© 2020 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Arts & Culture

Fiesta Gown Glamour On Display At The Witte's 'Fairytale Fiesta'

Julie Ledet, digital media coordinator at the Witte Museum
Fairytale Fiesta.

Every year the Witte Museum puts on a thematic Fiesta gown-oriented exhibition. Curator of Collections Amy Fulkerson lets us in on this year’s theme.

“A collection of gowns that are all inspired by fairy tales, stories or legends,” she said.

The gowns Fulkerson is talking about are highly elaborate, sequined, beaded Fiesta gowns with trains as long as 15 ft. These things look like they could’ve been worn at a royal coronation.

"We have one that we’re using this year, she’s the Duchess of Coral Depths," said Fukerson. "And on her train are three beautiful mermaids that have hand-painted faces, which is a really unusual detail that you don’t often get to see. It’s really quite magical."

Speaking of magic, it doesn’t stop at that one gown. Fulkerson describes another of her favorites.

“My favorite [that] we’ve got is the Duchess of Infernal Deeds. And on her train she has a witch’s caldron" said Fulkerson. "And you can see a green potion bubbling out of the caldron. And held above the caldron in a swirl of smoke is a blood-tipped dagger. And it’s just got a wonderful, fiery headdress all on a black velvet background."

The exhibit opens Thursday, April 17, and features gowns that have been collected over dozens of years.  

“The oldest gown in the exhibition is the 'Queen of Atlantis,' and she’s from 1941," Fulkerson said.

The city’s Fiesta tradition as manifested in these gowns makes it clear we’re not just another city, and that there’s nowhere quite like here.

“And every year it’s just more and more spectacular,” said Fulkerson.