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"Mrs. Melbourne" was a nickname attributed to a young Queen Victoria by her many doubters, due to her closeness to her first prime minister, and possible first love Lord melbourne. Their bond was forever scandalized by history. Recently, however, with the success of the BBC series "Victoria", starring Jenna Coleman, this complex relationship has been explored in a far fairer light. Indeed, just as her beloved Prince Albert taught her how to be a wife and mother, Lord Melbourne taught Victoria how to be a queen. Despite all the cynics who said a young girl could never preside over the world's greatest empire, Queen Victoria became know as the great grandmother of Europe. Her blood still runs in almost every major European royal family still in existence today.

 

This dress, inspired by this series and as a precursor to the Wedding Dress project, celebrates both youth and regality.

The yards and yards of shot cotton reflect and refract in a vibrant colour variation, resting lightly upon cotton petticoats. The lacing method at the center back features my own experimentation with corset closures, using eyelet tape to install quick and extremely neat lacing channels. The soft-cornered train is reinforced with a double-wide layer of horsehair braid, and falls symmetrically into a court-length train.

 

The desired overall impression is one of youth, optimism and the indefatiguable self-belief that makes Victoria one of the

characters of history that I find myself drawn to over and over again.

"A la Sultana"

Court-length Gown, c1835

 

 

2 Piece off-shoulder evening gown - Shot cotton plissé, peacock/sea green, with crushed texture - February 2017