Sunday, March 7, 2010

And the Award for Best Austen Bride Goes to. . .

Hello TEA Friends,

On the eve of the biggest night in Hollywood, we visited a cream-colored carpet event at Somerset Mall in Troy. Showcasing some of the most beautiful period wedding dresses in their "Hollywood Brides Unveiled" exhibit, the highlight for any Austenphile are the bride dresses from the movies: Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park and Emma. In addition, it may be the closest some of us will ever get to the sleeve of the quintessential Mr. Darcy, Colin Firth.

The exhibit, which runs now through March 21st, displays wedding dresses worn by some of the most famous Hollywood actresses, including Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet, and designed by the top names in movie costuming. The dresses are part of the vast collection of John Bright, the Oscar -winning designer from London.

The dresses are remarkably petite, some almost doll-like, and all are off-white, the reasons for which, according to the collection spokesman, are twofold. First, bleach was not used in the time period most of these films are set and, secondly, in movies, white simply does not film as well.

The Austen fan will not only delight in seeing Frances O'Connor's dress from Mansfield Park and Gwenyth Paltrow's delicate gown from Emma, but will take pleasure in viewing some of the gents' attire as well. Among the male apparel is Alan Rickman's , as Col. Brandon, distinguished uniform and, yes, the aforementioned cut-away coat of Mr. Darcy.

Although for a time, it may seem like one is in a museum, there are perks to taking in such a display in the middle of a mall. After my daughter, Rachel, and I circled the exhibit several times, reading and rereading the costume notes, we, as proper Janeites, were ready for a good cup of tea.* Bidding Elizabeth and Fanny adieu, we took the escalators back to Macy's third floor and enjoyed choosing from an impressive selection of Revolution tea. Although it wasn't loose tea, it was, as in Jane's day, held in a tea caddy and presented to us with as much ceremony as one may expect from a snack counter cafe. An interesting boutique tea, with silk sachets and appealing miniature-boxed packaging, we sampled an orange-chocolate green tea. With a lot of flavors competing in the cup, none was overbearing - a subtle mixture of citrus, cocoa and tea to top off the afternoon's activities.

So, dear TEA friends, join me in a round of applause for tonight's Oscar's, Jane, and tea. With that combination, we're all winners!

Yours in TEA and Friendship,


*Don't forget Austen/Tea fans, Barb's TEA Shop will be presenting an "Austen-tacious Tea" at the Troy Museum and Historical Village, April 29th!