So I drew a white dress Ginger Rogers wears at the end of Swing Time some time ago, and I never liked how it came out — I drew it a couple of days after watching the movie without much reference, it wasn’t well done to start with and my scanner washed it out. So it’s one of the dresses I always told myself I’d redraw, and then it got to be the number one image on a Google image search for “ginger rogers swing time” and in the second row for “swing time” and people started e-mailing me about how to reproduce it. How embarrassing! The skirt on the old dress didn’t look like it could hardly move, and it was so pale it was like not even a dress at all. Some nights, if the dress takes more than an hour it just isn’t happening, and this must have been one of those nights… Finally, I redrew it tonight, using this video of Never Gonna Dance. You can still see the old drawing, and I’ve got a link to it at the other blog post too, but I like this one much better. Thanks to a reader recommendation I’ve got another Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire movie waiting for me to watch it, Follow the Fleet, so I’m looking forwards to that!
In the final book of the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn, Bella and Edward get married. Bella, whose parents are divorced, has never really seen marriage as a desirable life goal, doesn’t want people to think she’s pregnant and she worries about branding herself a desperate, vapid girl insistent on getting married right out of high school. Certainly nothing says “commitment” like forsaking humanity and spending eternity with someone, so what’s the point of a wedding? Old-fashioned Edward, however, wants to be married, and Bella comes around to his point of view, starting to consider it natural and happy for two people in love to be married, and to heck with the gossips and disapproval of society and her family. She keeps thinking of Anne of Green Gables, of the simpler time she associates with when Edward would have been young, of the high-necked blouse and long skirt she would wear.
Bella guesses that the inspiration was from 1918 when she sees her dress, Alice replies more or less and Liana tears her hair out. Here I thought we were using an Anne-centric timeline, but only in the miniseries did Anne get married during the First World War — in the books, Anne got married in 1890, according to this page, and WWI was her daughter Rilla’s turn as a heroine. So what does Bella’s dress look like? Victorian-style clothes play a large role in her fantasy of simple romance, and she says, looking at the dress, that it’s just what she imagined. Yet, a dress from 1918 probably wouldn’t have that Victorian high neck, or maybe not even the long skirt. It must also be noted that 1918 is when Edward was transformed into a vampire at the age of 17, so a dress from this age would probably appeal to him more than something his mom would have worn. 1918 would also be about right, if Bella’s mother, who thought the gown looked like something from a Jane Austen novel, was a hundred years off. Then Alice was stage-managing the whole thing, and I have a really hard time seeing her send Bella out in an unfashionable wedding dress. No one does high necks anymore, not even LDS members going for modesty, and long sleeves seem to be relegated to the Éowyn look. So what exactly do we have here? An Anne-style 1890 gown with puffed sleeves? A streamlined, more fashionable but still modest 1918 gown? A modern dress with vintage touches? I’ve been trying to decide for the last week.
So yeah, at this point I think I may have pondered the dress — possibly overthought the dress — more than the author, and it’s been maddening. Maybe it’s like the prom dress: however you see it is right. (Witness the range of Twilight wedding dresses on deviantart.) That means I’m going to stop trying to come up with something perfect and just go with a pseudo-1890s gown, taking Bella at her word that she wanted to dress like Anne and got her wish. But you could just as easily assume that Bella only saw the miniseries, so maybe I’ll draw a 1918 gown too, another day. Trying to combine the two — yeah, I got some pretty funny sketches out of the idea, but I think I’ll pass. In my sketches of this dress, she has her hair down and even though it’s old-fashioned, it’s still romantic and sweet.
Now, I happen to know my mom edited this revision of this dress, and therefore it had to be drawn, because my mom’s awesome. I think I ought to ask her to design me dresses more often when I’m feeling unimaginative! She’s also more dangerous with the Prismacolors than I am – she does absolutely gorgeous drawings of flowers and plants on cards, then sends them to people. She jokes that you only get to come to her funeral if you got a drawing from her. Here was her description of the dress:
A sunflower yellow bodice,green peplum with a beyond floor-length skirt done in blended colors of harvest. The hem is heavily decorated with a matching line of Celtic designs in dark blue, with golden accents.
The neckline is decorated with very small dark gold and blue accents, with tiny sparkling swarovski crystals and blue pearls in the center. The waist is decorated with a slim swirly golden pattern and small crystal beads, and the skirt is draped, cascading down to the floor.
She also has a pair of long dark green gloves that reach halfway up. The back of each hand is embroidered with harvest and Celtic designs. On her feet are soft blue satin slippers.She also has a subtle webbed crystal frill tiara (worn front-to-back)with dripping tiny blue seed pearls. Around her neck is a matching crystal and single pearl necklace.
I guess you have to imagine the satin slippers, and there wasn’t enough space on the glove for a harvest design, but I think this came out really nicely and hopefully close to what Mom was imagining. This is one where I wish I could show you all the original — the harvest colors on the skirt are a lot prettier on the real thing. It made me decidedly twitchy to finish coloring the skirt, then draw patterns all over the hem, but it worked, I think!
Here’s two more Boutique wedding dresses — I waited until too late to start drawing tonight. I’ll have something more interesting tomorrow, I bet.
If you haven’t seen it yet, RLC just started a paper doll blog, Paper Thin Personas with some great black-and-white outfits. So between this one, Annissa’s blog and 19th Century Paper Dolls that’s a pretty good collection of paper doll blogs, and even if I’m boring they’re not!