Arwen's Cranberry Gown
We only get a glimpse of Arwen's Cranberry Gown in a dream sequence in The Two Towers as Aragorn hovers near death after going over the ledge and surviving the river.. It's color and lusciousness tantalizes. Glimpses are seen in Behind the Scenes footage but it is not seen in it's whole until the 2005 exhibit at FIDM.
Note, this gown WAS NOT the gown shown on the ROTK poster... that was the Requiem Gown Photoshopped red. Check the arm beading.
Arwen's gown is a one-piece constructed from a luscious cranberry silk velvet. The dress features a very wide boat neck that almost drifts off her shoulders. It is edged in a wide swath of heavy bullion trim. It is a pattern that's simple in design, but complex in execution since it's about draping, not patterns. The two part elven sleeves are also banded with this trim.
The body of the dress fits tightish in the upper torso and flares out into a very wide trained skirt. The two part elven sleeves have a band of the same bullion trim on the upper arm.
While we do not have prefect pictures yet... Jenny's pictures will give you a good idea.
Body of the Gown
The gown is just few simple pieces... one front and two back with a center invisible zipper. There are no darts. The neck is so wide that it almost falls off Liv's shoulders. Heave heavy bullion trim encircles the neck, lacy edge towards the neck. The front of the neckline is stabilized by an addition of of another gold piece across the front of the neckline. The back neckline swings down a bit, but not as low as in front.
(we're still working to confirm the next part exactly)
This is a draped gown. It looks like each of the 3 pieces of the fabric are cut to use the full width of the fabric at the hem. (With silk velvet, this should be 54-60'. Though we're not sure if the backs are a full with or half width.) At the back, it forms a train... about 1 foot. There is a small gore set in the center back from the bottom of the zipper.
The weird part of this that the gown does not have regular side seams. Instead (and what makes this gown unique), the front piece of fabric pulls to the back. The actual seam flows about 3 inches behind - more specifically... from the sleeve bottom the front curves back. At the waist the seam in about half way between the side and where a princess seam would be placed. This seam flows down, fitted, to the hip. Then all the lines quickly flare out towards the full width of fabric.
This weird back sweeping seam adds an elegant fit in the upper torso and swings the skirts towards the back just a tad.
Note, there is no historical basis for this seam in a full length gown (that we've found) but it drifting towards the back helps with the wide skirt. It can be occasionally found in wedding gowns, but normally not quite so sever.
The sleeves are the standard two part elven sleeve, very much like her Blood Red and Coronation gown. Both the tight upper sleeve and the lower sleeve are made from the cranberry velvet. The undersleeve is bag lined with a soft woven silk in the same tone. It may be china silk or something a bit heavier.
The one thing that is difference from all all gowns, this one has raglan sleeves.
The pattern for the sleeve is most likely a half circle, or a tad more. It extends beyond her fingertips but is pushed back. The seam falls under the arm, but the fabric is somewhat twisted to add to the drape.
Actually there are two trims. The main bullion around the neck and sleeves and the golden piece in front. Both trims are approximately 2 1/2 to 3 inches wide
The Main Trim
Heavy antique bullion trim circles the wide boat neck and the upper sleeves. One side has a spiky design and the other a smooth flat boarder. The flat boarder faces down on both the neck and the sleeve.
The trim is aged and tarnished but is mostly silver. There is gold chain stitching along the edges as well as small bugle beads.
(we're hoping for a finalized trim sketch... but nothing has been submitted to us yet.. we'll even take a partial and replace it later. I know there's stuff drifting around.. but we wait for submission.)
Extra Neckline Trim
This trim is only across the front of the neckline of her gown. It is what originally caused people to think there might be an undergown. Instead, it looks like it was added to the front of the gown to stabilize it, given that the neckline is so wide.
The trim is mostly gold bullion with a red backing. It has not tarnished which means it is probably a more modern trim. We can't see the whole size but given what it needs to do structurally, and we see about an inch of it, the trim is probably 2-3 inches thick. The trim is probably backed to add strength to it.
The edge we can see has a bit of a ripple. The inset fabric is probably the velvet, as the color seemed brighter than the silk lining that could be seen on the sleeves. The beading pattern is random and tight (little or none of the fabric underneath showing through). The design is made up of red seed beads in strings, arranged in short, random rows. These rows are filled in with minimal red and gold bugles. There are fewer gold bugles in the design, being only an accent color. The red beads are very sparkly so I suspect they are red silver lined beads.
Notes on Reproduction
This gown is all about an elegant, plush velvet and a sleek fit. To make the gown exactly, you are going to need to drape the pattern on a dummy that is your size and play with getting the seam to sweep cleanly.
Remember that you are not shaped like Liv. A couple things will help with the elven look... Wear a shaper so your lines are smooth And unless you plan to stand perfectly straight and not move (and not wear a bra)... add a bit more shoulder to the dress. Position the gold/red band of trim to help keep the gown positioned on you.
If you're not ready to drape yet, don't worry. With good material the gown will still be recognizable whether the seam is towards the back, on the side or if you do princess seams.
Seriously, this is all that exists
This page was last updated 04/22/08