The Champagne Nebula: Part I of The Gowning

The closet of my 34-year-old self is my inner six-year-old’s ideal version of her “dress-up chest.”

Due to a lack of storage space in our apartment, I share my closet with my roommate Jess. This is great, because the number of crinolines and shipwreck skirts and bustled black satin things has increased, like, 300%.

Roommate Jess, AKA "The Goblin Queen," who is the only one I know who can combine Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses with corset, antlers, FitBit, and Greek Goddess sea-foam shift, and make it look... cool.

Roommate Jess, AKA “The Goblin Queen,” the only one I know who can combine Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses with corset, antlers, FitBit, and Greek Goddess sea-foam shift, and make it look… cool.

So. To the point of this blog.

Just over a week ago, the SFWA announced the Nebula Award nominations, and my novella “Bone Swans” was among them. It’s not anything I’d looked for; it didn’t occur to me to hope for it–the whole notion is still extraordinary. Anyway.

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There’s this Awards Banquet!

And my beloved Carlos Hernandez (author of The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria) will accompany me. And he TOLD me, with a green twinkle in his twinkly green eyes, that I could dress him AS I PLEASE!

…Perhaps I shall do a WHOLE SEPARATE POST on that, because WHOA FREE REIN!

(What happened the last few times he told me I could dress him up. Tee hee.)

He’s so adorable.

 

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I can’t stand it.

 

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But I’ll keep him.

 

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Because, suspenders.

As for myself.

Really. I have all these gowns. And sometimes I dress in red-velvet-with-train JUST to go GROCERY SHOPPING. There is a sad LACK of OCCASION to wear pretty things as often as I’d like.

For the Nebula Awards Banquet, I was just going to go through my mighty, magnificent, utterly over-the-top, Looney Tunes-operatic-level-of-thrift-store decadence wardrobe, and choose one of  the many things there.

Typical Go To the Grocery Store Gown... Just kidding; I probably had a reading at the library or something. To which 2.7 people showed up.

Typical “Go To the Grocery Store Ensemble.” Just kidding; I probably had a reading at the library or something. To which 2.7 people showed up. BUT THEY WERE THE RIGHT PEOPLE!

 

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That’s right. Those are BETSIE WITHEY flowers in my hair!!! You’ll find out about those presently.

But.

My other roommate, the one who is NOT poet/writer/editor/artist/shipwreck skirt-and-black-satin-bustle-mermaid Jessica P. Wick, just happens to be an ARCHITECT OF SILK AND PEARL, a textile artist and expert free-style embroiderer, an Etsy business owner and a general über-wunder-MARVELWOMAN!

Roomates Jess (left), in Shipwreck Corset. Betsie (right), wearing some flowers she made.

Roommates Jess (left), in Shipwreck Corset. Betsie (right), wearing some flowers she made.

 

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Betsie and I went to The Breakers mansion today, in Newport, RI to gawk at the gilded cherubs and the marble everything. Twilight fell on the Cliff Walk as we walked, the Atlantic ever to our left. I wore a Betsie flower on my hat.

Yeah.

Basically, what I realized is…

I live with frikkin Betsie Withey.

She made this:

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And this:

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And this!

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AND THIS!!!

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That’s our friend Caitlyn Paxson modeling. She’s a poet, storyteller, novelist, editor, and singer/songwriter! We love her.

You can find Betsie’s Tumblr here.

And her Etsy shop, The Faerie Market, here.

I live with Betsie Withey, gosh darn it, and today I FRIKKIN COMMISSIONED HER TO MAKE ME A GOWN!!!

A long time ago, I had this random dreamy idea for something called “The Champagne Gown.”

It was just a vague notion of a glittery pink and gold thing. In my head I wore it barefoot for no reason at all. Just traipsin’, ye ken?

But now I have a reason. And I have a pattern. (Vogue something something, size 18–in case you were wondering.) It looks like this:

That's the basic pattern anyway.

That’s the basic pattern anyway.

Today, before we went to visit the Vanderbilts’ “Summer Cottage” in Newport, we went up to Warwick, RI to Jo-Ann Fabrics…

And we picked out the pink and gold materials and embellishment bits for the CHAMPAGNE NEBULA GOWN.

Showing here:

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It's like wearing a certain sort of sky.

It’s like wearing a certain sort of sky.

I sort of view Betsie’s part in this gown-making adventure as the SARTORIAL EQUIVALENT of living with Tita from Like Water for Chocolate.

Betsie Withey pours herself into her creations. Her attention to detail, her lavish love of textiles, her glowing colors, her fantastically detailed embroidery, the happiness she derives from making other people feel beautiful–oh, she is SPLENDID!

I am so proud and excited to have embarked on this collaboration with her. And by collaboration, I really mean…

She does all the work. I do all the wearing. Ahem.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “The Champagne Nebula: Part I of The Gowning

  1. ilsabazaar

    Very happy for you. Thank you for reminding me about fabric and dresses the color of the sky. My first visit to your blog. I found it via a link at Uncanny magazine.

  2. Pingback: The Champagne Nebula: Part II of The Gowning | C.S.E. Cooney

  3. Pingback: A Not-So-Typical Friday Night in Westerly | C.S.E. Cooney

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