We are into Week 4 of these challenges leading up to the season two premiere of Tremontaine, and I am really sinking my teeth into this one! This week is all about fashion, and I surprised myself with how well I took to it!
Note: contains general spoilers for season one, and for episode one of season two.
This week we were challenged to write a post on a Tremontaine character of choice, and how their clothing reflects their personality. I’ve gone for the Duchess Tremontaine herself, and I’ll get to my thoughts in a minute. We were also challenged to come up with a collage outfit for one of the characters – modern or otherwise. I picked everyone’s favourite forger, Tess the Hand, and it all got a little bit artsy…
But we’re here to talk about Diane, aren’t we? And let’s face it, if anybody is skilled in the art of using fashion as a weapon (and sometimes as armour), it’s Diane de Tremontaine. From her display of skill with a needle and thread during her financially difficult times in season one, to her glorious return to wealth and status – and the displays of it – that she’s enjoying in season two’s opening episode (you can read my ARC review here), it’s clear that while Diane might be leaving a certain kind of dirty work to her House swordsman, she’s no stranger to other kinds of battle. Not all fights are won with violence, and Diane is quite possibly the most deadly ornament on the Hill.
To make my case with an example: it’s particularly telling to me that, during the Swan Ball in season one, the gloriously feathered and bejewelled presence of the Balams leaves most of the guests abuzz with gossip, yet Diane considers their sartorial efforts through the lens of her own clever wielding of fashion as a weapon. To her, their clothing is a statement of intent. They’re not above a little spectacle, but they’ll do spectacle their own way, thank you very much. Pastels? Dear me, no. Who’d want to blend in? Naturally this bold display strikes an appreciative chord with the Duchess. It may not be the done thing, but by God, it’ll be the memorable thing!
Women in the City may generally be confined to homes and parties, and expected to trouble themselves with nothing more serious than the latest fashions or chocolate-drinking etiquette, but Diane turns these dubious proficiencies into a weapon that she wields so well, and often so subtly, that it’s a little scary when you stop to consider the fact. Remember how she sets out to acclimate herself to drinking chocolate the way the Kinwiinik do? That’s knowing her enemies, that is. And you might not think that the mere act of choosing accessories could say very much about a person, but with Diane, you’d be wrong. Her decision to wear the Tremontaine family rubies to the convocation of the Council at the beginning of season two says plenty about the goals she plans to achieve; if Diane was among the Tudor court, for example, she’d be wearing purple.
Rather than chafing at the limitations forced on her by the mere circumstance of being a woman, Diane finds ways to make even those limitations work to her advantage – and she does it by being the most fashion-forward, highly admired woman on the Hill. Men want her, women want to be her, and certain foreign ambassadors might just find themselves doing business with her soon. All of their own entirely un-manipulated volition, of course. Marvellous idea, darling, how clever of you to think of it! By the way, do you like this shawl?
Men in the City like women to know their place. Diane de Tremontaine knows where her place ought to be, and nothing will stop her from getting there – or from looking utterly fabulous when she does it.
Don’t be fooled by her coyness. That’s how she gets you. She’s just so bloody marvellous that I must admit, I am happy to be got.