Colonial dresses and a Debutante Ball in a film called “Las Marthas”

I was eating lunch today and happened to turn on the TV when I saw a program on pbs today called Las Marthas. I was immediately intrigued at the beautiful Colonial dresses! They were more than just pretty…they were gorgeous, costing anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000 and sometimes weighing up to 100 pounds! The George Washington Society Debutante Ball takes place in Laredo, Texas each year and invites young Mexican American girls to wear these elaborate dresses for a ball hosted by “Martha Washington.” There is an entire month devoted to reenactments and bi-cultural events for this celebration. Clearly, the most anticipated event of the month is the fancy Debutante Ball. I missed the beginning of the documentary so I don’t know all the facts, but the story follows 2 young girls; one a native from Laredo, who is the thirteenth daughter in her family to participate in the ball and the other is a first timer who has come to the ball from Mexico. I thought you might like to see it too. The dresses are beyond my wildest imagination and beautiful is an understatement. I wished I could have put the TV on pause a hundred times so I could get a close up look at some of the details. I’m a detail person, you know…

If you click on the link below there are 4 little clips less than a 3 minutes each, that you can click on to see some of the dresses. The last clip shows many of the dresses but it’s just a dress rehearsal, so you don’t see the fancy hairdo’s like in the original film.


After you’ve looked at the dresses, there are 2 other subtitles, called “About the Film” and “Filmmaker Explores Debutante Ball in Las Marthas”
that are really interesting to read.

I know this is sort of a different post, but I thought you might like it…especially if you love the Colonial era. The film originally aired on PBS on February 17, 2014, and I searched so you could see the whole show if you wanted, but I never could find a link. Maybe you can figure it out…

See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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  1. Linda Doyle says:

    Those gowns are just gorgeous, Jeanne! It also looks like a show I would love to watch, but somehow I missed this. Maybe an encore will happen?

    I cannot imagine making those gowns, plus all the room they need work on! Then to, how nervous would these girls be walking around in them on display with spotlights on them? And then bathroom trips?? How in the world?? 🙂 This was an interesting post!

    • HI LInda,’
      I so wish I could have found a link so everyone could have seen the whole program. It was incredible and so interesting to me. It was interesting to me how the dress designer held a piece of paper up to that pink dress and was figuring out how to place bigger flowers on the skirt of the dress.
      I was wondering about bathroom trips myself… you’re right… how in the world?
      Thanks Linda,
      Blessings, Jeanne

      • ha, ha!
        My daughter’s wedding dress was pretty big around. Can’t remember what style they call it, but she DID need help for bathroom trips, lol!

  2. Jeannie B. in TX says:

    My heavens !! The dresses are lovely. I can’t imagine trying to wear them, walk down the stairs and then take the traditional Deb bow.
    To think this is a tradition going on in Texas and I didn’t even know of it. I will definitely look into this.
    Thank you for posting. I think I will check on Youtube to see if there are more videos.

    • Jeanne W says:

      Hi Jeannie,
      As I was watching this, I was wondering if you knew anything about it, being down your way. The dresses are just unbelievable, aren’t they? I really enjoyed what I saw and would gladly watch it again if I could. I just wanted the TV to freeze up so I could get a longer look at some of the dresses. I was totally blown away with them.
      Let us know if you find anything else about it…
      Blessings, Jeanne

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