The royal court for the 78th Texas Rose Festival shined literally and figuratively, as they graced the stage in elaborately designed costumes, which represented this year's theme, “Grand Illusion.”
From fairy tales and sprites of water to butterflies and elves of the forest, ladies in waiting and duchesses told a story of magical escapes while nearly every stitch of their attire sparkled with stones or glitter. Each member of the court was presented to the audience just before they took a meticulous, yet graceful bow.
“It was beautiful, seeing all of the dresses and all of them all together at the end,” said Juana Reynoso, who brought her 7- and 5-year-old daughters. “They loved the sparkle of the dresses.”
“We enjoyed it very much,” she said. “I think it shows good support for the rose industry and that people take pride in being the rose capital of the world. I think that's great.”
Among the highlights of the evening included three-dimensional, computer- generated visual effects that complemented certain tales. Moving trees, rustling water, lightning bolts and fire were backgrounds to some of the fantasy tales.
The coronation performance culminated when Morgan Elizabeth Rippy, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Reed Rippy, was presented on stage and crowned queen by Texas Rose Festival President Thomas B. Ramey III.
Her royal attendants were Caroline Elizabeth Lofquist, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Barry Dean Lofquist, trainbearer; Anne Elizabeth Thompson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Rex Thompson, trainbearer; and George William Rippy, son of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Bradley Rippy Sr., scepter bearer. Royal attendants who portrayed “Butterflies” were Ellen Winston Ferguson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Winston Ferguson Jr.; Grace Elizabeth Gordon, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Charles Russell Gordon; Katherine Elizabeth Neal, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy P. Neal; Olivia Louise White, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Bennett White IV; Vivian Burnett-Engeron Willis, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Patrick David Willis; and Olivia Bristol Young, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Young Jr.
The queen's gown is fashioned over a hoop petticoat and is constructed on a base of silk organza. Embroidered netting with silver flowers and topaz-colored leaves is layered over the silk fabric. Gold sequin netting with gold embroidery is gathered into two tiers, revealing a white iridescent ruffle encircling the hem and enhanced with white silk roses and topaz leaves. The leaves are appliquéd onto gold lame fabric and decorated with hand-applied topaz rhinestones; and the roses, with crystal and Aurora Borealis rhinestones.
The fitted bodice is made of white beaded netting and has a deep V waistline in front. White iridescent sequin cloth covers the front of the bodice, which is trimmed with elaborate crystal and bead braid. The sweetheart neckline is defined by white and silver scallop lace trim, enhanced with crystal and AB stones, and a single white silk rose in the center. Aurora Borealis teardrop jewels fall from her neckline, each one attached with a crystal bead. Three white silk roses, along with topaz/gold leaves, adorn each shoulder of the gown. Teardrop jewels peek from below the roses. Hundreds of round and pear-shaped mirrors were applied to the bodice and peplum by hand. A gathered white organza ruffle, with rows of silver and gold hologram sequin trim, finishes the edge of the peplum.
Queen Morgan's 15.5-foot train was constructed on a base of white silk taffeta, overlaid with white iridescent sequin cloth and netting embroidered with silver flowers and topaz leaves. They form the background for hand-beaded motifs, such as the three jeweled golden keys that symbolize that Queen Morgan is a third-generation member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, and the three-dimensional gold lame bow and streamers. Each letter in the queen's monogram is outlined with crystal rhinestone banding, Aurora Borealis rhinestones and bronze bugle beads. Each of the 72 rays of the starburst is individually hand-crafted using silver and bronze bugle beads and rhinestone banding. The end of each ray of the star hosts a large AB teardrop jewel. White silk roses, hand-made gold lame vines and leaves, various sizes of mirrors, iridescent and hologram sequins, and crystal rhinestones further embellish the train. The leaves are appliqued onto gold lame fabric and decorated with hand-applied topaz rhinestones. Many yards of white sheer organza was gathered and decorated to form an iridescent ruffle which encircles the hem of the train.
Tom Newbury and Tom Sanden, of Dallas, designed and produced Queen Morgan's 12-inch-tall crown. It is made of 22-carat gold with 44,000 Austrian Aurora Borealis crystals. The gold and crystal scepter repeats the triple-key motif.
LADIES IN WAITING
Ladies-in-waiting who represented “Elves of the Forest” were Molly Claire Richey, “Alvie Leafglimmer;” Ravain Marie Owens, “Odelina Grottoglisten;” Jessica Lynn Hart, “Erlina Cricketflutter;” Anna Mildred Pollard, “Elgiva Dewdazzle;” and Alisa Danielle Carney, “Alura Mossdancer.”
Ladies-in-waiting representing “Sprites of the Water” were Alexandra Nicole Hembree, “Lilybelle Silvermist;” Maggie Grace Williams, “Rilla Rainshimmer;” Anne Claire Cowan, “Elodie Reedshimmer;” Samantha Brooke Thompson, “Nixie Willowtingle;” Karson Ann-Marie Payne, “Nissa Brookglimmer;” and Olivia Whitney Jacobi, “Niada Gladeglisten.”
Ladies-in-waiting who represented “Sylphs of the Air” were Sarah Allison Smith, “Carita Moontwinkle;” Kelsey Elizabeth Tullos, “Ariella Magicdust;” Paige Alexandra Scholler, “Celinette Snowdazzle;” Lauren Taylor Smith, “Cerylia Cloudglimmer;” and Molly Claire Cook, “Azura Starsprinkle.”
Duchesses representing “Folk & Faery Tales” were Emily Patricia Boyd, “Cinderella,” Duchess of Hunters Grove; Lindsay Elyse Marsh, “Heidi,” Duchess of Memorial; Jenna Anne Lindley,” Thumbelina,” Duchess of Harris County: and Julia Kathryn Eads, “Beauty and the Beast,” Duchess of Sherwood Forest.
Duchesses who represented “Opera & Ballet” were Savannah Sue Terry, “Christine Daae,” Duchess of University Park; Kathryn Patricia Hageman, “Sugar Plum Faery,” Duchess of Clear Lake; Eliza Shelby Smith, “Cleopatra,” Duchess of Olmos Park; Charlotte McHenry Blount, “The White Swan,” Duchess of San Antonio; Macon Howard Blount, “The Black Swan,” Duchess of San Antonio; and Charlotte Frances Cooper, “Firebird,” Duchess of Alamo Heights.
Duchesses representing “Film & Literature” were Hannah Elliott Robinson, “Hermione,” Duchess of Hunters Creek; Jennifer Shana Brown, “Bollywood,” Duchess of Prairie View; Grace Adele Waters, “Jack Sparrow,” Duchess of Fort Worth; Rebecca Elizabeth Linville, “Spider-Man,” Duchess of Houston; and Brittany Ann Hildebrand, “Princess Fiona,” Duchess of River Oaks.