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.

And Now For A New Belle Epoch Ball Gown…

Inspired by Sargent’s portraits, my newest Belle Epoque gown has a gorgeous suite of extant lace and net. The simplest designs mask the most difficult techniques…but this dress dances divinely. Seed pearl choker from Elizabeth Emerson Designs, earrings from Dames A La Mode, gown of course is yours truly…more images to come.

Out and About Munich, Part 2

Lunch was a delightful low-key affair at a local cafe that had an excellent view of the Residenz and after having recharged ourselves, we returned to the Residenz to view the Treasury and Cuvilliés Theatre. The Treasury itself is pretty straight-forward- essentially a large vault with a very massive door- that now houses the Wittlesbach Crown Jewels and other valuable mementos to include a coin collection with some 300,000 pieces. Below are just a couple of examples:

The Wittlesbach Crown Jewels.

It was hard to get decent pictures in the Treasury due to the lighting and glass display cases so I had to lift the above two pictures off of Wikipedia.

We next visited the Cuvilliés Theatre which was a visual treat. Like much of the Residenz, it’s been completely rebuilt on a site that’s close to the original site but it follows the same plan as the original and many of the fittings to include the boxes are original, having been stored away for security during the war. Originally built in from 1751 to 1755 under the Elector Max III Joseph, it was designed by the architect François Cuvilliés the Elder (who designed a number of structures in the Residenz complex). Below are some views that we got:

The stage- This is actually a working theater.

Looking up from the ground floor. There were four levels of seating.

Looking towards the main entrance. Above the entrance is the King’s private box.

Interestingly enough, the theater is a functioning theater and performances are staged here on a regular basis. Of all the places we visited, the theater was the most compelling, helped by the fact that it was fully air conditioned. 🙂 One of the downsides of visiting museums in Europe during the warmer times of the year they have minimal ventilation and the atmosphere is warm and stifling. But in spite of the challenges, it was well worth the effort and just the scale and magnitude of the structures and their furnishings is simply amazing. Stay tuned for more! 🙂

Paul Poiret & Resisting Change

Paul Poiret has always been fascinating to us and his designs and innovations never fail to amaze. At the same time, Poiret is also a cautionary tale on the dangers of not adapting to a changing zeitgeist (the spirit of a particular historical period). Poiret was a bit of showman and he utilized all manner of publicity in order to advance his innovations such as eliminating the corset-created silhouette as an essential design element (even though other couturiers were working on similar designs at the same time such as Jeanne Paquin) and the introduction of the jupe-culotte.

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

Poiret was also instrumental in introducing a simpler, less structured silhouette starting with the Directoire style in 1906:

The First World War disrupted the French fashion industry and Poiret was no exception. Called up for military service, Poiret was assigned to work on simplifying the production of uniforms and while he was successful in this area, his fashion house barely kept itself afloat financially. After the war, Poiret tried to pick up where he’d left off in 1914 but the fashion world had moved on with an emphasis on more simple designs such as those created by Coco Chanel. Poiret’s designs failed to catch on and combined with financial mismanagement and a nasty divorce from his wife Denise, he was ultimately forced to close his fashion house in 1929. In future posts, we’ll delve into some of Poiret’s post-WWI designs and the overall decline of Poiret’s influence as a designer.

Costume College Approaches…

And we’re coming down to the wire here as Costume College approaches…

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. When I presented the class on Schiaparelli last year, it was definitely outside our comfort zone but in it was well received and one of the attendees had even recreated Schiaparelli’s iconic Lobster Dress 🙂 :

One of the fundamentals of our design philosophy is that here at Lily Absinthe, we are interested in all eras of fashion and as such, 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.

 

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

We look forward to seeing you all there!