It was a fashion moment for Rose Queen Michelle Jacobs and her six princesses when they received their official clothing for presiding over festivities of Pasadena's 112th Tournament of Roses parade. The 17-year-old from La Can~ada Flintridge and her royal court are the first queen and princesses to be allowed to wear Ralph Lauren bluejeans and Nine West knee-high boots as part of their otherwise conservative 44-piece royal wardrobes.
Go figure. In her pre-queen days, those were her faves. But royal duties--and a strict dress code--call for mostly ladylike looks. Denim is only for the few casual events. What's a teen queen to do? Play by the rules (after all, this is fantasy).
Since being crowned in early October, Jacobs, the 83rd rose queen, has been swept into a whirlwind of public appearances, speech giving and photo ops, which leave barely enough time to spend with family and friends. There is even less time for homework such as the 10-page paper on brainwashing during the Korean War due the day after the big New Year's Day parade.
Still, says Jacobs: "Sometimes you really do have to stop and smell the roses." With that, she sniffs a handful of petals and tosses them into the air. They flutter back down to Earth where she is firmly planted and surrounded by thousands of fragrant pink and red rose petals, herself in a rose-adorned outfit.
With the parade clock ticking, Jacobs literally became a model queen in this fashion tribute to the rose. After all, the parade's theme is the "Fabric of America"--referring to our nation's diversity of people. But, hey, people gotta wear clothes, so why not rise to the occasion with a rosy outlook--and look--for the New Year?
It's time to cast off the heavy, gold, glammed-up looks of last season and get ready for a romantic, feminine spring. Everyone can be a rose queen.
Florals surface as a trend every few years and this time roses bloomed first on Sarah Jessica Parker and other "Sex and the City" girls. Colorful rose pins and prints were featured prominently in last season's shows. Roses and other floral prints were everywhere in the spring 2001 collections recently shown in New York, London, Milan and Paris.
For fashionistas mad about florals, Diane von Furstenberg offers rose prints on wraparound dresses and BCBG's Max Azria puts them on his retro 1920s frocks. Clements Ribeiro splashes the flowers on skirts and Matthew Williamson on leather tops. Dolce & Gabbana embroiders roses on wide leather hip-slung belts. Marni appliques them on the fronts of skirts in cascading fashion and Anna Molinari creates a rose-print, off-the-shoulder top and matching sleek pants for her Blumarine collection. Not to be outdone in Paris, Emanuel Ungaro pins roses on the hips of trousers for a romantic touch.
Rose motif clothes and accessories are beginning to arrive in department and specialty stores, too, offering a bouquet of fresh looks.
The rose look includes foil jeans by Guess, velvet skirts by Leslie Niskar for T.T. Mar, a cowboy hat by Catherine Malandrino, purses from Lulu Guinness and cashmere hats and gloves by Farrah Dragon. For tiny rose touches, try a scarf, pin or rose bracelet.
Queen Jacobs arrives at the Tournament of Roses compound for her first fashion shoot in jeans (her own) and a red T-shirt from her official wardrobe provided by Macy's, the royal court's outfitter.
Between changes, Jacobs, a senior at Sacred Heart Academy in La Can~ada Flintridge, talked about her rose queen life. She beat out 996 other young women for the crown (it weighs 5 pounds), and she gets a $500 college scholarship she'll use at USC, where she plans to major in public relations.
Her public, of course, will see exactly how Jacobs relates on Monday in the parade that will feature 52 floats, 24 marching bands, equestrians, clowns, cars and many other queens from surrounding communities holding bouquets of roses.
Vying for the title of rose queen was a no-brainer for Jacobs, Her mother, Janet Jacobs, and aunt, Marilyn Bednar, are past royal court contenders. Janet tried out in 1976 when she was 18 and was eliminated after the first round. Her aunt made it to round two when she tried out in 1982.
"Ever since I was little girl I remember saying 'Oh, I can't wait to try out for rose queen.' This year I was like, 'OK, when are the rose court tryouts?' " recalls Jacobs, vice president of her school's National Honor Society.
After four rounds of competition, with each round eliminating hundreds of young women, Jacobs was selected queen from the final 32. "I never expected to win. Basically, I hoped for the best, but I knew to expect the worse," she says.
So far, what's been the worst?