Empress of Everything

by Erin on September 10, 2006


Advance 6826

Many thanks to Jennifer for sending me this link from Fuzzy Lizzie. (Click on the image to visit the store; it's B33 and $17.50.)

Now, is it just me, or is this dress just pining to be made in silver Lurex and worn by some interstellar empress? Preferably one played by Cate Blanchett?

I mean, if I were the costume designer for the as-yet-untitled Cate Blanchett SF epic that would best set off this dress, I'd make four or five of these, in different Christmas-ornament colors: silver, gold, bright shiny white, garnet red, and that peculiar electric blue that only shows up in SF movies and for three weeks before December 25. I'd make the skirt longer, almost ankle-length, and they'd all be worn with matching scrunchy spandex-topped cap-toed boots, with an odd-shaped low heel. (You can't have The Future, much less The Future in Space, without funky boots.)

Cate could sweep through the bright-white sterile corridors of the spaceship, trailed by flunkies with no eyebrows (no eyebrows also = future), barking commands and dispensing expressionless justice on miscreants & shoving them out airlocks.

I see the plot as being an update of the Christopher Columbus story, with Cate Blanchett in the Queen Isabella role. You see, Future Columbus (played, if I had my druthers, by Dominic West) is a troublemaker on the ship (which, by the way, is a generation ship, taking hundreds of years to reach a new planet for colonization). He believes he can find a better planet than the one they're headed for, and thus have landfall in their lifetimes. Mostly to get rid of him, Isabella agrees. It's either this or shove him out the airlock. This is all complicated by the fact that they are (of course!) lovers, and she knows that she will either never see him again, or, because of the vagaries of near-FTL travel, be an old, old woman when he returns. He goes and finds the planet … but it's inhabited. Columbus thinks that not only can they all just get along, but that it will be super-wonderful-great to have such neato neighbors. (Kiera Knightley plays the otherworldly-beautiful alien woman on Planet X, of course.) He returns to tell everyone the news about the new planet, and incidentally, to say I TOLD YOU SO. Bittersweet scene with now very aged Cate Blanchett. Lots of arguing back and forth — do they stay the course or break for new planet? Cate Blanchett decides to go for new planet. Cate Blanchett (in dress above, made in black) dies of old age before landfall. Dominic looks very, very sad.

Everyone lands on the new planet, to find it deserted! Pretty aliens all dead, from microbes brought by Columbus & Co. Dominic now EXTREMELY sad.

The only thing I'm stuck on is: how does it end? Is it a horror thing, where the ghosts of the original inhabitants haunt them? Or is it more drama-y, where Columbus realizes maybe being Mr. Hothead Right About Everything wasn't worth it in the end? Or something else?

If you have ideas, let me know, because this whole thing needs to be made JUST so that this dress can be in it. Some people build their mental movies around actors; I build them around costumes …

Oh, and sorry for the double post yesterday; Blogger got the hiccups. I made it drink water from the far rim of the glass and eat a spoonful of dry sugar and then try breathing in a paper bag, but nothing worked. (Also, it's impossible to startle Blogger out of the hiccups. I've tried.)

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

marcia in austin September 10, 2006 at 6:28 pm

I think you forgot the opening sequence, in which an aged Columbus is speaking to his nearly grown child about how they came to be where they are. Flash back to the story. Then at the end Columbus encounters the woman who will be his child’s mother. We understand of course that he enters this union out of the stark need for the community to survive and procreate, and that he carries a deep ache in his heart for Cate. All very bittersweet.

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Hecate September 10, 2006 at 6:28 pm

Love the back, but the front needs to be lower cut.

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lsaspacey September 10, 2006 at 6:43 pm

But what does Kiera Knightley wear?

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Carol September 10, 2006 at 7:06 pm

The drinking from the far side of the rim cure for hiccups triggered a funny memory for me. My sister had told me about that procedure when I was a young girl, but she also said you should have a person hold your ears closed while you pinched your nose shut and drank out of the far rim of the glass (I guess all the distractors are supposed to help). One night my best friend from high school was sleeping over after we had gone out drinking. We both had the hiccups, so I told her about the “cure”. We both tried to follow the whole procedure without help – holding one ear closed against one shoulder, holding the other ear closed with the opposite hand’s thumb, and pinching our noses shut with our index and middle fingers while drinking from the far rim. Seeing each other go through these contortions, we laughed so hard, we both peed on the kitchen floor and had to mop and sanitize it.

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Yin Yee September 10, 2006 at 7:29 pm

Hmmm…. this dress didn’t give me any futuristic-space-shipy feel at all. Instead it reminded me of The King and I, especially if it were made ankle length in shimmery metalic fabric. I can imagine this dress being regally worn down the dark wodden corridors of the Siamese palace!

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Anonymous September 10, 2006 at 8:45 pm

Forgive the aside, but, Carol, are you saying that peeing on the floor cures hiccups?

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arabellaesmerelda September 10, 2006 at 9:39 pm

The now very sad Dominic Columbus carries the frozen, black Lurex clad body of Queen Cate along a lonely, windswept stretch of Planet X. It seems her loyal subjects could not bring themselves to dispose of her remains via the airlocks besides, no one could agree on who would inherit Cate’s fabulous wardrobe.Post-genocidal Planet X scenes are shot in black & white. As the ship’s Scientology Chaplain eulogizes the deceased Queen, the camera pans back to show a row of silhouetted figures along the horizon, following a robed figure..ooops, wrong film! The camera zooms in on a grief stricken Dominic (dressed in a black stretch velvet tunic with a low cut lace ruff, leggings and lace up knee high suede boots). He tosses a handful of earth onto the queen’s titanium clad coffin and slowly turns back toward the ship. Suddenly the sky is shot with crimson and tangerine swirls tinged with fuschia. Dominic spins around (and in so doing his attire creates a stunning contrast against the psychedelic sky) and sees a huge Pheonix, who looks remarkably like Kiera Knightley, rising above the burial site. She explains that the combination of Columbus’ cursed microbes, titanium and the remains of the peace loving inhabitants of Planet X have formed a redemptive soil (not unlike retin-A) which will restore Cate not only to life, but to her youth as well. Kiera has done this out of her love for Columbus. (Go figure.) Anyhow, it’s apparently a one-per-customer deal. The Queen now rises from the earth wearing Advance pattern 6826 made from a rayon brocade with a shimmering – actually vibrating – pattern in chartreuse and viridian green. As Dominic falls prostrate before his now radiant queen, she arches a nonexistant eyebrow and steps over him with her scrunchy spandex-topped cap-toed boots saying, “Youth is so wasted on the young.”. As she returns to her ship, with the camera fading, she ponders her box office profits and the possibility of a sequel.

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john September 10, 2006 at 11:14 pm

not sure how it ends but i do think that they make shelters out of all the dresses-

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kleptosquirrel September 11, 2006 at 12:54 am

Keira Knightly appears in a leather and metal outfit that gets artfully torn during the obligatory chase/fight sequence, of course. Rival faction wants to kill Columbus? Columbus (not wanting her to be eighty years old when he returns) wants her to go but she won’t leave? Plenty of opportunities for fan service here…

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Jennifer September 11, 2006 at 8:27 am

I heart this post. Nothing to add otherwise.

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Anonymous September 11, 2006 at 10:57 am

I dunno. This dress doesn’t scream space opera to me. Mostly because my first thought is “If the false gravity field fails, a person wearing a big fluffy skirt is f*cked.”It is a gorgeous dress, though, and the only thing keeping me from snapping it up is the Bust 33 and the fact that I’m dead broke from spending way too much money on Renaissance Festival crap–I mean garb.–Lydia

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Anonymous September 11, 2006 at 10:57 am

Keira Knightly and Columbus had exchanged vials of blood after a romantic interlude a la Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob before Columbus leaves Planet X. The generation ship has a cloning machine, just in case the skipper or chief engineer get snuffed before their times, and with the ship’s cloning machine, Columbus creates, oh, about 150 each of Keira and Cate, because Columbus figures, hey, if one Keira and Cate are good, 150 each can only be better. However, Columbus doesn’t factor in the jealousy generated by 150 Keiras and Cates, and the sheer jaw-grinding volume generated by all that smack-talking. This devolves to hair pulling and a general mussing of green and yellow lurex costumes, and Columbus is forced to dump all of the Keiras and Cates out of the airlocks because he can’t get them to stop fighting or arguing, which is a shame because now there aren’t any female characters wearing fancy lurex costumes.Columbus returns to the DNA machine with a new strategy. He creates a combo Keira-Cate clone who, with the proper administration of bi-polar medication, becomes his perfect lifemate. With the medicated Keira-Cate clone on his arm, clad in a midnight blue lurex gown (Yea! the return of lurex!), Columbus drops the ship’s regeneration bomb on the planet, turning everything all leafy and pink. The remaining residents of the generation ship elect Colubus and the Keira-Cate clone king and queen and everyone lives happily ever after.

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Anonymous September 11, 2006 at 7:17 pm

used to play dressup in a sea green shot taffeta almost this pattern–the surplice neckline was a little lower cut, with a curved underbust seam–the surplice ended in this seam with soft gathers. An attatched netting underskirt, of course, and horsehair braid at the hem…

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sewinggirlfromtheothersideoftheowrld September 12, 2006 at 2:04 am

Love your imagination girl. Especially lurex/Cate Blanchett fantasy . But it’s sooo last century. In the future I think we’ll all be wearing some sort of opaque plasma thermo-adjusting force field and project whatever colours/patterns we want onto it. Maybe like an interstellar mood ring made into a suit….

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silverlight September 15, 2006 at 2:13 am

I used to wear dresses much like this one. Women’s clothing was so much more elegant then.

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La BellaDonna October 5, 2006 at 2:14 pm

Pssssst! Erin! The pattern’s been sold!And I should know; I finally broke down and bought it.Yes, there will be laughter and merriment a-plenty as I resize this pattern to contain 8″ more bust than it was meant to. :P With luck, the Dress A Day faithful will not hear me cursing on the East Coast.Believe me, folks, the dress will feel completely at home with me, and I will take very good care of it (says she, musing on the possibility of black leather and silver lam).

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code promo juive March 29, 2014 at 1:43 am

I wanted to thank you for this wonderful read!! I absolutely
loved every bit of it. I have you book-marked to look at
new things you post…

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