Jeannette Mooney ‘20 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
The Prince and the Dressmaker
Story and art by Jen Wang
The king and queen of Belgium are looking for a bride for their son, Prince Sebastian. Unbeknownst to them, however, Sebastian has a secret life that he’s reluctant to show a future romantic partner. Only his loyal manservant and Frances, his personal seamstress and the book’s second protagonist, know that he sneaks out at night in drag as fashion icon Lady Crystallia. Frances and Sebastian’s mutual love of fashion develops first into friendship, and then into something more. Just as the first buds of romance are beginning to bloom, however, Sebastian’s stress from trying to please his parents and living a double life comes to a head, threatening to tear the two apart.
The Prince and the Dressmaker is a story about acceptance, both of yourself and of the people around you. Sebastian could theoretically live his life without being his true self, and he considers doing so, but he is able to live a much happier life by not denying who he is. In order to do this he must not only be accepted by himself, but also by his parents and his country. Frances experiences a similar problem with her career. Her clothing designs are new and striking, which repels the stores that would hire her. When she starts designing for a new department store, she waters down her personal sense of style. This work does not completely satisfy her, though.
The highlight of the art in The Prince and the Dressmaker is without a doubt the fashion. Jen Wang clearly put a lot of love into drawing Frances’s creations. Her character art is cute, compelling, and expressive. Her background art contributes well to the story’s setting and heartwarming tone. In pages with heavier dialogue, the characters tend to be in front of blank white spaces or flat colors. Seeing a little more backgrounds in theses scenes would have been appreciated.
The ending is a little silly, but in a way that very much fits the heartwarming message and tone of the overall graphic novel. The Prince and the Dressmaker is a fun and uplifting story with overall high quality art. There is a lot of love put into this book, and this shows in its themes, characters, and art.