John Singer Sargent At The Art Institute Of Chicago

File:John Singer Sargent 1903.jpg

John Singer Sargent has always been one of our most favorite artists, both for the sheer artistic beauty of his portraits and, naturally, for the clothes. 🙂 Up until now, we haven’t had the opportunity to actually see any of his works in person (but we do have an extensive collection of coffee table books devoted to Sargent). However, I happened on a an advertisement for an exhibition of his work at the Art Institute of Chicago that will be running through September 30. So, after checking our frequent flyer miles, it looks like we’ll be taking a quick weekend turnaround trip to Chicago in September. 🙂

Here’s just a small sample of what’s on display:

John Singer Sargent Carmencita 1890

John Singer Sargent, La Carmencita, 1890, Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Maybe we’ll see this again when we go to Paris next February…. 🙂

Corsetry From The V&A…

While going through some postcards that we bought at the V&A Museum during our recent trip to the UK, I came across this beauty:

Corset c. 1890 - 1895

Corset, c. 1890 – 1895; V&A Museum (T.738-1974)

Here’s another view from the V&A website:

Corset c. 1890 - 1895

This is probably one of the best extant example of corsetry from the 1890s and it helped to create the wasp-waist silhouette that was characteristic of this period. Just for comparison is another corset from 1883:

Corset 1883

Corset, 1883; V&A Museum (T.84&A-1980)

From a general perspective, there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between these two corsets. At some point, we’ll take a more detailed look at corsetry so until then, enjoy these pictures. 🙂

 

Looking Back…Clockwork Alchemy

Karin_Thena1

Going through some older pictures, I came across this one from our 2016 trip to the Clockwork Alchemy Convention. I designed these two dresses for our entry in the fashion show. The evening dress on the left is our latest design, the “Lucy”, named after Lucy Westenra, the ill-fated companion of Mina Harker in Bram Stoker’s book Dracula and the subsequent Dracula movies. The dress on the right, the “Camille” is a lavender day dress in shades of lavender with amethyst accents. Both dresses are executed in the Mid-Bustle Era style (late 1870s/early 1880s) and represent some our most recent creations. While there were some challenges making these designs work for the parameters of the fashion show, I was very pleased with the result and I look forward to returning to Clockwork in 2019. 🙂

 

 

Is It A Wrapper Or Is It A Tea Gown?

In the course of researching tea gowns, I came across an interesting thing while looking at reprints of the Autumn 1886 and Spring 1893 editions of the E. Butterick & Company’s pattern catalog. In looking at the illustrations, I noted that that while they seemingly appear to be tea gowns, with one exception, they’re labeled as “wrappers.” Let’s take a look- first, for 1886:

butterick_autumn-1886-pattern-catalog.jpg

butterick_autumn-1886-pattern-catalog1-e1531075072322.jpg

In looking at the various styles above, there are 12 wrapper patterns versus the lone tea gown pattern (No. 52). Interesting enough, style-wise, the one tea gown pattern appears fairly similar to many of the wrapper patterns. Just what the criteria was that separated the two styles is not obvious and would bear further study; perhaps it was simply a matter of marketing: a tea gown implies a more “fancy garment” while wrapper implies a more basic informal garment meant to be worn while at home.

Moving forward, we seen an explosion of choices in the Spring 1893 Butterick pattern catalog:

Butterick_Spring 1893 Pattern Catalog Tea Gown

Butterick_Spring 1893 Pattern Catalog Tea Gown

Butterick_Spring 1893 Pattern Catalog Tea Gown

And once again, while there’s a wider variety of styles, many whose features mimic regular day dresses, they’re all labeled as wrappers. Of course, some of the styles are clearly ones that would be worn at home on in the presence of family members (maybe) but others are far more elaborate and imply that they would be worn in the presence of close friends for social occassions.

One useful way to look at tea gowns is that they tended to be more closely fitted that the wrapper, often boned and worn with a corset. Also, the tea gown was more “public” in that it was worn for more social occasions, albeit in the home. As with fashion in general, styles can be take to extremes so we’ll leave you with this example made by Worth in 1894:

Worth tea gown afternoon dress c. 1890 - 1895

Worth, Tea Gown, c. 1890 – 1895; Royal Ontario Museum (969.223)

Worth tea gown afternoon dress c. 1890 - 1895

Note the boning…

Stay tuned for more! 🙂

 

Fabric Safari: London

Liberty London

We’re hard at work planning our next journey to London and part of it will involve looking for unusual fabrics, lace and trims. We’ve compiled a short of list of places and no doubt, there will be more added…

Here’s what we have so far:

  • Liberty London
  • MacCullouch & Wallis
  • The Silk Society
  • The Berwick Street Cloth Shop
  • Joel & Son Fabrics
  • VV Rouleaux

That’s it for now… 🙂