In Photos: A Cosplay Fantasia at DTLA’s Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball

Over 5000 fans of both the classic, 1986 Jim Henson film ”Labyrinth” and intricate. elaborate fantasy cosplay overtook the Millennium Biltmore in Downtown L.A.

Over the weekend in Downtown Los Angeles, the veil between worlds once again became thin, with the mortal and faerie realms bleeding into one another. This occurs for two nights annually, in August when the Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball is held, as its 24th edition was at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel on Friday and Saturday nights. 


The grandiose event was established by art director-producer Shawn Strider in 1997 when he asked himself, “What if the ball in Jim Henson’s 1986 fantasy classic Labyrinth was real and held in Southern California?”—and then threw one in San Diego for about 150 guests. It has grown year over year, moving around to New Orleans and Santa Monica, and stands now as one of the largest masked balls worldwide; about 5500 fans of both the David Bowie-Jennifer Connelly-led film and elaborate fantasy cosplay were in town from across the country and abroad to take part in the always-sold-out event.

Since 2003, the mythology inside Sypher Art Studios’ two-night event has become far more elaborate, with a continuing storyline that evolves each year and takes place over the entirety of the first two floors of the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. Taking place in the Court of Sypher—established within Labyrinth as an area where mermaids, goblins, knights, and all other sorts of fey creatures exist—the ball is a place for mortals and fairies to…well, basically, throw a big, swanky party with one another. 

With thousands of participants in elaborate gowns and masks swanning between four ballrooms and an expansive outdoor area, LOJ, as it’s known to its megafans, rivals even the balls of Venice Carnival in its splendor. While many guests, like the crown prince of fantasy couture, designer Bobby Love, spend months on one-of-a-kind fantastical costumes to delight and amaze revelers, the ball is open to anyone with an open heart—and of course, black tie apparel.

Next year’s ball is a long 12 months away, but you can soothe your soul with these photos from this year’s event.

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