One of the highlights of the Festival is the Style Show presented each year by Betsy Bashore. Bashore has been studying the fashions of this period for years and is generous with her knowledge. Not only do visitors get to see the fashions, she describes in detail, the pattern or the historical example that she took each garment from. She talks about the fabrics, the ease of the pattern, and even the sizing of each pattern maker. From her vast experience she knows that certain pattern designers run smaller or larger than the given size. She points out dresses made from Saris, reticules made of 21st century materials adapted to look like period pieces she has viewed in museum collections and color plates. There were even a pair of kid gloves stamped, to look like the time period but made with a scrapbooking stamp from a craft store.
In addition to Bashore’s work there are several other models wearing their own creations. Gayle Simmons whose work is showcased in the Locust Grove house, modeled in the show as did her mother and husband. Rick Simmons it was noted makes his own clothes. Many of the hats were from the collection of Lydia Fast, who was setup in the boutique with hats for sale.
It is obvious that there were many seamstresses in the audience. As the models turn, to show off backs with pleats and sleeves with intricate details there are “ohs and ahs” from the crowd. Bashore begins with details about her own gown and also introduces “her ladies maid” dressed in the style of a working class women. It becomes obvious that a ladies maid was almost necessary as the models take off tight fitting spencers, work with tiny buttons and need help with hats and parasols. And in that spirit, the photos below try to capture both the full gown, the detail work, and of course the hats.