The Prince and the Dressmaker
author : jen wang
pages : [paperback] 277
favorite character : frances
Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:
Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride―or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia―the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!
Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances―one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family. A fairy tale for any age, The Prince and the Dressmaker will steal your heart.
I’ve never read a graphic novel like The Prince and the Dressmaker–stunning, beautiful, and just plain CUTE. Yes, there were moments that really stressed me out, but overall this book is creative, smart, and a joy to read.
Prince Sebastian has a secret: sometimes, he prefers to wear gorgeous dresses and go out as Lady Crystallia, making a reputation for himself among the elite in the fashion world. His dress designer is also his best friend–Frances, who has always dreamed of becoming a well-known fashion designer. But how can she achieve those dreams if the person she’s creating for has to live in secret? Will she have to remain a secret, too?
I liked how there were so many different layers to this book. You fear Sebastian will be caught; you fear he’ll need to hide an important part of himself throughout his entire life. You recognize Frances’ aspirations for her own career; you empathize with her willingness to sacrifice so much for an important friend. Both main characters are struggling with who they are and who they want to become; it’s intriguing to watch them grow and find themselves throughout the course of the novel.
While the plot shines, the illustrations sparkle. I loved the art style for this book, and the dresses created by Frances for Sebastian are truly breathtaking. I want to see real-life versions of them. Someone PLEASE cosplay as Frances and Sebastian at a convention. All of my dreams would then come true.
This is an excellent read for those wanting to read more graphic novels, who want to read more diversely, as well as those who truly may not understand situations and people so far outside of the gender binary. I really do think this graphic novel will spread awareness, and love, getting people who may have always thought one way about gender roles (and how even CLOTHING is gendered!) to ask questions that might bring them around to acceptance. It’s important to teach those who are willing to be taught.
The Prince and the Dressmaker reads like a lighthearted fairytale perfect for any collection. I’d eagerly read more by this author.