Friday, July 27, 2012

Gowns and Beads and Tiaras, Oh My!

Warning: Very picture heavy post this time. Proceed with caution - and sunglasses.

So, where are we in our travels this time? These pictures are more that I took in Tyler, TX. Tyler has a long history with roses, and while my husband was in class, I took advantage of the opportunity to visit the Tyler Rose Garden with the other family members of the NACAT students. So did I post photos of lovely roses? No. It's July and full summer, folks. The roses really weren't at their best. However, I did get to spend some time in the Tyler Rose Museum. Tyler hosts a real Texas-sized Rose Pageant every year, and this museum honors that tradition. In order to be elected queen, a young woman does not have to be beautiful. She does have be rich. To qualify, a woman's family must be in the rose business, contribute financially to Tyler's success (quite literally), and be able to afford the gown and train, which usually run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Yes, you read that right - around $100,000 to $200,000 for the dress and train. The queen is elected in January and crowned in October. It takes that long for the dressmaker to design and make the dress. So, without further ado... (You may wish to click on the photos and view them in a larger format then come back and read about them.)

Some of the past queens have donated their dresses to the museum. Please note the photos lining every wall. Some are in black and white, some in color. You'll notice some of the pictures I took were of those photos themselves. Unfortunately, many of the photos were at ankle level and many were way above my head. That's my excuse for the very poor quality of my own pictures. But I tried. These are a small fraction of the dresses on view and in photographs.

Please note the embroidery and massive amount of beading over the entire gown and train.  
 Fur linings were very much in vogue. I hope it was fake, but I didn't dare touch it to find out!

The dress that goes with that incredible train. Again, the dress is entirely beaded. Can you say heavy?

 Examples of the clothes worn by the pages and court attendants.

 More queenly dresses.

 Many pink poodles gave their fur for this train! Just kidding! I hope...
Sorry for the flash, but I was astounded by the ruffle that went around the entire train. Talk about fluffy looking!

 A close-up of the fairytale castle on this dress.
 I rather liked this one.
 Look at all of those tails! Again, I hope they were fake!
Oh, my! Believe it or not, there were several dresses featuring unicorns. This was the only one within picture taking range and was, in my opinion, the best done. As you can tell, the original photo was well above my head, thus, the awkward angle.
 Double swans! And very pink!
 Ah, one of my favorites. Just wait...
 Yep, there he is... the March Hare. Feel like a trip into Wonderland?
 Speaking of frothy looking ruffles...
It was impossible to take a good photo of this dress. If the glass wasn't reflecting my light, the beads were. There is no material visible on this train except in the three-dimensional flowers you see at the bottom of this photo and in the next three. Everything was heavily beaded.

 A very interesting train. I wish I could have seen a more detailed photo of this one.
 An incredible peacock. I actually loved this train.
 What a gorgeous blue color!

I know this is a lousy photo, but I had to show it because it is so unique. These trains usually weigh over one hundred pounds. This girl was small and had the lightest train of any I saw in person or photo. Most of it is this beautiful lace that you see on either side of the central satin rose panel. Her dress was also a simple white sheath. Very elegant and very light. What a bright girl.
 And for the patriotic...
 The official crown of the rose queen pageant.
 A few of the crowns and scepters chosen by past queens.

 This green set is my favorite!

This crown is the only cloth crown. Cloth! Amazing. I like to think the smart girl in lace wore this one. Who wants to be so encumbered that one cannot even walk? Oh wait... almost every one of the girls pictured!

On a final note, the girls are required to make their way unassisted down a long staircase and bend to their knees on the floor, bowing until their heads touch the ground, then rise unassisted as part of the ceremony. Anyone else think they might need a crane for that particular maneuver? No wonder beauty is not a requirement for this title. It seems that strength and weight lifting would be far more valuable than mere looks!

I hope you enjoyed this little beaded jaunt down pageantry lane with me. Until later (bowing with my forehead touching the ground), happy sewing!


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