Happy Boxing Day!

We at Lily Absinthe would like to wish everyone a happy Boxing Day and commemorate the day, we found this interesting 1887 dress in holiday colors:

Day Dress, 1887; McCord Museum (M2009.62.1.1-2)

The dress is constructed from cream and garnet wool and has the characteristic late 1880s silhouette. What is especially striking about this dress are the alternating garnet and cream horizontal stripes on the under bodice and the garnet pouffs on each shoulder. This is a fairly simple design yet both colors are shown off nicely and the horizontal stripes is a unique feature that doesn’t show up too often of dresses of the 1880s. Just a bit of holiday cheer from us to you. 🙂

Parisian Color Trends For Fall 1889

Color is a major element in fashion styles and, as with style in general, it’s constantly in a state of flux. The situation was no different during the Nineteenth Century and while there was no entity like Pantone to constantly monitor the color trends, they were still noted. In the October 1889 issue of Peterson’s Magazine, it was noted that:

The newest color of the season is a rich deep shade of chaudron-red, which has been christened Eiffel-color, after the famous tower of the Exhibition. It is supposed to be of the same hue as the red-painted iron-work of that stupendous edifice, since its tint has been mellowed and modified by the weather. Green, except in the dark-emerald shade, has gone entirely out of vogue. Yellow, in the warm golden tones, will be a good deal used for trimmings,

Probably the most interesting comment is about “chaudron-red” which is a mash-up of French and English for “cauldron red” (or Eiffel Red) and it describes the original color that the Eiffel Tower was painted when it was first erected for the parish Exhibition of 1889. The original paint was meant as a protective coating and had a copper-red color because of its active ingredient, iron oxide, which gives the paint its protective quality, preventing rust to the steel that made up the Eiffel Tower’s construction (even to this day, iron oxide paint is used for treating steel beams). So what did this look like? Probably something like this:

Interestingly enough, recently, when it’s time to repaint the Eiffel Tower in 2021, it has been suggested that it be repainted in the original chaudron-red, similar to the shade depicted above. So far, the French Ministry of Culture has not made a decision…

Besides “Eiffel Red,” it’s noted that green is completely out except in a dark emerald shade, perhaps along these lines:

And for yellow something like these:

And now well things together with some examples of the above colors at work, starting with this evening dress from Maison Worth:

Worth, Evening Dress, c. 1889; Metropolitan Museum of Art (C.I.59.20)

James McCreary & Co., Visiting Dress, c. 1889; Metropolitan Museum of Art

Detail of Cuff

Both of the above dress examples incorporate many of the colors noted in Peterson’s although we must note that there are also plenty of examples where other colors were used; in fashion there’s never any absolutes, just broad generalizations. We hoped you have enjoyed this brief excursion into trending colors of 1889 and stay tuned for more in the future. 🙂



Visiting The Louvre…

One of the most iconic museums in Paris is the Louvre and since we were in Paris, we decided to pay a visit (in the full expectation that it would be crowded). For those who may not know, the Louvre was originally a royal palace that was eventually converted to an art museum after the French Revolution. Today, the Louvre contains extensive holdings ranging from Ancient Egypt all the way through the 1848. To cut down on having to deal with crowds, we decided to go in the evening on a rainy Friday (they’re open until 9:45 on Fridays). Unfortunately, a lot of other people had the same idea so things were a bit crowded in the more popular areas.

Image result for carrousel du louvre

For what it’s worth, we found that the best way to avoid much of the lines is to enter by way of the Carousel du Louvre, an vast underground shopping mall (it’s actually pretty cool, as malls go) that’s linked to the Paris Metro and has an entrance into the museum- the best part about this is that we were able to avoid not having to wait outside in the rain. Also, it’s highly recommended that you buy a Paris Museum Pass before arriving at the museum (you can buy them at the airport or a number of different outlets).

Image result for paris museum pass

So after quickly moving through the security line, we decided to go towards areas that weren’t that crowded so we soon found ourselves in Coptic section which roughly spans the 4th through 12 Centuries. Here’s a few things that caught our eye starting with some funerary masks from the late Roman Era (2nd-4th Centuries AD):

And an interesting Pagan holdover from late Roman Egypt (c. 300-450 AD), a square of fabric depicting Aphrodite’s marriage to Adonis:

And then we move onto Christianity:

The above illustration is Ethiopian…amazing!

We eventually made our way to the painting galleries and were greeted by some very familiar paintings by some of the biggest names in French painting such as Gericault, Delacroix and David:

Eugene Delacroix, Liberty Leading The People, 1830

This is probably one of the most iconic French paintings and captures the spirit of Republican France. This is a HUGE picture! We was unable to get a good picture so we borrowed one from Wikipedia. 🙂

Jacques-Louis David, The Death of Marat, 1793

And a better version:

Jacques-Louis David, The_Coronation_of_Napoleon, 1805-1807

Here’s a better view:

Antoine-Jean Gros, Napoleon on the Battlefield of Eylau, 1808

Please excuse the poor pictures, the paintings are HUGE and it was difficult to get decent head-on shots but you get the idea. The thing that really jumped out at us was the sheer scale of most of these paintings- some of these pictures are easily two stories tall. The Louvre is the perfect place for display but the whole thing can be a bit overwhelming with all the people. We were at the Louvre for some three hours and it was time to go- our energy was flagging and there was a face with our name calling. Just to conclude, in no way had we even scratched the surface of their collections- there’s no way one is going to view the Louvre’s collections in a day, let alone three hours so there’s more to see the next time we come to Paris. 🙂

19th-Century American Dress: Behind the Scenes at The Costume Institute Conservation Laboratory

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has one of the most extensive collections of late Nineteenth Century garments. One of the more notable examples from their collection is one that should be familiar to anyone with a familiarity with 1880s fashions and is often cited as a perfect example of the mid to late 1880s silhouette:

Evening Dress, American, c. 1884 – 1886; Metropolitan Museum of Art (C.I.63.23.3a, b)

Curious to know more about this dress? Well, now you can with this video that was produced by the Met:

In Development- Mantles!

The weather is cooling off and that means mantles, vistes, and dolmans! Here’s one mantle style that’s currently in development. This particular style features large wing sleeves and is styled to amply cover any dress. Stay tuned for more!

The front will feature wide lapels.

The sleeves are actually attached as part of the side seams and when the arms are outstretched, they actually create wings.