Thursday, September 8, 2011

Gail Carriger in a Marigold Cocktail Dress at Reno WorldCon 2011

Photographed by the incomparably wonderful Vanessa Applegate

Saffron, Marigold, Yellow Gold, Bright Mustard, whatever you wish to call it this is a dress that only 5 or so years ago I would never have purchased. I was very much against yellow and orange, but particularly yellow. For no good reason, Fashionable Reader, I just was. I have a rather sallow complexion and I tend to feel that yellow makes me look jaundiced. In fact, this particular shade tends to make me a little on the pink side. Shocking in a freckled individual who can not blush.

Deanna Hoak, Eddie Schneider, Gail Carriger at the REno WorldCon Parties

Don't tell, but possibly the most shocking thing about this dress as that due to the nature of the scoop neckline, I cannot wear a bra with it. But the bodice is well lined, stiff, and structured, so I like to hope you can't tell. Initially I am very self conscious in such a condition, with a Rack like mine, braless is a near sacrilegious term. But it works.

This dress has become one of my very favorite. It's one of those on the long list of "save if from fire!" I can't remember where I bought it or how much I paid (knowing me, no ore that $50) and it has no label, but my guess would be late 1950s early 60s from the silhouette and pleating. However, the length of the skirt might push it back in time.

Of course, I have discussed gold previously, but this dress is such a different tone and style from the Flobért. Here is a little retrospective on the this color . . .

A dress for Alexia 1880 via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; 1939 Valentina dress via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; 1950s dress via Timeless Vixen Vintage
1956 Norman Norell ensemble via The Indianapolis Museum of Art

I like to pair mine with cream, and a little faus fur cape I picked up from H&M for $15 a few years back.

Here I am boosing it up at Reno (and a suggested scent for the occasion, Manderine Tea Perfume). It was Saturday party night so I went a little eccentric and paired the dress with my orange plaid glasses, yes, you read that right, and a velvet shell decorated evening hat my mother purchased for me from an auction for my birthday last year.

The label is very difficult to read but it think it says, ├Źnarthe 12, Rue de la Paix, Paris.

The peachy orange velvet is not a color that I have in my wardrobe, but it went well enough and I wanted to wear something a little outrageous for the big party night. Back to the cape. Adding it gives the dress a particularly reto feel.

Knit cape from 1964, and 1950s dress via Timeless Vixen Vintage

 Especially as, right now, this kind of cut (only shorter) is considered quite modern and the color is very on trend.

So, what to read with the marigold dress?

Sharon Green's Hellhound Magic, is the second book in her Far Side of Forever series. Sadly, the series was never finished (so far as I can tell) but this book has a satisfactory ending. It is written from the first person perspective of Laciel, one of the most powerful sorceress in existence, who is a bit of an unreliable narrator. Like many of Green's books the complex fantasy world (or, in this case, worlds) is interwoven with an equally complex love affair. It can get frustrating – if the two only communicated once in a while! – but I can't help but adore Rik and root for this shape-changer to win over his stubborn all-powerful love. You all know I have a weakness for big gruff shape-changers and the stubborn women they adore. I'm not saying my adoration of this trope is sourced in Green, but she certainly colored my formative High School years.


  1. Love the pics! Am finally putting together my own steampunk costume so that if I ever find myself in the vicinity of one of your parties again, I'll fit right in .

  2. At one point in time Madeline Vionnet had a boutique at 12 Rue de la Paix, Paris. I don't believe she ever made hats, but there's no reason why she wouldn't have sold those made by others…


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