Fashion Dolls: Helping showcase Regency fashion around the world
By Jacki Delecki
Paris has been the epicenter of fashion for hundreds of years, radiating its influence around the world to set trends and dictate style. In today’s world, cutting-edge fashion comes at us via television, the internet and on the gloss pages of magazines. Yet even before such methods of mass communication existed, Paris was showcasing fashion designs through the use of fashion dolls.
Most of the earliest references to fashion dolls pertain to European royalty. Life-size dolls were elaborately outfitted in French fashion, including jewelry and accessories, and sent to queens in Spain, England and other countries. These three-dimensional figures were often handcrafted and configured to match the measurements of a specific individual. These dolls also served as “models” for local dressmakers who carefully studied each detail so they could re-create the stylish garments for local aristocrats.
During the eighteenth century, fashion dolls increased in popularity and demand. Both French and English fashion dolls were exported to the U.S., popularizing European haute couture in America. Precursors to today’s mannequins, fashion dolls allowed milliners and modistes to display merchandise, and because the garments were fitted to life-size figures, made it possible for couturiers to sell clothing without fittings or pre-orders. The fascination with fashion often started at a young age, so small-scale fashion dolls were designed for the daughters of royal families and aristocracy.
While doing research for The Code Breakers series, a Regency-era romantic mystery series, I learned that fashion dolls were of such importance that even during times of hostility between England and France, concessions were made to allow the continued exchange of fashion dolls. That was an intriguing fact which became part of my plot for A CODE OF THE HEART, as the heroine, Amelia Bonnington, works in a modiste shop.
The Regency era offers a wealth of fascinating details that make it so easy to enrich a romance with elements of intrigue, excitement and adventure. I hope you’ll read A CODE OF THE HEART to see how I included fashion dolls in the story.
THE CODE BREAKERS SERIES
Men and women from the class of privilege and rank risk their lives to defend England against the treacherous designs of Napoleon. They confront disaster, scandal, and passion as they pursue their code of honor and love.
#1 ~ A Code of Love
Threatened by French spies, assassins, and calculating suitors, can Lady Henrietta Harcourt trust the infamous rake, Lord Cordelier Rathbourne, with her carefully guarded family secrets?
Cord’s passionate attraction for the indomitable Henrietta hasn’t diminished in his four years abroad, but neither has Henrietta’s memory of his libertine past.
As England’s new Director of Intelligence, Cord faces more peril protecting the Harcourt family of brilliant code breakers than he did as an undercover spy in Napoleonic France. Henrietta’s brother, on a clandestine assignment in Paris, has vanished.
In pursuit of the missing brother, Henrietta and Cord become entangled in a web of international intrigue, danger, and white hot passion.
#2 ~ A Christmas Code
Lady Gwyneth Beaumont has long awaited the opportunity to show Viscount James Ashworth that she is no longer the impetuous child who dogged his footsteps. Now a much sought-after debutante, she is determined to prove to the hard-headed rake that she is a grown woman and a worthy participant in both the spy game and the game of love. Ash, recently returned from three years undercover in France in His Majesty’s service, wants nothing more than to complete his final mission and retire to his bucolic country estate. However, what seemed a simple assignment to protect the Prince Regent at a Christmas party turns into a maze of intrigue, desire, and treachery.
Adding to the perilous secret operation is one problem Ash never anticipated: The appearance of the reckless, enticing Gwyneth, who has blossomed into a gorgeous woman and self-appointed spy. When a snooping Gwyneth uncovers a shocking secret, she puts herself in mortal danger.
Can Ash protect Gwyneth and the Prince from French assailants and, at the same time, win the passionate lady’s heart?
Can Ash and Gwyneth both triumph as winners in the game of spies and love?
#3 ~ Code of the Heart:
Miss Amelia Bonnington has been in love with her childhood hero since she was eleven years old… or so she thought until a not-so proper impassioned and unyielding kiss from the not-so honorable and equally disreputable Lord Derrick Brinsley, gave her reason to question the feelings of the heart. Lord Brinsley, shunned from society for running off with his brother’s fiancée, hasn’t cared about or questioned his lack of acceptance until meeting the beguiling Amelia Bonnington. One passionate moment with the fiery Miss Bonnington has him more than willing to play by society’s rules to possess the breathtaking, red-haired woman. Amelia unwittingly becomes embroiled in espionage when she stumbles upon a smuggling ring in the modiste shop of her good friend. To prove her French friend’s innocence, she dangerously jumps into the fray, jeopardizing more than her life. On undercover assignment to prevent the French from stealing the Royal Navy’s deadly weapon, Derrick must fight to protect British secrets from falling into the hands of foreign agents, and the chance at love with the only woman capable of redeeming him.
About Jacki Delecki
Descended from a long line of storytellers, Jacki spins adventures filled with mystery, healing and romance.
Jacki’s love affair with the arts began at a young age and inspired her to train as a jazz singer and dancer. She has performed many acting roles with Seattle Opera Company and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Her travels to London and Paris ignited a deep-seated passion to write the Regency Code Breaker Series. Jacki is certain she spent at least one lifetime dancing in the Moulin Rouge.
Jacki has set her Grayce Walters Mystery Series in Seattle, her long-time home. The city’s unique and colorful locations are a backdrop for her thrilling romantic suspense. Although writing now fills much of her day, she continues to volunteer for Seattle’s Ballet and Opera Companies and leads children’s tours of Pike Street Market. Her volunteer work with Seattle’s homeless shelters influenced one of her main characters in the series.
Jacki’s two Golden Labs, Gus and Talley, were her constant companions. Their years of devotion and intuition inspired her to write dogs as main characters alongside her strong heroines. A geek at heart, Jacki loves superhero movies—a hero’s battle against insurmountable odds. But her heroines don’t have to wear a unitard to fight injustice and battle for the underdog.
To learn more about Jacki and her books and to be the first to hear about contests and giveaways join her newsletter found on her website: www.jackidelecki.com.
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