Fit For A Queen: Queen Rachel crowned in dazzling coronation

Published on Friday, 18 October 2013 23:12 - Written by By Coshandra Dillard cdillard@tylerpaper.com

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Tylerites and visitors were again dazzled by a two-hour production filled with pageantry during the 2013 Texas Rose Festival’s Coronation.

Queen Rachel Vanderpool Clyde ceremoniously began her reign, flanked by dozens of ladies-in-waiting, duchesses, escorts and attendants.

The audience was pleased with designs — from the costumes to the set. The event began with a salute to Winn Morton, whose creative flair has produced costumes and sets for the annual event for 30 years.

Costumes this year for each lady-in-waiting were more distinct from the others. All costumes were bursting with colors, jewels, props or lengthy trains. Headpieces also topped the heads of all of the women. Crowd favorites included the Planetarium, Full Moon and the Spider Web.

The costumes were sometimes coupled with special effects, including smoke, a glitter ball and thunder and lightning.

Guests also are familiar with and always impressed by the coronation’s signature performance: the ladies-in-waiting slowly dropping to the floor in elaborate or hefty gowns.

The event typically draws people from across the country, including Verdell Guiden, who ventured to Tyler from Natchitoches, La., just for the Texas Rose Festival.

“I loved it,” she said. “Everything was absolutely perfect.”

Cathy Montgomery, of Flint, brought her 7-year-old daughter, Sidney, to the coronation for the first time.

“It was impressive — the use of colors and textures,” Ms. Montgomery said. “They were very unique costumes.

Ms. Montgomery attended the event because it reminded her of another similar production from her hometown — Las Donas de las Corte in Corpus Christi, in which she was a duchess.

“I love the tradition,” she said.

 

THE DRESS

Inspired by one of the queen’s favorite things, costume designer, Winn Morton, began envisioned a costume designed to highlight her favorite color, blue.

It was created from royal blue silk and turquoise silk brocade. The gown is constructed over a large hoop skirt and petticoat. It is completely and solidly embellished by hand with many thousands of blue jewels and beads and trimmed with large aurora teardrop stones, as well as gold and crystal rhinestones. The front of the skirt features large embroidered blue roses, as a tribute to the Texas Rose Festival. The gown’s stately rose petal collar is encrusted with blue and crystal jewels.

Morton’s design for the queen’s train is 16 feet long and 6 feet wide on a foundation of 30 yards of royal blue silk satin, lined with turquoise and royal blue brocade. It also features 28 yards of blue and gold brocade, edged with gold braid, and trimmed with 28 white Canadian fox tails.

Queen Rachel’s train is highlighted with blue roses and gold lamé leaves. Five jeweled crowns of large aurora and crystal stones represent the five previous Queens from the Clyde family. They are trimmed with gold and topaz beads, resting on a base of blue and gold brocade. The coat of arms features a background of margarita crystal stones, with a jeweled monogram under a gold crown. The white halo above the crown represents the queen’s sorority. Directly beneath the coat of arms, the Roman numerals, LXXX, pay homage to the 80th Anniversary of the Texas Rose Festival.

Morton’s imagination was also the force behind the concept for the queen’s crown and scepter. These pieces were created from 14-carat gold and covered with more than 40,000 jewels.

The entire ensemble required the services of 16 artisans throughout six months.