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Dresses by Francine

As seen in
The dresses and gowns crafted by Francine are unique, and no two dresses are the same. Each gown is custom-made for the individual. Francine weaves magic into each of her gowns for enhancement and style.
 
Enchantments and Enhancements
  Francine spends many hours working on the magical enhancements of each dress to suit the customer. This is from increasing the apparent size of breasts to the narrowness of the waist. Though she uses the design to assist in this aspect she still uses the magic to enhance.   These enchantments are all interwoven into the lace as she crafts it. The lace on the gowns is her signature. Though every gown is individual and unique, the pattern of the lace is similar, depending on what enchantments are used.
 
Lace
The lace for each dress is crafted specifically for that dress. There are some used as accents for cuffs and hems while others are complete overlays on the dress itself. Though no one knows where she gets the material to craft her lace, people are willing to travel from all lands to see her and have custom gowns made.   The lace varies from clear to any colour that enhances the gown. When Francine uses clear lace it grants a shimmering presence to the gown.   The signature lace crafted by Francine is finer than any other lace. The threads she uses are less than a millimeter thick. Though her lace is so fine it is amazingly strong and resilient. The lace is so strong once it is completed it is nearly impossible to cut, because of this fact Francine's lace never tears when caught on obstacles. She likes using a flower motif for most of her lace since it works well with the enchantments for enhancing the beauty of the wearer.
 
Style
  Francine does not stick to any particular style and at times will design a dress that some would consider immodest or outrageous. This attitude shifts quickly as soon as they realize it was crafted by Francine.   The fact is that Francine creates every gown with a specific customer in mind. Every gown is designed to flatter the wearer.   Corsetted gowns are very specific as Francine takes the time to craft the corset herself.  

Design

  When designing a dress, Francine makes sure to have accurate and exacting measurements. When she chooses fabric for a gown she has carefully determined whether or not the colour and weave are appropriate for her client. Whenever a customer already has a colour and weave chosen Francine is livid as it means they do not trust her skill. In these cases, she does the best she can while maintaining her own individual style.   While designing gowns, layers are always a factor. She starts with the shift , for the next layer depending on the style, we have hoops or petticoats. Next is the kirtle, followed by the outer dress. While not commonly used by Francine, there have been occasions where she has added aprons as a finishing touch.   Francine rarely stops at just the gown but feels the need to complete the outfit. This includes gloves, shawls, capes, and slippers. These accessories are needed to complete and complement the gown. There is no way she wants to see her masterpieces marred by inferior workmanship. It doesn't matter whether or not she ever sees the gown again, if the ensemble is not complete, she will know it has been sullied by another's work.  

Significance

  Each dress is one of a kind. Francine has built her reputation over centuries of hard work. She doesn't travel to clients, they must come to her. For those who wish to verify they have a true Francine original the best way to do so is to snag the lace on something and see if it tears. The lace of a Francine dress will not tear, while the lace of other inferior dresses will tear.

excerpt from Hope
As Eldrick entered Francine's workshop he was astonished by the bolts of cloth lining two of the walls. One wall was full of windows, from the floor to the ceiling, letting sun fill the room. Eldrick could see the shimmer of satin in colours from carnelian to sapphire to dark indigo. Fine silks nestled in felted cubbies with a similar range of colours. On dress forms were a number of gowns in various stages of completion. Eldrick's eyes opened wider in awe at the splendour. His fear Francine would see him drooling over the gowns causing his mouth to go dry. He could feel his throat tightening in disappointment. Guiding him to the raised section she began measuring him, shifting him into certain positions as she did so. Eldrick stood woodenly as she went about her business, disappointment causing his heart to slow, his hearing to diminish. Eldrick didn't hear anything she was saying as she moved him about like a puppet whose strings seemed a little to stiff, almost as if they were crafted of a fine iron wire. As Francine brought out bolt upon bolt of cloth placing up to him he could feel the tears starting to form in his eyes. 'I can't let her see me cry, hold them back. No weakness.' With every bolt she discarded and returned to the walls he could feel hope fading. Of course, the dresses were not for him but someone else, he had no reason to hope he would ever wear them.
   
"Oh, Ellie, that gown is gorgeous.  Where did you get it?"  Amy gushed as she began lacing it up and pulling the laces tight.  "I mean it must have cost a fortune.  If I miss my guess this is a Francine Du Plaint.  Everyone wants to get one of her gowns.  She has a waiting list two miles long."  She cinched the ties as tight as she could and tied them off.  "She has a signature to all her gowns.  It's the lace and no one knows how she makes it."   "Uh, yeah it is a Francine gown but I was just told to show up for fittings as I was the same size as the person who the dresses were for.  I had no idea I was the intended recipient."   All the ladies were surrounding Eldrick at this point examining the gown.  Checking the hems, stitching and graceful fall of the skirt.  They were all in awe of the fact that a member of the house of healing actually had a Francine Du Plaint gown.  The extravagance of owning such a gown was all they could chatter on about.  When Eldrick mentioned he had three of her gowns they fell silent.   "Th..th..three? Did you say three?" Amy collapsed in a heap on the floor.
— Bathroom scene from Hope
Item type
Clothing / Accessory
Base Price
The beginning price for one of Francine's gowns is 80 gold. The price goes up with more intricacy.

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Cover image: by Daniel Irwin

Comments

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25 May, 2021 03:37

Great selection of graphics, and I love the "carousel" in the sidebar. (Too bad the images aren't all the same size, though... because they're different heights, the "next/prior" arrows keep jumping out from under the mouse cursor as you go through the set.)

25 May, 2021 04:03

Thanks for the feedback. I have updated the Carousel

Mar Qaroll
Mar Qaroll
25 May, 2021 05:16

Oooh, I wonder if this is a spoiler for something in the story...I won't tell what part of the article gives me this idea, but maybe you already told me something about it anyway.   Wonderful article! Seems like it was easy to write but I'll bet it was anything but.

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
25 May, 2021 07:06

Great article! Francine seems like an interesting character, and it's intriguing that she does absolutely everything for the dresses, she must be incredibly talented – but then, she seems to have had centuries to develop those skills :)   Do you have an approximation of the time it takes her to create a dress? I imagine it must be rather long given that she has to create absolutely everything. Does she work alone or does she have apprentices?   Just a small comment on the outlay, it looks a bit strange to have "design" and "significance" to be different levels of titles from the previous ones and from each other. It looks as if a previous title is missing, so I 'd suggest just making them all be the same type.

25 May, 2021 08:44

Francine remind me of Rarity. But the first thing, I have told myself, while reading the article is, wow those dresses must be so expensive.

Feel free to check out my costume entry. :)
25 May, 2021 09:39

Nice article! I love that you go through the design process and give some insight in how Francine is as a person, especially when a client has already chosen a color :p The choice of images is pretty nice and the image carousel as well.

Feel free to check out my costume entry. :)
25 May, 2021 20:02

I love the reputation that Francine has because of these dresses, and because of the care she puts into them! This is a great bit

The fact is that Francine creates every gown with a specific customer in mind. Every gown is designed to flatter the wearer.
  Weaving magic into them to enhance and flatter is fascinating and fantastic. Great work with it, and I too love the image carousel on the side bar!

Cathedris, the world of God-Husks and New Magic, welcomes you.
25 May, 2021 22:53

I love the idea of a magical dressmaker who makes the best dresses in the land! As a historical fashion nerd, I appreciated the reference to the layers that make up the dress :D I also like the glimpses we get of Francine's character, that she's very proud (perhaps rightfully so) and detail-oriented. Great work!

In Gormhan, an ancient magic-using nobility clings to its power in a high-tech 1950s-inspired world. There are dragons too!   Check out my costume challenge, the uniform at the exclusive boarding school for young nobles!
28 May, 2021 01:20

Interesting article! I'd love to know more about some of the people Francine has created for (and the gowns they ended up with), if you're in the mood to expand the article a bit.

29 May, 2021 06:00

I covered some of that in the article https://www.worldanvil.com/w/corrigenda-siobhanthewriter/a/francine-du-plaint-person?preview=true

Mar Qaroll
Mar Qaroll
30 May, 2021 05:08

I like the addition of the quotes. A lot. Works well with the whole feel of the article and your world, too.

30 May, 2021 08:59

There's something hilarious to the idea of using magic enchantments for helping how you look. I'm glad Ellie got some.   Just a mild note: The carousel doesn't show image credits?

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young   Costume Challenge Entry: As Superpowered troops on an alien planet, the Battle Spears wear a uniform capable of handling all they face
31 May, 2021 00:48

I had the information on it but for some reason it hadn't saved. It is there now.

3 Jun, 2021 14:11

This is short and sweet and focused. A very good article!

Visit the World of Wizard's Peak. Please check out my Costume Challenge article and let me know what you think!
6 Jun, 2021 01:04

Now I wonder if this is a spoiler for something in the story or something similar. Also, a great selection of graphics, and I love the carousel in the sidebar in particular!

Your fellow madman and wordbuilder, Miss Izette!   Feel free to check out my world, Chasuria!
6 Jun, 2021 04:15

It is a bit of a spoiler for the story, but also is setting up for foreshadowing the later stories.

7 Jun, 2021 06:14

This is lovely and the quotes/excerpts add a lot to the tone of the article and to conveying just how special these dresses are.

- Hello from Valayo! Are you ready for Summer Camp 2021?
7 Jun, 2021 06:37

Thank you I try to convey that when and where I can. I am glad you enjoyed the article.

9 Jun, 2021 06:08

Hi! Bit late for some comments, I suppose, but congrats for this nice article! The carousel of dresses on the sidebar is a nice touch, as well as the use of technical material regarding how the dress is made.   How many dresses do nobles typically buy from Francine? Like, is it badly regarded to wear the same dress more than once, as it can be in aristocratic groups? Or are the dresses mostly bought by slightly more modest people, who can't afford to constantly change dresses?   In any case, nice article!

With love,   Pouaseuille.   I finally participated to The Costume Challenge: here's an entry if you like!
Sage eccbooks
E. Christopher Clark
9 Jun, 2021 23:48

Great use of art throughout, especially that carousel that others (Bob among them) have already mentioned. And I loved the use of clothing/fashion vocabulary, which was something I know I struggled with in my own article.   Excellent work!