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The Debutante's New Gown
#1
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April 3rd, 1890 — House of Lytton
"...but it mustn't be white," the debutante dictated from where she stood on the pedestal as one of the designer's seamstresses took her measurements. Camilla would almost certainly be wearing white—as would every daft deb who read the theme swan lake and swooned at the costumed potential. No, Bellona Zabini would stand out, and Marcus Lytton was precisely the man to help her do so.

(Besides, Camilla couldn't be the only one spending their father's money unannounced.)

"As soon as my sister revealed the theme to me," she added, a bit of conspiracy in her tone, "I knew that you were the only man in England up to the task."

Bella doubted that Mr. Lytton really needed buttering up, but did not wish to leave anything to chance.
— @Marcus Lytton


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#2
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Marcus loved creating dresses for themed balls, his creativity could really show through. Had he been a modern fashion designer, he'd probably join the ranks of Mugler and Alexander McQueen, with Avant-Garde and very haute couture designs.

Miss Zabini was right to come to him for her dress, not that there were really any other designers to go to. Marcus had some competition, of course, but he believed to be the superior fashion designer in magical Britain. The rest (aka Twilfit & Tatting's) were simply seamstresses who created cute dresses.

"It mustn't be swan or feather themed at all," Marcus agreed with the debutante. Even a seventh year with good charms skills could make a swan themed dress.

"I was thinking -- how about you are the lake?" he proposed. Then, he conjured up an floating, transparent 2D image mid-air. It was a serene dark lake and there was a swan floating through the waters. "Imagine something in silk, in this colour." He conjured a roll of silk and made it float in the air, then turned it into the colour he had in mind. "And we'll place two white swans, embroidered, in the skirt and they will swim around. And we'll charm the bustline and the hem-line so it's like water on a shore."



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#3
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Bellona wasn't certain what she had expected, but being the lake certainly was not it. As soon as Mr. Lytton said it, the witch had an image of herself simply dripping wet, one that was hard to shake even once he presented her with his (much more reasonable) vision.

Once she reopened her mind, though, Bellona could not help but marvel at the elegance of it. It was sedate enough that she would not appear to be trying too hard, while the charmwork was complex enough to draw eyes. Plus, the colour would look quite splendid with her complexion...

"Are you certain it's enough?" the witch asked, voicing her (admittedly small) uncertainty. "I do not mean to doubt you, of course, Mr. Lytton, only I do wish to be memorable, the best dressed in a sea—or rather, lake—of young ladies."
— @Marcus Lytton


[Image: 3atPRkT.png]
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#4
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Marcus thought that his idea of a lake-themed dress was a marvelous one, so he didn't expect Miss Zabini to voice any hesitations. Then again, Miss Zabini was talkative and opinionated, she wasn't the sort to simply sit passively and wear whatever others picked for her.

"The simplest designs are sometimes the most elegant," Marcus replied. He would have quoted Christobal Balenciaga and said 'Elegance is elimination' if that was possible. However, Marcus had lived years before Balenciaga's birth and lifetime, so he didn't even know who he was, unlike his writer, who wanted to include this quote.

Marcus had not followed Balenciaga's principle at the beginning of his career. It was tempting to go overboard when you combined fashion with magic. While Marcus still enjoyed his creative designs, he now knew that it wasn't prudent to make clothes too elaborate and magical, otherwise people noticed them and not the one who wore them. Miss Zabini wasn't the sort of woman who needed to be worn by a dress. She was pretty, in Marcus' opinion at least.

"We want you to be memorable, not your dress," he added. "Or do you think otherwise, Miss Zabini?" The scandal about her blood status might have made her self-conscious about being seen.



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#5
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"Of course you're right!" the debutante hastened to agree, though Bellona wasn't certain she saw much of a difference between the two. She wasn't about to admit that to Mr. Lytton, though!

A pause, a smile, and then, "I think this is quite the creative avenue—I shall most assuredly stand out. I can only hope to be a worthy canvass."
— @Marcus Lytton


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#6
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"Of course you will be!" Marcus replied. "You are my inspiration!"

This was something he often told his customers. That they were his muse, that his designs were good because they were a good canvas. In reality, Marcus had good ideas because he just did and there were certain customers that he thought wouldn't deserve his creations' beauty if it wasn't for their wealth. Bellona Zabini wasn't one of those. Even though he had a preference for blondes, he thought her an attractive young woman.

"You will most certainly need two dancing cards to fit all the requests for your attention!"

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#7
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Flattery did have its place.

"I should hope to see your name upon one of them, Mr. Lytton," Bellona replied, "so that you might be seen beside your masterpiece!"
— @Marcus Lytton


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