LGBTuesdays: The Prince and the Dressmaker
Queer media isn’t just in books or movies anymore-we have spread through lots of different media. We have discussed books, TV series, anime series, and movies, but this week on LGBTuesday we are going to focus on a queer graphic novel called The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang.
The Prince and the Dressmaker is a story which follows Frances, an aspiring seamstress whose designs catch the eyes of royalty and land her a job as a dresser for Prince Sebastian as well as his secret alter ego, Lady Crystallia, a fashion icon. Frances is one of only two people who know about Sebastian’s other life and his desire to flaunt his beauty throughout the kingdom. How will she manage to reach her goals of becoming a well renowned dressmaker, and what will Sebastian’s journey entail, you will simply have to read to find out.
            
The story of this graphic novel feels very much like a slice of life tale that just happens to be set in the era of Princes and Princesses. There’s nothing magical or fantasy like about the story. It follows the lives of Frances and Sebastian and where this partnership takes them. The story is also spread out over several months to possibly a year’s worth of time.

One downside to this story is it doesn’t really explore Sebastian’s sexual identity or orientation. So it’s unclear whether he should be considered a Trans character, a non-binary character, or another identity. The story isn’t really focused on exploring that and felt more like an introduction to the idea that men can desire to be feminine and want to wear women’s clothing. So don’t go in expecting a great Trans story.
This is a graphic novel with a simpler story that can appeal to both younger audiences and older ones. It’s still written well and has great artwork. It could be argued that the reason it doesn’t choose to explore Sebastian’s identity is because really the story is narrated from Frances’ perspective and she isn’t aware how he sees himself.
At its heart the story of the Prince and the Dressmaker is one of self-acceptance, which is a story that can resonate with a lot of people. Sebastian discovers more about himself and in turn how he wants to be presented to the world. Frances has her own journey too, a struggle of becoming successful and what she will do once she does achieve her goals.
Our Library has one copy of this graphic novel which is in our New Graphics section, you can find it in the catalog here. It has been checking out constantly since we obtained it back in February, so you may want to consider placing it on hold.