What are your favourite fashion history facts? 👀
Oooh this is a fun question!! Thank you for asking! :D
Okay, so one of my favorite things is how undergarments worked, like since before Middle Ages. Till very late Victorian era lowest undergarment was chemise made out of linen, which is perfect material against the skin. It's durable and survives rough washing. It's antibacterial like wool and so won't even get very dirty, very easy to wash and doesn't smell mostly. It's extremely breathable so prevents sweating. Because of it's very nice qualities, it protected the outer clothing from the skin, so you wouldn't have to wash your outer clothes almost ever. Clothes lasted longer and you didn't need that many outer clothes. I don't get why did we stop?? They would even make wearing modern bras more comfortable. I'm in process of making myself several linen undershirts and chemises for everyday use!
Another thing, also underwear related, I find fascinating is that Regency dress is basically underwear. Like it's the same when sometimes it's fashionable to have like these tops that are basically like bras, but meant to be worn as outer garment? It developed from the biggest fashion moment in late 18th century, when Marie Antoinette wore the scandalous Chemise a la Reine (chemise of the queen). It looked and basically was a glorified under dress and went very much against the extremely rigid Rococo fashion of the day, which made it even more shocking. But Marie Antoinette absolutely rocked it and it became a huge hit. It wasn't flaunting wealth like robe a la francaises and other maximalist Rococo dresses, so in the 1780s political climate, where people were very angry at the ruling class for the extreme income differences, it was favorable for rich women to wear. After the French revolution last remnants of Rococo fashion where thrown out basically over night and chemise a la Reine took the place of the acceptable fashion and eventually morphed into Regency fashion. The sexy qualities of chemise a la Reine, which reminded of underwear, whiteness, soft flowyness and sheerness, remained as peak fashion during Regency era.
It's also kinda interesting that this underwear becoming outer wear thing has happened other times too. For example Edwardian lingerie dress (the name really tells it all again) is also very much a deliberately drawing association to lacy underwear.
Speaking of 18th century, the pockets were amazing, but my favorite was the trend of pannier pockets, the ultimate pockets of all time.
Really pocket is an understatement, it's basically luggage. This might be urban legend and not fact, but there was apparently case where some woman stole whole chickens from a party in her pannier pockets, which life goals.
I find Victorian mourning jewelry so interesting. They made all kinds of brooches, bracelets, earring etc. out of dead loved one's hair. It's so amazingly gothic. They were these extremely intricate designs.
This is hair. Victorians put a lot of importance in hair. Hair was almost seen as part of soul or representation of it. Sometimes they were made even more gothic macabre by adding these wonderfully creepy hands into them.
One last neat thing I'll mention is that during Renaissance there was no purple clothing. Or I should say bright purple, because they had scarlet, purplish red, lavender and very dark purplish blue. The bright purple associated with royalty was Tyrian purple, also called imperial purple and royal purple etc. The exact color varied from reddish to bluish purple, but all the shades were very bright and deep. Romans are well know for using it. It was pigment gotten from sea snails in Mediterranean in a very labour intensive, difficult and time consuming process. It was very bright and durable. Naturally it was highly desired and extremely expensive, and therefore became color associated with royalty and aristocracy.
After the Roman empire split it was only produced in the Eastern Rome, where there was still capability for it as the Western Rome fell into chaos. So during Medieval era royals and nobles got their expensive purple fabrics from Byzantium, however when Byzantium empire eventually also fell apart in the late Middle Ages, the knowledge and skill for making Tyrian purple was lost until it was replicated in late 17th century. So during Renaissance there wasn't a deep purple available.
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Evening dress by Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, 1938
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I have a historical clothing question: what sort of chemise/chemise-equivalent would be worn with evening gowns with short sleeves and low necklines? were there chemises with just narrow straps at the shoulders? how did they stay in place under one's corset?
Oh, there are multiple answers to this.
A lot of 19th-century chemises or pairs of combinations had a drawstring neckline, or were wide enough to be pushed off the shoulders if necessary. Sometimes evening chemises that just had narrow straps, as you suggest, did exist.
I've personally made a chemise from an ingenious design, apparently seen as early as 1865, that buttons over the shoulders. So when I'm wearing evening attire, I just unbutton the straps and let them fall off my shoulders altogether.
As for staying in place under one's corset, the pressure of the corset on your torso- rather than any sleeve or strap over your shoulders -takes care of that. Just be sure you readjust before you take your corset off, if you're not in a situation where nudity is acceptable!
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for @e-l-e-n-a 🤍
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Nerds, what are the most decadent and glamorous perfumes from the 1920s?
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Nothing brings me more joy than people learning from history and then modernizing it up a bit.
Like you wanna grow your hair long? Stop washing it so often and brush it more to keep it clean. Your hair will be way healthier too. And stop cutting it (and use a boar bristle brush, it’ll work better as it’ll actually absorb the oils, distribute them better, and work a hell of a lot better than non-absorbent plastic would) Edit: Early on, some well meaning person kindly asked me to inform you that the boar bristle brush technique does not work on curly hair, however I have since been informed by multiple parties that it does! My hair is as straight as a pin so use your own judgment!
You want to keep cool in the summer? Out with the polyester and in with the linen and cotton. Natural fibers are going to keep you cooler because they’re literally made to breathe
You want to preemptively stop the underwire in your bra from poking through? There’s a very simple embroidery stitch you can do that the Edwardians used to do to stop their corset boning from coming through.
We don’t have to just learn from our ancestors mistakes, we can learn from their stakes too
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I do appreciate what Cathy Hay has been doing of late. Her last video made me really emotional.
She has been trying to recreate the Peacock dress, designed by Worth and worn by Mary Curzon in 1903. It's a 10 pound chiffon dress of woven silver and gold thread.
Frankly, the embroidery is far more beautiful than its design.
But she's found it difficult to recreate, to say the least. The embroidery was done in colonised India, when The British Empire controlled and took credit for everything. And let me tell you, some of these Indian ateliers had a lot of people working on a single piece, because the designs are so intricate and elaborate.
And so, recently she's been more outspoken of the fact that British colonisation really enables these wealthy western Europeans to wear gowns that almost look impossibly beautiful, but rightful credit was of course never given to the people who made it. Cathy started talking about this during the height of media coverage of the ongoing Black Lives Matter protest. She said she was reflecting on her position in the world and the lens through which she saw the Peacock dress.
So Cathy Hay has been researching it's history. And she eventually found out the name of the man who owned the work shop that made it. Kishan Shand from Delhi. It was a firm owned by Manick Chand. And more importantly, she found a sketch of the men that worked there, around the period the embroidery probably would have been done. It was most likely those very same men.
And I just felt this lump in my throat. I always wonder about the craftsmen behind so much of history's most beautiful art. They're never named because the one who commissions the work, the patron, is usually given all the undue credit. We still don't know the individual names, but we have a sketch of their faces.
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Costume designs by Edwin Austin Abbey for Henry Irving's production of Richard II, 1898
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Historical undergarments (details)
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An Introductory Timeline of Western Women's Fashion
I think a good place to start to get into dress history is general overview of the whole timeline. Understanding especially how the silhouettes change is really important ground knowledge to build the rest of the information on.
I'll start the timeline from Middle Ages and go till the first world war. I'll focus on upper class England/French sector, so keep in mind that before 17th century there were huge regional differences in fashion inside Europe and class differences too. There is a lot variance, changes and nuance inside any century and decade I'm about to discuss, but I'll try to keep this short and introductory and very simplified. I used a very scientific method of basically what makes most sense to me to divide the periods. I've made sketches what I would consider to be the basic silhouette of the period stripped mostly out of the detail and then I give couple of primary source examples.
12th century (Middle Ages)
Dress was simple one or more tunics over a chemise. They were overly long for upper classes, made out of straight lines. There were loose tunics often worn over another tunic, and tunics with laced bodice called biaut. In France bliaut sleeves often widened from the elbow, in England they often widened in frists.
13th century (Middle Ages)
Clothing was mostly very similar as in the previous century, though bliaut was mostly gone and new popular style was a loose sleeves surcoat.
14th century (Middle Ages)
Tailoring basically revolutionized clothing production, since clothes weren't made out of rectangles anymore and could be better made to fit form. Also functional buttons and lacing was popularized resulting in very fitted styles. The underlayer tunic, kirtle, became a fitted supporting layer.
15th century (Middle Ages)
Improvements in weaving technology and trade and growing prosperity in Europe showed in clothing as excess of fabric and variety of trends. Houppelande, a loose A-lined overdress lined with fur and fastened with a wide belt under chest, became a very popular clothing item, and in later decades developed into the iconic Burgundian dress (the red dress). Fitted overdress continued to be popular alongside the warmer houppelandes.
1500s-1550s (Tudor period)
In the renaissance era clothing became increasingly structured and elaborate. The bodice was heavily boned and the skirt was also structured.
1560s-1610s (Elizabethan Era)
Both structuring and elaborate decoration reach it's peak during Queen Elizabeth's reign. She became the defining fashion icon of the late renaissance.
In baroque era the bodice was still heavily structured, but more curved than the conical Elizabethan bodice. Otherwise though structuring was replaces with dramatic excess of fabric.
In the late 17th century there was a huge shift in the clothing industry as mantua, a loose open robe inspired by Japanese kimono, came to dominate fashion. Rigid bodice was replaces by structured under layer, stays. Stays brought back the conical silhouette of Elizabethan era.
Mantua developed into the iconic Rococo dress in France, robe à la francaise (first example picture), and in England robe à la anglaise with closed bodice. Rococo fashion was characterized by the wide silhouette of the skirt.
Since Tumblr won't accept more than 10 pictures per a post I'll have to continue in a reblog. So to be continued!
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1. Anglo-Saxon (600 – 1154) Simple Veils, Head-tires, Combs, and Pin
2. Norman (1066-1154) Couvre-chef, hair uncovered, and extreme length
3. Plantagenet (1154-1399) Wimple, Barbette, Fillet and Crespine
4. Plantagenet (14th century) Horizontal Braiding, Gorget
5. Plantagenet Crespine ( 1364-Late 14th century)
6. Horned headdress and escoffion
7. Lancaster (1430-1460) Heart-shaped and Turban Headdresses
8. Lancaster and York ( 1425-1480) Barbe, Loose Hair
9. York (1460-1485) Hennins and butterly hennins
Edit: So I definitely meant to delete the shorter version of this post that posted earlier today. Sorry. lol
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• Dinner dress.
Design House: Mon. Vignon (French)
Medium: Silk, cotton
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"La soirée" by Vittorio Reggianini (1858-1938).
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fabrics of the 18th century
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113 years ago today in Paris, Jeanne Margaine-Lacroix made some noise. She sent three models to the horse races in her designs; sans corset, comfortably form fitting, naturally figure flattering, and open up to the knee.. In todays terms the dresses went viral. Basically, the original bodycon dress.
Having inherited her mothers fashion house almost a decade earlier, she set off a lot of fundamental changes about what we wear, how we wear it, and the way we see attire altogether (especially women’s attire.) She also ditched standard corsets of the time and debatably reformed the whole concept of underwear. Thanks Jeanne, we appreciate it!
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So I’ve gotten a couple of questions about everyone’s favorite 1740s does 1980s snuff box! (pictured below. Because honestly, it’s great). So I figured I would address the one that keeps coming up: is it really from the 1740s????
Yes! Yes it is.
So this snuffbox is apart of the 2015 Bettina Looram de Rothschild accession. Pretty much all of the items in the accession are from past Rothschild family members, giving it a pretty solid provenance. There’s also a maker’s mark. Interestingly, the maker, Louis Robin, only operated for a short amount of time (1738-1744), giving the box only a small window to be made in.
THE MORE YOU KNOW ™
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let’s talk about Tiffany Problem Cold Shoulder Gowns
because, from around the 1890s to the 1910s, you occasionally see evening gowns with sleeve arrangements that look a little bit more...
(Evening gown by Jacques Doucet, c. 1898-1900. Met Museum collection.)
(”Oak Leaf Dress” by Worth, 1903. Met Museum collection. If you’re thinking this looks like a way prettier version of the yellow dress in the live action Beauty and the Beast- yes. Yes, it does.)
there are more examples out there that are difficult to find again, though I know I’ve seen them. and I have nothing really to say about this. just that it even gives ME a knee-jerk “oh they modernized that” reaction, despite me knowing full well that it was a Thing back then
I love the Tiffany Problem so much
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Dinner dress made in 1878 by Parisian couturier Émile Pingat
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Details in Red
Portrait of Isabelle Antoinette Barones Sloet van Toutenburg, 1852, by Nicaise de Keyser.
Patricipance of Venice, 1881, by Alexandre Cabanel.
A Young Lady Aged 21, Possibly Helena Snakenborg, 1569, by an unknown artist.
Portrait de la comédienne Marie-Anne de Châteauneuf, 1712, by Nicolas de Largillière.
Mrs. Hugh Hammersley, c. 1893, by John Singer Sargent .
Louise, Queen of the Belgians, 1841, by Franz Xaver Winterhalter.
Sabina Seupham Spalding, c. 1846, by Federico de Madrazo y Kuntz.
Elizabeth I, the "Pelican" portrait, c. 1572, by Nicholas Hilliard.
Portrait of Mary Louise of Orleans, Queen of Spain, c. 1679, by José García Hidalgo.
Portrait of Marguerite de Sève, 1729, by Nicolas de Largillière.
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Can we bring back 18th century hairstyles?
Rococo Era paintings by Elizabeth Vigée Lebrun, François Boucher, Jakob Björck, Antoine-Jean Gros and François-Hubert Drouais.
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