Friday, 28 April 2017

The Inspiration: In the Garden of Versailles

It all started in 2009 when our business sponsored a show at the St James Theatre in Wellington. They needed some classical water fountains to help transform the concourse into the Gardens of Versailles, where their show would take place:

The Affaire of the Diamond Necklace

My husband brought home two complimentary tickets, telling me that it was 'recommended' that we go in costume. At first I thought that he was joking: if you know my husband, you'll know he is the last person on earth to don high heels and a frilly bib. But it seemed we would be very bad sports if we didn't.

We visited Totally Frocked, a wonderful treasure chest of costumes with a passionate staff, who jumped on the bandwagon and found us two perfect costumes. My husband was dressed in white stockings, black breeks, glittery gold jacket and waistcoat over a white shirt with a frilly 'bib' stock, and said high heels. My costume was a pink cotton/linen robe and stomacher in one, complete with gold frills and lace, and panniers. I pulled out my wedding dress for the underskirt, bought a lacy little push-up number and we were going to the ball!

As Richard's hair was at a horrifying length of glossy red curls, we didn't go down the powdered wig road, nor did he let me anywhere near him with the makeup. As for me, I declined the matted wig on offer at the costume shop, and instead did a little You Tube research, finding a great little clip on how to do an authentic 18th century French 'Do' and had a go at it. Honestly, my head still felt bruised weeks later, but I had a lot of great compliments on it which made the pain all worth it. Well, nearly.

I have to say, still in my memory as the most embarrassing moment of my life was getting into the car when we were leaving and a commuter passed at that moment. I tried to dodge into the car in time, but the cheerful toot alerted me that they had spied me in my glory and my rosy cheeks were not completely due to the period makeup I had applied!

The evening was so much fun, with everyone in costume. This was the first costume event we had ever been to, and it was great to meet a bunch of strangers who came from all different walks of life, enjoying the same entertainment. The most fun part of the evening was actually taking a breather outside the St James at midnight in the heart of Wellington's night life, alongside half a dozen others likewise taking a break from the 18th century dancing, and receiving all kinds of responses from the passers by as they jumped from one night club to the next.

It has taken me eight years to finally get to a point in life where I can basically waste time and money on a hobby that is completely selfish and pointless. I have been enjoying the Outlander series, and was impressed with how lovely the costumes were that Terry Dresbach has created for the actors. Happily getting into the swing of wasting time, I did some research, decided on an era to begin with and dived head first into my newest passion: sewing historical costumes.

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