And We’re Back!

Adam_Doc Holliday Parade1 Tombstone

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. 🙂

Image may contain: drink and indoor

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

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!


wp-1497298119337.

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.

wp-1497298179707.

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:

wp-1497298238426.

wp-1497298102896.

And of course, we took the opportunity to relax…

wp-1497298136646.

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…

Image result for victorian balls 2017 paintings

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… 🙂

Image result for air new zealand

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! 🙂

And Presenting Paul Poiret!

Poiret Sultan

Yesterday was a big day for me, giving two new presentations at Costume College. The first presentation was entitled “The King of Fashion: Paul Poiret, The Early Years”, a survey of Paul Poiret as a couturier/designer during the years 1898 through 1914. Researching for this presentation was not the easiest and it seemed to raise more questions than answers. Poiret was certainly a force in fashion during the years from 1906 through 1914 and although he continued to work intermittently through the First World War and into the 1920s, it was never quite the same.

Poiret_Early Portrait3

One of the most interesting aspects in researching Poiret was that he was not only a fashion designer (dictator, as some critics would charge), but he was one of the first “lifestyle designers” where they worked in all aspects design to include perfume, shoes, furniture,  rugs, textiles, and even interior design.

Interior1

Poiret’s designs and his claims were sometimes questionable, if not controversial and nowhere is this more evident when in 1905-1906 he set out to introduce styles that ran counter to what was in fashion at the time. Most notable was his advocating a Nouveau Directoire style based on draping rather than carefully constructed flat patterns. This meant flowing fabrics, cut into rectangles and seamed with straight seems. The precisely tailored, form-fitting styles characteristic of the early 1900s were rejected in favor of loose, flowing lines and this meant the elimination of the corset as a major foundation garment.

Corset Before and After Poiret

From s-bend corset to…

The s-bend corset was a complete abomination to Poiret, declaring that women had been turned into “decorated bundles” who believed that they must hide their bodies under layers of fabrics. Poiret characterized the corset’s demise as “liberation”:

It was in the name of Liberty that I brought about my first revolution, be deliberately laying siege to the corset.

But if there was to be no corset, what then? Poiret is largely silent on this subject and I was unable to uncover anything definitive except that it women were now to wear a form of girdle and bra that functioned as a “corset light” but was flexible enough to allow a full range of movements. It’s an area that could definitely needs further research.

Turning to Poiret’s Nouveau Directoire style, it was definitely a reaction characteristic of fashion change. Below are some illustrations from a catalog that Poiret put out in 1908:

And here are the dresses themselves:

Noveau Directoire6

Noveau Directoire7

Noveau Directoire3

The above is just a small part of what I presented and I hope to present a revised and improved version for next year’s Costume College. I will say that the presentation was a pleasure to give although I wound up ending early (better than running over, I guess) but that’s OK. Stay tuned for more. 🙂