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Dressing Up Debutantes Pageantry and Glitz in Texas

by Michaele Thurgood Haynes

  • ISBN: 9781859739396
  • ISBN10: 1859739393

Dressing Up Debutantes Pageantry and Glitz in Texas

by Michaele Thurgood Haynes

  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publish date: 08/01/1998
  • ISBN: 9781859739396
  • ISBN10: 1859739393
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Description: For ninety years, young society women in San Antonio, Texas have donned custom-designed dresses to take part in the coronation of a queen and her court. These dresses and their trains, which together weigh fifty pounds or more and cost an average of eighteen-thousand dollars, are highly embellished with rhinestones and beads. The coronation is part of the ten-day, century-old festival celebrating the final battle of the 1836 Texas revolt against Mexico.

This book demonstrates how a material culture analysis of the coronation costumes worn by the Euro-American debutantes provides a significant contribution to the study of social elites in Western society. Set against the backdrop of a city undergoing many demographic, socioeconomic, and political changes, the pageant represents a mythologized ethnic and class history which reinforces the hierarchical positioning of its participants. "Royal robes" worn by the queen and her court serve as the canvas upon which this theme is carried out. The coronation, held in a city with a Hispanic majority, has come under attack for its elitism, but participation in it is still important for the old Euro-American aristocracy and for a very few extremely wealthy Hispanic families. Integral to the continuation of this increasingly contested tradition is the appeal that wearing these intricately embellished gowns holds for participants.

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