The Prince and the Dressmaker is arguably the most fabulous graphic novel of the year. It follows prince Sebastian (a secret cross dresser) and the talented dressmaker, Frances. Their story blends the beauty of friendship and the desire for acceptance and prosperity.
The story starts with Sebastian preparing for his 16th birthday party, where he is expected to find a wife. Frances is a seamstress for a low-end boutique with an incredibly rude boss. When Sebastian’s party is announced, all the boutiques are swarming with girls. A woman comes rushing in to the boutique where Frances works with her daughter, Lady Sophia, desperate to have a new dress tailored. Lady Sophia, however, is not very enthusiastic. She tells Frances to make the dress as ugly as possible. And Frances complies.
At the party, all the girls are dressed elegantly, with bright beautiful colors, except for Lady Sophia. She comes waltzing in with navy blue, feathery sleeves, a see-through skirt, and absolute drama. The Prince is enchanted with the drama and uniqueness. He immediately hires Frances as his personal seamstress. She is one of the only people who knows his secret hobby, and their friendship begins. When Frances designs a marmalade-themed dress for the Prince and he wins the title of “Miss Marmalade,” he gives himself the title, Lady Crystalia.
Their friendship is quickly tested by newfound fame and success, and the result of the story is nothing less than a masterpiece.
The Prince and the Dressmaker is an amazing and incredibly unique story, with adorable characters, and non-traditional highly pleasing art. It has quickly turned into my new favorite graphic novel.
Jen Wang is an Asian-American cartoonist, author, and illustrator. Her first two graphic novels were collaborations with Cory Doctorow. They are Koke Be Good, and In Real Life. She then published The Prince and the Dressmaker in 2018.
Olivia Gelerman, 12, is the curator of several hundred works of manga, anime and graphic novels that can be found in a book collection for sale of 47 West. Her knowledge of these genres is extensive and she is happy to recommend certain books for tween and teen readers. Her monthly review on a book in these genres appears exclusively in Penobscot Bay Pilot.
Photos by Olivia Gelerman