Aretha Franklin, known for floor-length mink and jewels, was glamorous in life and death.
On Wednesday, people continued to stream in for a second day to pay their respects to Franklin as she lay in repose in the rotunda of Detroit’s Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Once inside, they found Franklin in her bronze casket in a sheer light blue dress and matching shoes, a change from the red outfit she wore on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, the Queen of Soul wore Christian Louboutin 5-inch patent leather pumps that matched a tea-length ruby red dress made of lace — with a full tulle skirt and chiffon overlay, said Linda Swanson, executive vice president of Swanson Funeral Home. The red dress featured beading on the bodice and shoulders, and a boat-neck collar with a chiffon bell sleeve altered by Swanson, who is also a seamstress. Selected by Franklin’s family, the ensemble was accented by custom-designed beaded earrings. The vibrant red dress signaled Franklin’s distinguished status as an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.
“She is presented in a way that reflects her life and her legacy,” Swanson said. “She is, indeed, resplendent in repose, as a queen should be.” Swanson said Franklin will wear different clothing in coming days. “Just natural changes in wardrobe that a queen would make.”
The casket carrying 18-time Grammy winner was transported from the funeral home to Midtown Detroit in a vintage 1940 Cadillac LaSalle hearse, according to Swanson Funeral Home president O’Neil D. Swanson. The two-door, three-speed LaSalle is the same vehicle used to carry Franklin’s father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, in 1984; David Ruffin, baritone for the Temptations, in 1991; and Rosa Parks, civil rights icon, in 2005.
The solid bronze Promethean casket plated in 24-karat gold, and is the same type of coffin in which singers James Brown and Michael Jackson were buried, according to The Telegraph of Britain. It’s lined with champagne velvet; her name “Aretha Franklin” is embroidered in gold metallic thread with “Queen of Soul” beneath.
Funeral arrangements were not directed by Aretha Franklin, Swanson said. “She never talked about death. She was very much all about life.”
Fans can pay their respects until 9 p.m. Wednesday. Franlkin died Aug. 16 at the age of 76. Funeral services will be held Friday.
Contributing: Associated Press