And We’re Back!

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It was a quick and busy past weekend in Tombstone followed by a one-hour drive back to LA on Monday but we’ve recovered. 🙂 So, the reason for being there? The Inaugural Doc-Holli-Days event weekend, a tribute event to Doc Holliday and the movie Tombstone with Val Kilmer as the guest of honor (naturally!). To accompany Val were many of the cast members from the movie (unfortunately, no Sam Elliott) and it was one big party in town the entire weekend- the crowds were estimated to have been around 20,000 (although I tend to take official estimates with a grain of salt)- but no matter what, the town was definitely crowded, something we haven’t seen in a long time.

Our role in this event was limited to marching in the official parade, which had Val as the grand marshal, with the participants portraying their favorite characters from the movie Tombstone. I portrayed the photographer CS Fly and I even had a small 1880s vintage camera (I plan on restoring it in the future). Overall, it was a fun event although the weather was brutal- the humidity was a real killer. Plans are afoot to hold this event again next year and we’re looking forward to it. 🙂

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Time for a beer, it’s been a long day!

The 1002 Nights/La Mille et DeuxiĂšme Nuit

Poiret Sultan

Publicity has always been a part of the fashion world and it’s the fashion world’s life blood. Paul Poiret was one of the first couturiers to actively utilize publicity as a marketing tool on a large scale and one of his most notable efforts was the 1002 Nights or Persian Celebration that he staged on June 24, 1911. Poiret intended the event as a launch for his brand of perfumes under the “Rosine” label, named after his eldest daughter.

Rosine Poiret

 

But there was more to the event than simply promoting perfume, he was also promoting his entire line of Oriental-themed fashions and in particular, the jupe cullotte or harem pants style. Harem pants (or any kind of pants for women) represented a radical departure in fashion and was considered by many to be scandalous- it was considered tantamount to being naked.

Lepape’s illustration ‘La fete Persane’, most likely Paul and Denise Poiret’s “The Thousand and Second Night” party, 1912

 Georges Lepape, La FĂȘte Persane, 1912; attributed to the 1002 Night 

So, let’s take a closer look at the jupe cullotte…here’s one of the more iconic examples that was worn to the 1002 Nights:

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Paul Poiret, Jupe Culotte, 1911; Metropolitan Museum of Art (1983.8a, b)

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Close-Up View

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What is especially interesting was the theatrical element to the 1002 Nights. The event was held at Poiret’s 18th Century mansion at  26 Avenue d’Antin and Poiret invited some 300 people, making it explicitly clear that everyone was expected to wear Persian dress (if they didn’t have any, a suitable outfit would be provided at the entrance before they were allowed to enter). Poiret provided a feast accompanied by some 900 liters of Champagne along with all manner of entertainments.

1911 Paul & Denise Poiret 1002 party with Denise being released from her golden cage

 

The centerpiece of the 1002 Nights was Poiret’s wife Denise modeling the new jupe cullotte style, sitting in a large golden cage with Poiret taking the part of a sultan. The finale of the show was when at an appointed time, Poiret then made a big show of “releasing” Denise from her cage:

George Le Pape, "Denise Poiret at The Thousand and Second Night Party" : Paul Poiret designed this ensemble for  his wife to wear to his infamous  "Thousand and Second Night" party in Paris, 1911. in Paris, 1911

George Le Pape, Denise Poiret at The Thousand and Second Night Party, 1911

The 1002 Nights was a huge success and was widely reported in the press. Although Poiret denied that he’d staged the party as a publicity stunt, it was evident that it had been just exactly that and the publicity led to a subsequent explosion in sales of Poiret’s Oriental-inspired fashions.

1911 Denise and Paul Poiret at the 1002 night party

Denise and Paul Poiret at the 1002 Nights

In contrast to earlier couturiers, Poiret was a consummate showman and constantly strove to attract the public’s attention to his designs and for a long time he was successful. Unfortunately, the First World War was an interruption that Poiret never full recovered from and while Oriental themes still informed his designs, the public had moved on, favoring more simple designs that were being put forth by Chanel and others.

Stay tuned for more on the most remarkable Paul Poiret. 🙂

 

 

Back From Pennsylvania…

I completely admit that this post is bit tardy, considering that I attended this event back in April, so I apologize for the lateness of this post…enjoy!


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Recently I took a break from the usual round of activities to travel back east to Newville, Pennsylvania to attend the Great War Association’s (GWA) Spring 2017 battle event. For those of you who may not know, the GWA is an umbrella organization for First World War reenacting that draws reenactors from all over the nation (and even Canada) and they sponsor two events yearly at their site in Newville, one in the Spring and one in the Fall. Events typically draw anywhere from 300 to over 600 reenactors (Fall is typically the better attended event). The site itself is a small-scale recreation of a First World War battlefield complete with shell craters, trenches, bunkers, and even burnt-out buildings- it’s truly a “reenactor’s reenactment”.

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Here I am looking all heroic and all…

I’ve been involved in the First World War reenacting for over 20 years and I have always meant to participate in a GWA event but, as usual, life usually got in the way until this Spring when I decided that I needed a small break from the usual so off I went. The logistics of getting there was interesting to work out, especially since I’d never been there before, but in the end it all worked out. I found that flying into Baltimore was the most practical- there are cheap non-stop flights available on Southwest Airlines and rental cars are easy to arrange at affordable prices (of course, it’s even cheaper if you’re traveling with others). Finally, I was able to get a couple of good motel rates for before and after the event itself- it pays to book early. 🙂

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We three Bavarians…

Weather-wise, Pennsylvania presented a bit of a contrast to what I am used to in Southern California- it was warm and humid  during the day (and really warm when the sun would come out) combined with the occasional shower. At night, the temperature would drop almost 20 to 30 degrees and on the last night of the event, it was freezing. In many ways, this mirrored the actual Western Front experience although we only had to “endure” for two days.

So, what’s the clothing tie-in? I thought  you’d never ask…well, in contrast to what I normally deal in, the order of the day is wool…lots of wool in shades of feldgrau and steingrau. Below is feldgrau as defined by the RAL color standard (RAL is the German color standard that was initially developed in 1927 and is the equivalent of the American Federal Color Standard System). Below is the RAL standard for feldgrau:

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And for steingrau:

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Of course, color standards are only an approximation and especially since it was developed after the First World War. Here’s an approximation of what feldgrau often looked like:

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Needless to say, the subject of color is very subjective so the above is just to give a general idea.

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Me coming out of the rain. Lack of sleep caught up with me…and yes, the wool does repel water (to a point)

As to the uniform itself, I am wearing the 1915 (1916 pattern for Bavarians) pattern coat, or bluse, which was a wartime simplification of the basic tunic. For trousers, I am wearing the prewar 1907 pattern. As for comfort, well things can get itchy sometimes and definitely hot in warmer weather but in cold weather, it serves its purpose very well.

Overall, it was a fun and exciting trip and I am looking forward to returning in the Fall. 🙂

Back To The Rancho- Lily Absinthe Goes Picnicking

Well, this is from over a month ago and it’s only now that I’m posting this…yes, life got in the way but I figure that better late than never! Picnicking in period dress has always been a favorite pastime for us (and it provides an excuse to wear our period fashions) and provides a nice break from the fast pace of the modern world. As many of you no doubt know, 2017 has been a year of tremendous change for us and it’s easy to lose sight of what we truly like to do. So anyway, here’s just a little recap from our latest excursion to Rancho Camulos. Enjoy!


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This past Sunday, we decided to take a break and go to a picnic at our favorite spot-Rancho Camulos in Piru, California, one of the last surviving examples of a Californio rancho. The theme, of course, was Victorian and it gave us a wonderful opportunity to relax in period attire in an historic location. Established by Ygnacio Del Valle in 1853, Rancho Camulos was once part of a 48,000 acre Mexican land grant deeded to Ygnacio’s father Antonio Del Valle in 1839. Also, most notably, Rancho Camulos is also the purported setting for Helen Jackson Hunt’s famous book Ramona.

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We also decided to take the occasion to model one of our newest designs, a simple picnic dress constructed in a light cotton sheer in a pale turquoise blue:

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And of course, we took the opportunity to relax…

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The weather was perfect and it was easy to lose all sense of time, relaxing in the cool ocean breezes underneath shady trees. The time was all too short. 🙂

Going To Bath…

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In the spirit of adventure, have decided to indulge our more adventurous side so in April 2018, we’ll be travelling to Bath, England to partake in a Victorian era ball (with the time frame of the early to mid-1870s). Sponsored by Prior Attire, a reproduction garment maker in England, the ball is scheduled for April 28, 2018 with some subsidiary events the day after. So, we’ll be spending three days in Bath and four days in London and we’re excited and hard at work drawing up our “hit lists” of places we absolutely have to go see. Naturally, fashion will be one of major interests and there will be plenty of opportunities… 🙂

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We’ve already bought tickets to the ball and secured excellent airfares on Air New Zealand so things are falling into place nicely. Stay tuned for more! 🙂