feel like a light is out.  Yesterday I was working in this creepy warehouse doing this freelance project and I was all alone with just a couple of spotlights on.  I put on some creepy music to further creep myself out and after I finished the project, I decided to go down into the even creepier-crime-scene-from-a-horror-movie-looking basement with my cell phone as illumination.  Big mistake.  I walked not even five feet and bam!, I slammed my head hard on a low pipe and was knocked to the ground.  Thankfully, I was not knocked unconscious because no one would have found me. Shit.

In efforts to avoid going to sleep and dying if I had a concussion, I went to see the newest Zac Efron movie playing up the street.  I brought my sewing machine as my date and saw the matinee, head throbbing, but feeling nice against the theater seat. The theater was whack and the overhead lights kept going on and off and the only other couple in the theater kept tallking audibly, but The Lucky One, shot in Louisiana was super cute. I now also like Zac Efron, who I had never seen act before and who I thought might still be a teenybopper with a squeaky voice and no chops.  He was actually good, charismatic, attractive, believable, and an alright choice for a leading man.  Taylor Schilling, also adorable  was an ugly crier, but earnest, strong, and mature.  Neither of the stars seemed like obvious Hollywoodleading people, in my opinion, and so I liked that.  I liked that they seemed a little off-kilter, not too pretty, too mesmerizing, or too out of their element in the roles they held.  Taylor, as Beth was a young mother and manager of a dog kennel flanked by sleepy Southern trees, barefoot in the kitchen, running with 6 dogs in the early am.  Zac, as Logan, was a traumatized former Marine, bent on finding the woman who’s picture he found while at war.  A weirdo “drifter”, he walked everywhere with his dog Zeus and was a borderline homeless man.  I believed it.  I think the thing that often takes me in movies or tv shows is, do I believe them?  Did I believe that High School Musical pretty boy Zac left the Marines harmed and broken and was a destitute loner and hard-worker who didn’t talk or smile much? Yes.

I loved the Southern scenery amidst cypress trees, ponds, and a gorgeous dog kennel plantation.  Nicholas Sparks loves boats and romance.  Romantic feelings = boat. In The Lucky One, there were two boats, a rowboat for that quintessential, “we-are-finally-realizing-our-feelings” moment, and there was a tugboat representing Zac Efron’s committment to Taylor Schilling, his fixing it a sign that he could be counted on, even after being banished from the picture.There were some weird parts, as most huge Nicholas Sparks-penned romantic movies tend to have, but overall it was a nice story with a bad guy, strife, and hearts ablaze in the end. I also thought that Blythe Danner as Taylor Schilling’s grandmother was great casting. They look very similar.  No matter how much I’d like to pretend I don’t like this kind of movie, I can’t.  I avoided The Notebook for years, but totally watched it like 4 times over after finally seeing it.  This shit is candy and I have a sweet tooth. I rolled my eyes a few times, but come on, love stories are nice to see, especially when there’s so much sad in this big world.

Now, I hope my head feels better.