I had suspected but a few images put together really do reveal this quite clearly.
If you watch the Awkward Situation clip you can see how the train skims the ground without folding or dragging. If you watch the edge of the train as she goes up the steps it even catches and springs just like a hooped skirt. If you have ever worn hoops or a cage crinoline with flat steels/plastic it wibbles a bit like a jellyfish.
Note how the front edge of the train stops, it doesn’t just pull like fabric under tension it moves like there is a wired edge. And in movement the edge then springs forward once released from that first step.
Here the train is caught on the last step but this is mainly to show the front of the gown is not also stifened. It does have a fairly deep hem which does has some sort of facing but it still flows. It also looks like Angelina is wearing platforms to add to her height- note how the toes push the fabric out above hem line.
You can also see the wired edge also extends in to the seam where the train is sewn to the gown. This makes sense to help support the full train. Having now made mine it is very heavy indeed.
This then explains why that seam appear to be top stitched or otherwise additionally reinforced in other images.
So I had a look at stills again and they do also support the idea of a supported train. In the still below (screengrab) you can see how the train edge is under a lot of tension, but also there is a mystery “bump” near the join between the leather and shell fabric- it does not correspond with the step or any fabric componant of the gown. This is most likely due to a support underneath lifting off the ground- as she is turning this makes sense.
And in this still you can see a ridge that follows the main curve of the leather. And even where the layers are caught to the support hoop in the 2nd to left panel.
So a U shaped hoop on the bottom of the train and two gently flared strips inside the front edge of the train. Imagine a curvy scoop. To make mine I’ll be making a tube of fabric to tack to the underside of my train. And a wrapped facing on the front edge. Then wrap three layers of plumbers coil with sports tape to insert just before putting the entire piece on. I will have to use temporary fastenings to hold the ends in place so as to be able to remove them for convention safety!
I have also just overdyed a huge metal zip (possibly for a sleeping bag) so I will have a super mega firm fastening that will survive the pull and drag of this train. Then I can cover it with a spine.
And now to resize my collars 🙂