Now That’s A Wrap!

Living in Southern California and the Southwest in general, it’s easy to get spoiled with all the great weather- warm, sunny, and few or no clouds. Rain is relatively infrequent so it’s usually something we just don’t think about. Well, it hit us that England is quite the opposite and especially when it comes to rain so we had to do a slight re-think about our wardrobe for the Victorian Ball in Bath and that means a cape. 🙂

Karin Atelier Cloak Mantle

What to do? Obviously an evening cloak of some sort but since we’ve never really needed one in the past, it’s not something that I’ve given much thought to so it was time to a little research into evening cloaks…so here’s some of the many examples I found:

Cloak Pingat c. 1888 - 1890

Emile Pingat, Evening Cloak, c. 1888 – 1890; Metropolitan Museum of Art

This opera cloak made by Pingat in circa 1882 especially caught my eye- the combination of fur and feathers combined with the floral design decoration ivory silk satin is simply stunning.

Pingat Opera Cloak c. 1882

Emile Pingat, Opera Cloak, c. 1882; Metropolitan Museum of Art (C.I.60.42.13)

Pingat Opera Cloak c. 1882

Side Profile

Pingat Opera Cloak c. 1882

Three-Quarter Rear View

And here’s the cloak worn over a dress:

Emile Pingat Opera Cloak c. 1882

Cloak Pingat c. 1879 - 1880

Emile Pingat, Cloak, c. 1879 – 1880; Metropolitan Museum of Art (C.I.60.6.7)

Cloak Pingat c. 1879 - 1880

Three-Quarter Rear View

Cloak Mantle Pingat c. 1891

Emile Pingat, Mantle, c. 1891; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (M.2007.211.38)

Interestingly enough, In my search, it seemed that the most striking examples were those may by Emile Pingat and after some thought, we decided that a full-length cloak would be the most effective and practical design, especially given that my ball gown is a Mid-Bustle Era design so after going through my collection of original patterns, I came up with one from the early 1890s that I could modify:

Karin Cloak

Angus,  our creative consultant checks out the faux fur, trying to determine what animal it came from…

Karin Cloak

Curved gores follow the shape of the underlying ball gown.

Karin Mantle Cloak

Here’s a good view of the corded floral design.

We’ve used a pale blue silk satin and lined it in ivory silk moire. The cloak is also trimmed in a faux fur (primarily to avoid issues with potential vermin infestation). The cloak is still under construction but we’ll be finished soon and when we are we’ll post some more views here. 🙂

From The FIDM Museum- Some Shoes

In a previous post, we touched upon boots and how they were pretty ubiquitous as footwear during the 1880s and late 19th Century in general. While researching something else, I came across a couple of examples of formal shoes residing in the permanent collection of the FIDM Museum. First up are a pair of evening shoes from circa 1870:

Shoes Footwear c. 1870

Evening Shoes, c. 1870; FIDM Museum

In terms of style, the heels on these shoes are fairly low compared to some specimens out there (like today, heel height was often a matter of personal preference). The stockings that these shoes are displayed with are just as interesting with their elaborate design that serves to extend the visual line of the shoes up the leg- very scandalous… 🙂 Finally, the silk magenta fabric and bows really make these shoes a stand-out.

Next, there are this pair of evening shoes from the 1890s:

Shoes Footwear c. 1890s

Evening Shoes, c. 1890; FIDM Museum

Constructed of a dark blue suede leather decorated with gold embroidery, these are reminiscent of 17th and 18th Century styles a la Versailles- can you say “Sun King”? 🙂 The accompanying stockings compliment the shoes with their lighter shade of blue and also decorated in the front with gold metallic embroidery which serves to extend the lines of the shoes up the front of the legs.

The above two pairs of shoes are elegant and their condition is simply amazing- they look as fresh as the day they were made. We have plans in the near future to hopefully delve deeper into the world of Victorian footwear- too often it’s treated as an afterthought.