Mary, Queen of the Pageant known as Christmastime, has a signature look that breaks down to three basics: 1) Blue. 2) Tendrils. 3) Virtue.
Let’s see who wore it best during a recent gathering of Marys owned by Mankato collector Wilbur Neuschwander Frink.
CATEGORY ONE: BEST BLUE.
This was close, because each of the three contenders wore her shade with a supersaturated confidence that was almost a swagger. Hands-down, the win goes to Bedazzled Figurine Mary, whose blue here totally beams and dominates. Even up against her glossy walnut skin and gilded accents.
Bedazzled Figurine Mary won out over Peacock Halo Greeting Card Mary, whose blue is memorable but has disappointingly cautious yellow undertones.
Also taking not-first-place was Framed Mary, whose nearly navy shade has some nice depth, and pairs well with the purple wall, but it comes across too inky. Too cold. She’s wearing the power pantsuit of vestments. And I simply cannot worship that.
This goes to Monotone Sculptural Mary because contour is basically the only thing she’s got to express her whole look. Curves plus what I think is a tiny bit of color, just a blue wash. She really — and I mean really — works the contours, and of course I mean the ones in her hair but then also the thing she’s wearing or holding. Or maybe it’s an ethereal body part. Regardless, it is the tendril of tendrils rendered in both positive and negative space, and it says eeeeeverything.
It’s precise, yet organic. Flexible + infallible. Confident, but not showy, certainly not needy-whiny-showy.
[See also: Greeting Card Mary, above, who cannot win at this game at ALL, she just can’t. I blame the lillies at her feet. I wan’t raised Catholic but I had this one Catholic friend whose mom had a statue of Mary in their foyer, Mary with snakes at her feet. Once you see that, you can’t look upon flowers as an interesting style choice. It must be serpents. Serpents are to flowers as brand new John Fluevog teal/purple Babycake boots are to last summer’s dirty Keds.]
CATEGORY THREE: BEST VIRTUE.
You’d think this category relates only to the eyes and the head tilt, but you would be wrong, because plenty of Marys accessorize with children. This is what it takes to win. Babies, and plenty of them.
And not just one self-sufficient toddler like the one here on Postcard Mary’s lap.
Not the implied child, ie., the candle in Candle Mary’s hand. (I mean, I think the candle is supposed to stand for a child. Why else would she be holding a lit candle, while wrapped around an actual candle? We don’t need both. It absolutely has to be a stand-in for her light-of-the-world Son. And it does nothing for her look.)
No, BEST VIRTUE goes to Behatted Figurine Mary who obviously just came from the hatmaker where she stood unruffled as her six baby children roamed freely up and down her gown. She stood there like that while all the other customers in the shop waited for the crown to be fitted and fixed in place atop the most beautiful barely-curled-under tendrils in the universe.
And then, lo, each baby pulled a cookie from a secret pocket in Behatted Figurine Mary’s gently-but-firmly-blue gown. Secret but not too secret. Like, is if Mary made the pockets just secret enough to make the babies feel smart and special upon finding them.
And then Mary paid the hatmaker and drew up her skirts, and engaged her core so as to maintain balance, what with the babies clinging one-handed as they chewed. Babies hanging on, Mary standing all balanced and strong, and the mass of them strolled out of the store, baby wings flapping and crumbs flying and crown held high.
Because she is Mary, Queen of Balance. Queen of Secret Pockets. Queen of Blue, Queen of Tendrils, Queen of Virtue. Queen of Style.
Thanks for access to your magical collection of Marys, Wilbur Frink! I hope they know they’re all style winners. I mean they are. But I’m sorry but somebody has to win the pageant.