Orgon’s high society, young second wife, Elmire, is quite the catch. She is beautiful, dynamic, and not fooled for long by Tartuffe. Although Tartuffe tarnishes in Elmire’s eye quicker than Orgon’s, she struggles to balance the family’s beliefs and the reality of the con man among them.
Elmire was played by Amy Dowell. Amy has been with the company for a year, playing Germaine in Picasso at the Lapin Agile. The young actress and college student has grown and improved greatly this past year and was a star in Tartuffe.
The original plan for costuming Elmire included pencil pants and an over skirt. Elmire is a sophisticated, party throwing, young wife and stepmother. She is hip baby. But, as plans do, the design for Elmire changed when I had Amy try on this dress. The dress is truly Elmire.
Elmire’s dress is a vintage piece out of my personal collection.
I found it at a flea market for ten dollars and living up to its polyester privileges of the sixties, washed up snow white. In fact, I washed this dress six times during the run of dress rehearsals and the show and each time it came out of the washer looking new. The care label recommended for it to be hung dry. No problem. It was dry within an hour. A wonderful dress.Not only is this dress true to the time period, but there is something very special about it. The label inside the dress is for McDaniel Furs and Formal, now known as McDaniel Bridal and Formal. This shop is merely blocks from our home!
It is likely that this dress is not custom made, but one that was purchased as a house design which would explain the label. I took the dress to the store, but the sweet, young thing running the small shop overrunning with prom formals and flushed teens turned up her nose a bit and remarked that the ownership of the shop had changed. She looked at the dress as if it were, well, somehow contagious. Ha!
The fur shop next door, still bearing the McDaniel name operated by descendants of the original owners did not recognize the dress, nor could they direct me further. Nonetheless, it is still a gem and even more so because it is local. I am happy to be its current caretaker – now if I could lose twenty pounds…
Also, do not forget to stop by and visit Suzanne for Vintage Thingies Thursday.