Footwear: 1880s Style…

In our various discussions of period clothing, footwear has been somewhat neglected topic. With dresses coming down to the lower ankle (if not further), it’s easy to overlook footwear- after all,  they’re covered- out of sight, out of mind. 😉 However, when one does take a look at period women’s footwear, one can’t help be taken in by some of the amazing styles. During the 1880s, boots were an especially popular form of footwear and could take some very elaborate forms:

Woman's Embroidered Boots c. 1885

François Pinet, Women’s Embroidered Boots, c. 1885; Los Angeles County Museum of Art ( M.58.4a-b)

Embroidered silk was one common style…

Footwear Boots c. 1890s

Women’s Boots; Bata Shoe Museum

Contrasting materials and colors was another popular style; in this case it’s gold-colored leather combined with an embroidered silk velvet.

Footwear Boots c. 1889

Women’s Boots, c. 1889; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (37.42.1a-b)

And here we see silk damask…

The above selection is only a small selection of the footwear styles that were out there during the 1880s (and the late 19th Century in general)- the variety is simply amazing. What’s even more amazing is that given the nature of women’s clothing styles, most of the details on these boots would never be viewable to the casual observer. Clearly a very private form of aesthetics was at play here… 🙂 Stay tuned for more!


London: The Planning Continues…

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The planning for our upcoming trip continues and naturally, we’re overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices to visit. 🙂 As previously mentioned, the V&A Museum is at the top of our “to do” list but there are others to consider…

One strong contender is the Museum of the City of London with its varied exhibits on the history of London itself ranging from the prehistoric to the modern. One of the galleries that really caught my eye was the one covering the Roman Era from AD 50 to AD 410 (hey, once upon a time, I was a Classics major in college 🙂 ).

Bucklersbury Mosaic, AD 250

Another contender is the Tate Britain (formerly named the Tate Gallery) which houses British art from 1500 to the present. While we appreciate all eras of art, we’re drawn to the “Impressionists in London” exhibit which runs through May (perfect for us). Better yet, they have some of our more favorite artists such as James Tissot who has always been a source of inspiration for us:

Karin Tissot

Portrait 1876 by James Tissot 1836-1902

James Tissot, “Summer” (Portrait), 1876

James Tissot 1874

James Tissot, “Ball on Shipboard”, 1874

It’s one thing to see the images that inspire us online or in a book, it’s a completely different thing viewing them up close and in person so we’re definitely looking forward to the experience. 🙂


Coming Up…The 26th Motion Picture Costume Design Exhibition


Image result for academy awards best costume design


very year we make a point of hitting the Motion Picture Costume Design Exhibition at the FIDM Museum and this year is no exception. Now in it’s 26th year, the exhibit features a selection of costumes from the year’s most popular films (in this case, 2017) to include Academy Award nominees for best costume design. We’ll be making a trek in the near future and we strongly urge anyone with an interest in costume to visit. For more details, follow the above hyperlinks. See you there! 🙂

Adam’s Atelier Prepares For Costume College

Iam pleased to announce that three of my class proposals have been accepted for the upcoming 2018 Costume College on July 26-30, 2018. Held annually in late July, Costume College is an event devoted to costuming in its many forms, whether historical, fantasy, or somewhere in between. Classes and presentations consist of both lecture and hands-on workshop formats and are all taught by volunteers. For the past several years, I’ve been giving presentations on various aspects of costume to include American Army uniforms of the WWI Era, Paul Poiret, and Couture of the 19th and early 20th Century.

This year I will be reprising my Paul Poiret presentation (revised and expanded) as well as presentations on designers Charles Frederick Worth and Elsa Schiaparelli. While Worth and Poiret make sense, given our primary areas of emphasis, Elsa Schiaparelli seems a bit of a stretch…well, not so! Here at Lily Absinthe, we are interested in all eras of fashion and we draw inspiration for all eras when it fits the particular design objective we may have in mind and especially when it comes to designers who came after the Belle Epoch.

Image result for dali schiaparelli

Schiaparelli in particular has always been a source of fascination for both Karin and I in that she combined the shocking and outrageous with the practical and down-to-earth ranging from surrealist-inspired shoe-hats and immaculately tailored suits and elegant evening dresses. Moreover, we’re fans of her widespread use of pink- she even has a distinct shade of pink she named “shocking pink.” 🙂

Image result for shocking pink schiaparelli

July is a ways away but I’ll be busily preparing my presentations and it promises to be an exciting time. More to follow! 🙂


Planning For The V&A…


On our upcoming trip to Bath, we’ll be spending a few days in London and heading up the list of places we’ll be visiting is the Victoria & Albert Museum (aka the V&A). The V&A has an incredible fashion collection to include items from the 19th Century and it’s been one of our main go-to websites for online research. Now we’re going to have an opportunity to actually see some of their holdings in person (at least the ones that are not in storage). Here’s one dress that we’re looking forward to viewing in person:

Day Dress Princess Line V&A 1870 - 1880

Day Dress, c. 1870 – 1880; V&A Museum (CIRC.606-1962)

Day Dress Princess Line V&A 1870 - 1880

Rear View

According to the V&A website, the date is circa 1870 – 1880 although we would argue that it’s more like the late 1870s/1880s- the Mid-Bustle Era- the princess line combined with the nearly non-existent train would suggest that. 🙂 The princess line creates a large-scale “canvas” of sorts for displaying dramatic decorative effects, in this case rows of ruched silk. Framing it is a floral silk jacquard in a floral pattern. Also, the hem has two layers of pleated silk to matched the ruching material above.

Of course, as with all on-line research, it’s often hard to completely see the dress details and often there are subtle elements that are overlooked. However, it’s gratifying to know that we’ll be able to view this in person and hopefully the details will make a stronger impression. We’re definitely looking forward to visiting the V&A! 🙂