Sunday, May 22, 2011

1790s Dress

It's all cold and wet out today, so another post. This one is on all the things I'm considering when it comes to the dress that is the vanilla ice cream to the sundae that is my ensemble. (Too convoluted?) The dress doesn't necessarily have to be white cotton, but a) I'm focusing on the neoclassical aspect of the style and b) it'll look very nice in conjunction with a darker spencer or open robe.

Pictures below!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

1790s Stays

The shift was easy, apart from all of the flat-felling, but the stays are proving less so.  There don't seem to be any patterns of extant examples in the style I'm looking for - as I pointed out in my post on corsets of the period, most surviving pieces are either conical (early 1790s) or long and slender (late 1800s), but during the period there was a lot of emphasis on the natural roundness of the body* and I want to make a short corset with cups.

Examples:
- Kent State transitional stays (the page at KSU isn't up anymore)
- V&A short stays

Friday, May 20, 2011

1790s Shift

So as it says in my bio over there, I've done everything for my M. A. except my thesis/qualifying paper. In my program, there are a lot of options for that: you can do a strictly academic research paper, or conserve a difficult object, or put together an exhibition proposal - pretty much anything sufficiently complicated to merit a 30-50 page paper. My project is to sew an ensemble accurate to the period 1795-1805, when the main historicizing influence on fashion was the ancient world. (1805 is about when the Renaissance turns into the main influence, although you can still see neoclassical touches.)


Museu do Traje, Part II (Twentieth Century)

On to the next century.

Museu do Traje, Part I (Nineteenth Century)

Last summer, I traveled to Portugal with my family.  One of the last things that we did was to go to the Museu do Traje - the National Fashion Museum.  I took pictures of pretty much everything, but I've never shared them, so:

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fashion and Textiles Studies: History, Theory, and Museum Practice

When it comes to fashion history graduate programs, the pickings are slim.  I think a lot of people aren't even aware that these programs exist, to be honest, and since I also think FIT's is the best, I'd like to put in a plug for it to the fashion historians out there who are considering a Master's.

Candace Wheeler: the Mother of American Interior Design

Candace Thurber Wheeler was born in 1827 in rural Delhi, New York.  She and her siblings grew up as "not only traditional, but actual Puritans, repeating in 1828 the lives of our pioneer New England forefathers a hundred years before" – Abner and Lucy Thurber were strictly religious, raising their children according to Biblical precepts and disallowing them from reading fiction.  Living on a farm in the early nineteenth century, the family was required to craft many of their necessities, such as cheese, butter, candles, preserves, cured meats, sausages, pickles, and clothing, but beyond this, Abner's abolitionist sympathies caused him to ban items created with slave labor from the house (and to help fugitive slaves north to Canada).  Instead of buying white sugar, the Thurbers tapped maple trees and boiled the sap to make maple sugar; rather than purchase cotton fabric, they grew and processed their own flax, and spun and wove it into linen cloth.

Corsets 1790-1810

Throughout the eighteenth century, the female body was compressed by whalebone corsets into conical shapes, but within the next few decades, as the silhouette became more high-waisted, corsetry changed drastically. The extant corsets of the early nineteenth century are slim columns of linen, embellished with quilting, cording, and embroidery. This change is intriguing: obviously, it did not happen overnight, but it was still unprecedented in the history of fashion in terms of its extreme degree of difference in such a short time. For the purpose of simplicity, I have elected to refer to all of the transitional undergarments discussed here as "corsets." (NB: this version is heavily abbreviated from my original paper.)