Jillian’s Victorian Cotillion Dress

By Audra Kennedy

Photography by Mark Jaegar Photography and Jennifer Tarkington

Elegant. Timeless. Classic. This Victorian Cotillion Dress is the essence of grace and beauty.

Every year in Huntsville, Alabama, the Gothic Guild celebrates outstanding young women at a formal event called the Victorian Cotillion. The Cotillion celebrates time-honored traditions and focuses on simple graces, manners, hand-written correspondence, and behaviors that all young women should posses, even in this modern day of technology and not-so-graceful communication. The young women are high school sophomores, and when I learned that my 16-year-old daughter, Jillian, had been selected to participate, I was overjoyed. Of course I was proud of her – it is such a special honor – but also because it meant that I would get to make her a French sewn dress. I made all her heirloom church and portrait dresses for her as a small child, and now I could reminisce and engage my sewing skills to create something special for her again.