Tuesday, January 23, 2001
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Posted on: Tuesday, January 23, 2001

Children help re-create queen's ball, 1892-style

By Paula Rath
Advertiser Staff Writer

On Feb. 23, 1892, Queen Liliuokalani held a Children’s Fancy Dress Ball for 80 children of alii and missionary families.

This Saturday, those in attendance at The Queen’s Ball, a benefit fund-raiser for the new Iolani Palace galleries, will get a taste of what that gala evening might have been like.

The Queen’s Ball

Being held in honor of the reign of Queen Liliuokalani

A fund-raiser for the new Iolani Palace galleries sponsored by Tiffany & Co.

Entertainment by Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus, the Royal Hawaiian Band and Kamehameha Schools String Orchestra

6 p.m. Saturday on the grounds of Iolani Palace

$250 per person

Tickets: Iolani Palace, 522-0824

Oahu designers Georg James and John Dinsmore, who have created the imaginative windows at Tiffany & Co. in Ala Moana, as well as hand-painted furniture and theatrical sets, were called upon by Alice Guild, executive director of the Friends of Iolani Palace, to re-create Liliuokalani’s entertainment. Tiffany is a major sponsor of the event and has adopted Iolani Palace.

Fifteen members of the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus, under the direction of Nola Nahulu, were selected to wear costumes replicated just for the occasion, a project that has been the work of several months.

James and Dinsmore asked Peggy Krock, a Punahou School costume designer, to reproduce 15 of the masquerade ensembles worn by children to the queen’s ball.

Krock, who has worked as a costumer for 15 years, spent hours in the Iolani Palace archives and the State Archives studying original garments and photos of the children.

The costumes worn included fairies, a firefly, butterfly, ladybug and Mozart. Guild’s grandfather, Walter Macfarlane, attended the ball dressed as a German peasant.

With painstaking attention to detail, Krock sketched, drafted patterns and shopped for fabrics, buttons, and even shoes to authenticate the top-to-toe look for each child. Even the underclothes are accurate, including petticoats and pantaloons.
Joshua Williamsof Hawai'i Kai will be dressed as Mozart at The Queen's Ball at 'Iolani Palace. The clever headpiece was created by designers John Dinsmore and Georg James.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

The color palette was kept to the period as well, ranging from lots of white-on-white to pinks, reds and burgundies.

All in all, it took two months of full-time work for Krock to complete the fancy dress.

"What’s interesting to me is that in the 1890s they were fascinated with clothes from the 1790s, 100 years prior. They loved Mozart costumes and a sort of colonial lady look. Today we’re excited by the Victorian era, 100 years later."

Krock said her biggest challenge was fitting the children, ages 6 to 12. The first fitting was in May, but between then and now, several of the children grew as much as 3-4 inches. Their garments had to be completely reconstructed.

The children will perform with their friends in the chorus and circulate throughout Saturday’s event, doing their very best to adopt the manner of their predecessors, 109 years before.

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