Elkins Forest Festival queen’s gown revealed

Photo from The Inter-Mountain
Photo from The Inter-Mountain

ELKINS, W.Va. — An “epic” gown will be in the spotlight during today’s coronation of Maid Silvia LXXIX Madeline Hope Ross.

The coronation ceremony is scheduled at the Davis & Ekins College Amphitheater at 2 p.m. In case of heavy rain, it will be at Myles Center for the Arts Harper-McNeeley Auditorium on the Davis & Elkins College Campus.

MSFF Director General Lydia Wagner Jones said she is very excited about Ross’ gown.

“I enjoyed working with Miss Connie,” Jones said of the gown’s designer.

“I gave her a few ideas that I liked and together we collaborated on something that is ‘epic.’ We think it will be different – it will be something that Miss Connie has never done before and it looks fabulous on the Queen.”

Ross said she cannot wait to unveil the gown.

“I think my gown is unique this year and I am excited for everyone to see it,” Ross said. “I hope they love it.”

Ross said the gown was designed before she was selected as Maid Silvia.

“When Director Lydia Jones gave me this year’s Festival theme ‘Spark the senses,’ my own senses were certainly sparked!” said dress designer and seamstress Miss Connie Linger.

“My thoughts immediately conjured images of fine textures and contrasting shapes and colors. After agreeing on a style and influence we both loved, I designed Madeline’s Coronation gown.

“Ruby Red is the color we chose for this column gown which features a trumpet hem, another Festival ‘first,'” Linger said. “Lydia’s love for the ‘big ’80s’ shoulder is another defining detail this year. The shoulders of Madeline’s gown are heavily laden with simple gold brocade leaf-like shapes which flow loosely off them. This simple leaf shape is used in various incarnations all over her gown. They follow her neckline pointing down to meet an arrangement at her waistline. A simp split neckline features a stand-up neckband and is edged with dark gold bugle beads.

“The waistline is accentuated by the addition of a peplum with a tuxedo split in the back. The peplum features more simple gold brocade leaves hanging off it’s hem.

“Madeline’s sleeves are a simple fitted style with gold braid at the wrist edging towards the elbow with seven rose buttons added among a ‘flame’ of leaves,” Linger said.

“The gown is fitted via princess seams all the way down to the knee where the trumpet shape begins. Around the knee area, front to back, Madeline is encircled by another flame of leaves, some of gold brocade and some embroidered. Tiny gold metallic roses dwell among this arrangement adding more texture.

“The center front features a gold metallic ribbon rose which anchors a plume trailing upwards, and a golden branch (as if from a tree ) reaching towards the hem,” Linger said.

“The golden branch is tipped in Swarovski crystal stones. Gold metallic thread was used to create hand embroidered swirls and accent lines along the center front designs. Smaller gold ribbon roses are adorning the gown at the shoulders and neckline with another two at the back of the peplum.

“From beneath the peplum, the simple cut Ruby velvet train flows out. Possibly one of my favorite train ideas yet? I created a ‘magical’ golden tree branch trailing down from Madeline’s waist, as well as a golden tree reaching up as if to meet it at the center. The idea is to imply a sort of Merlin’s gold effect which might happen in a magical fairy tale!” Linger said.

“Some of the branches are tipped in Swarovski crystals while others feature a gold metallic rose. A ruby red gown with gold embellishments is about as Royal as it gets!

“Many details and designs featured on Maid Silvia’s gown are repeated throughout the Minor Court,” she said.

Miss Connie’s would like to thank “Sheila Scott for her tireless work with flower girls’ gowns and headpieces as well as the princess headpieces. Thanks also to Lola Collier for her usual Woodly costume finesse.

“And thanks to new comer Connie Pingley for taking on all the handwork we passed her way, particularly on the jester’s costume details,” Linger said.

Ripley resident Ross, 21, is the daughter of Mike and Janetta Ross of Ripley. She is the granddaughter of Mike and Joann Ross of Coalton and Marie Givens of Elizabeth. She has one brother, Cameron Ross.

The future queen graduated on May 9 from Marshall University with a bachelor’s degree in secondary English education. She was a dean’s list scholar at Marshall. She plans to become a full-time teacher and to pursue her master’s degree, and possibly even her doctorate degree in education.

She graduated from Ripley High School in 2011, was a member of the National Honors Society and was a student-athlete as a member of the varsity girls basketball team. In her spare time, Ross enjoys reading, kayaking and shopping.

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