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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

Project Austen Runway

A New York bridal-gown designer wants to give away made-to-order, Jane Austen-inspired couture dresses. No one’s interested, I assume.

As if.

The designer, Jennyvi Dizon, is a newly minted member of the Jane Austen Society of North America who will attend her first JASNA Annual General Meeting in Chicago in October. The conference theme is “Jane Austen in the Arts,” and Dizon has decided to mark the occasion by staging a “Jane Austen photo shoot” featuring JASNA members modeling her dresses.

You send her your measurements – all ages, sizes, and shapes are welcome -- and agree to appear in the shoot and wear her creation at the AGM. In return, you keep the dress.

The announcement of this amazing offer, sent out recently by the New York City region of JASNA, left plenty of details unclear: whether the gowns are intended as bridal wear, how period-accurate they are likely to be, and how much input the models will have into the designs of their own gowns. I cannot imagine that those uncertainties will act as much of a deterrent. (Email Dizon at if you’re interested.)

Dizon was born in the Philippines and grew up in Arizona, initially learning her trade at the knee of her father, a tailor. Judging from her website, many of her gowns are quite lovely, if rather more revealing than you’d expect to encounter in a Jane Austen movie adaptation. It will be interesting to see how – or if -- she adapts her style to Regency fashion expectations. In any case, I’m pretty sure she’ll have no shortage of Janeite models.


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