FOUNDATIONS REVEALED COMPETITION ENTRY
The King in Yellow
Outline the story …
The King in Yellow is a fictional play discussed in the collection of short stories by the same name, written by Robert W. Chambers in 1895 and later expanded upon by H.P Lovecraft and his Mythos successor August Dereleth. It is believed that anyone who attends the play cannot escape with their sanity intact due to the influence of the Great Old One Hastur, known as the King in Yellow.
The King in Yellow is never described by Chambers, Lovecraft or Dereleth. Rather, he is hinted at in hushed tones and the reader is left to fill in the blanks with whatever terrors their own imagination considers sanity breaking.
I wanted to reimagine the Yellow King as he would have appeared at the court of King George III in the mid 1770s. As he masqueraded as a mysterious courtier slowly gaining the confidence of the British ruler, his sinister influence would eventually slowly degrade George’s sanity.
I wanted to create a court suit appropriate for the era, yet with small touches betraying the King in Yellow’s ability to perceive through time and space. The Victorian black glass buttons with a tentacle motif evoke the Great Old One’s monstrous form while the wax block print African cotton symbolizes the 1.6 million slaves brought into the British Empire by pro-slavery King George III during his reign.
These are the horrors that fill the blanks left by the authors as I read the Once Upon a Time stories of The King in Yellow.
Outline the construction…
My entry consists of a suit of yellow figured silk with a goldwork-embroidered silk vest, over a classic linen shirt. This was my biggest undertaking ever, as I had never done any tailoring nor any menswear beyond medieval tunics. Almost every step of this project pushed me to learn something new. The pockets on the breeches were particularity challenging as I had only ever done pockets hidden in side seams and had never done fitted pants of any kind.
I drafted my patterns based on the extant pieces presented in “The Cut of Men’s Clothes” by Norah Waugh. I wanted to pay special attention to avoid any visible stitching, and inserted the lining piece by piece as I observed on extant pieces instead of bag lining as in modern tailoring.
All four pieces were entirely hand sewn with a mix of stitches including 32 buttons and 24 buttonholes, which were also a first for me. The machine was only used to flatline the silk to heavy linen for extra body.
The goldwork on the vest was designed to be subtly reminiscent of tentacles, outlined in smooth purl bullion, filled with cutwork bright check bullion and finished with glass beads and metal spangles. Goldwork was also new to me.
Despite the countless challenges, I’m ecstatic to see how much I learned through this project. After hundreds of hours of challenging work, I cried when my model first put on the suit as I couldn’t believe I had actually made all this.