Saturday, July 12, 2008


I haven't had a call for a lady wearing a bustle in ages, so when I received this assignment, Runaway McBride, by Elizabeth Barton, Berkley Books, for a woman wearing a beautiful bustle ball gown, it was an ice change from the string of Regencies I've been doing. Costume history note: 1870s were the era of the bustle, an enlarged, padded under structure that protruded out the back, emphasizing the rear, but also giving the upper body a lean look by contrast. Corsets helped with this part,of course. By contrast the Regency women's fashion was emulating the ancient Greek look of unstructured simplicity, moving the waistline high, just under the breast and allowing for long, flowing folds below. I think it would be interesting to bring back the bustle, but I can't see it happening in todays world of cars, elevators and computer desks. Maybe at some gala occasion it would be quite a departure.
Enough about fashion! I was very pleased with the way this image came out. It was one of three I submitted. I wanted the girl to stand out an be featured, but also for an design element to flow behind her. In this case a William Morris inspired design was used and seemed to work well with the period and pose.
I want to thank photographer, Shirley Green, model Lauren Delollio and costume designer, Sharon Spiak for their great help in making this image possible.
Please leave your comments!


Elizabeth Thornton said...

I love your cover illustration for THE RUNAWAY MCBRIDE. I am the author - Elizabeth Thornton - NOT Elizabeth Barton. This is my first venture into the victorian era - my previous 24 books have all been set in the Regency period (three in the Georgian era). I love the full illustration [including her head which they omitted that on the actual book cover - I guess that's just a design decision!).

Faith McBride might have worn such a dress to a ball but as a teacher in 1885, her dresses unfortunately, would have been a lot plainer and would not have had a bustle.

I'm so glad I happened on your blog. Thank you!

James Griffin said...

I am so sorry for misattributing your book! Often, as in this case, I'm not given much information about the book, like the author's name and details about the main character. I believe they chose to have me put her in a fabulous dress was for marketing reasons. Sometimes beauty does win over accuracy on book covers, at least as far as sales are concerned. I really hope you book does well and I'm equally glad you found my blog. Thanks for writing!