A girl’s trip to Earth…

When you think of a wedding, what is the first thing that pops into everyone’s mind? The dress. That’s right, and being that I am now expanding into women’s wear with my already wildly successful children’s wear, I had all the connections that would be needed to ensure that Merida Douglas has the dress of her absolute dreams.  I called in old favors in Venice, Milan, and Rome — houses of the some of the world’s most famous designers.

So I encouraged Merida to come along on a girl’s trip to Earth… she was hesitant at first; having anxiety over the portals to and from Earth.  That magic was one that was mostly Earth-driven, not Sosarian so it did scare Merida a little.  We prepared for the journey.  The portal is almost instant, at least to the traveler’s eyes, but in essence its a 5 hour journey.  Back in the day it used to take over 30 hours; the magic has greatly improved.  But to us it seemed like a wink.  We did however feel the jet lag once we arrived.

The Eiffel Tower, Paris, FranceThe portal from the city of Umbra takes us straight to our Palisades in Paris.  I showed her our compound and the Catacombs underneath, which are very similar to the Catacombs I had shown her before underneath Vamp’s Lair.  She settled in and then we strolled out into this great big world that for her seemed like a storybook tale.  As we ascended up the elevator of the Palais de Chaillot, which has underground tunnels to our Palisades, I could feel the excitement permeating off of Merida and the first thing she ever saw was the grand magnificence of the Eiffel Tower straight ahead just as the dusk set in.  What an introduction to a world she barely remembered!  Her mouth dropped, she stood inhumanely still unable to say a word. Her silvery eyes absorbed every inch of the structure that stood in front of her.

We stood there under the shade of the Palais, waiting for the sun to set completely.  I knew she could not withstand as much as I could due to her young age.  But when it finally set, the city took on another spectacular life; the lights were turned on.  Merida finally knew why they called Paris the “City of Lights”.  The tower lit up like a Christmas tree and there was a new, marvelous expression on Merida’s face.  I couldn’t help but enjoy this.  I told her about the buses and automobiles and planes and trains and street lights and hustle and bustle of the city streets.  The mimes and street performers that huddle almost every corner.  For Merida it was like being reborn.

But… we were not staying in Paris for long, off to Italy we went.  Unlike Marius, I couldn’t just use my Flight Gift, as I am too young to handle such great distances, so I opted for a private plane.  We took a taxi cab to the private airport.  What a ride that must have been for her… the sound of the motor, horns, and the french curses the cab driver was issuing out at what seemed like every car that crossed his path.  She found it quite exhilarating!  I could probably liken it to riding a roller coaster for the first time.

solderini-franchessi-villa-venice-frontFirst stop was Venice where my home, Villa Franceschi, awaited us in Mira. The home I shared with Armand for most of our eternity was just as splendid as Villa Vizcaya was in Sosaria. A massive estate with private water access, of course. I told her this would be our base on operations for our search for the perfect dress. Villa Franceschi has been part of the Solderini family for over 500 years. It used to belong to the Franceschi family for most of the 16th century after it was built. My kin took over the property at the turn of the 17th century, slowly acquiring the neighboring properties over time to expand the property and seclude it from private view. Three generations of the Solderini family before it came into my hands had transformed Villa Franceschi into one of Veneto’s most prestigious estates.

Queen Victoria RoomI showed her the room she would occupy and make her home for the next three days we were here,  we call it the Queen Victoria Room.  I told her that after the wedding we would come back and rename it The Baroness Room and she could redecorate it with anything she wished. The room today is mostly done in old century charm with shades of ivory, cream, and medium tone woods.  The roof of the bedroom features custom trusses that pop out at you. If Merida wants to tear it apart and do it her way, so it will be done.  Armand would have that completed in no time.

The Contessa RoomMy room is located just down the hall, The Contessa Room. This is where Armand and I sleep when we visit Venice. I adore the tranquility that I find here. And that chandelier has been part of the room for nearly 200 years. We’ve had to modernize it, have it reworked, but the frame and design is all the same.  So many of my family’s heirlooms adorn this room,  well the Villa in its entirety. I wanted the room to have vibrant reds and dark woods, the addition of the Juliet Balcony really completes the room.  Behind it, is a two-story closet that when Merida saw it, she felt a little cheated.  We had a good laugh about it though.  We played dress up with my extensive collection of modern clothes… she was so absolutely fascinated by the zipper! Such little things that today we so take for granted. It was in this closet that she found another little heirloom of mine… my Polaroid camera!

I told her to never trust a mirror to tell you how you look, that you must always take a photo.  She looked at me funny and said, “How the hell do you do that?”  So I took the Polaroid, pointed it at her… *FLASH* … she blinked and blinked and then the machine spit out her image right before her very eyes.  She exclaimed and said, “What kind of witchery is this!?!?” snapping the photo from my hand.  So overjoyed at what this little black box can do.  She wanted to bring it back with her, I told her about the rules.  We cannot take too much from one world to the other; it interferes too greatly.  But she begged me, said she wanted to show Va’lis. So of course I obliged.

Valentino Garavani Maison - Roma, ItaliaEverything in Villa Franceschi was just as opulent and exquisite as her own Villa Vizcaya.  We have very similar tastes in fact.  I could certainly see us three spending quite a bit of time in Venice.  But for now… off to Rome we go.

Once we arrived in Rome, we met with the man himself… Valentino Garavani, at his Maison in Rome.  He would be designing Merida Douglas, the up and coming Baroness of Venice proper, her new dress.  Now Merida was starting to feel like Royalty.  This always seems to get her riled up, anxious.  But with me there to school her, to soothe her, things soon settled down and we were back to being two girls thrilled to death that we were being this pampered.  The Maison Valentino took extra care to ensure there was much pomp and circumstance at our arrival.

The man worked on Merida’s measurements, impressed as I was at such a tiny little waist. And soon what looked like 10 of his assistants were bombarding Merida with questions on color, fabric, trim, lace patterns, veil or no veil,  hair up or hair down… she was in fact a true lady-in-waiting. After a few hours of this, the team assembled some of the most exquisite wedding dresses ever created.  All were unique one-of-a-kind. Which ever one she picked, would be hers and only hers…  amazing.

After the 6th dress, they unveiled the 7th and showed it to Merida.  And that was all she wrote… Merida fell absolutely head over heels in love with this 7th dress and when she put it on and modeled it for me… she looked in the mirror and said, “Wow… I really do look like royalty.”  It had finally sunk in.  And we had finally found her dream dress.

Merida's Wedding Dress (Front) Merida's Wedding Dress (Back)

Leave a Comment