New At Atelier Lily Absinthe!

We’re pleased to announce that we’re now distributors for Folkwear Patterns at Atelier Lily Absinthe! Here’s just a few of our personal favorites:

This pattern has clear, concise, easy to understand directions and construction is very simple with no surprises. This pattern is size-inclusive with sizes range from small through 3XL. Although it’s aimed at the early 1900s, this style will also work for the mid to late 1890s. To order, please go to our Etsy Store.

Edwardian Underthings is one of Folkwear’s earlier patterns, first being published in 1978 (it was one of our first historical patterns at a time when there weren’t many on the market), it’s been updated with inclusive sizing ranging from extra-small to 3XL. This is another pattern with clear instructions and construction is uncomplicated. With camisole, drawers, and petticoat, this is the perfect set to construct a basic set of Edwardian Era undergarments. Also, although it’s primarily focused on the Edwardian Era, it will also work for the late 1890s. To order, please order from our Etsy Store.

 

And for the men, there’s the Victorian Shirt! This is a basic shirt pattern that will work for the 1870 to 1900 time frame. This pattern is sized for men’s extra-small through extra-large (men’s sizes 30 1/2 through 48). To order, please order from our Etsy Store. These are only a few of our offerings and to see them all, please go to our Etsy Store at  Atelier Lily Absinthe.

Spring Is Coming…Doucet Style

Spring is here and that means long sun-filled days, time spend outside, and of course, picnics. ♡ Below is a circa 1900-1903 afternoon dress from Jacques Doucet:

Doucet, Afternoon Dress, c. 1900-1903; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.579a, b)

This dress is constructed from a white silk chiffon with a printed lavender floral design and trimmed in horizontal bands of lace running up the skirt. Lace is also liberally used on the bodice in vertical stripes and a large centerpiece at the neck. Bands of turquoise silk velvet on the sleeves and a large turquoise silk velvet sash at the waist completes the look.  The term “afternoon dress” seems to have been used somewhat interchangeably with “lingerie dress” which describes dresses made from lightweight diaphanous materials such as lightweight linen, cotton, organdy, chiffon, and voile. This is just one example of a characteristic style of the first decade of the 20th Century. Stay tuned for more! 🙂


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Spring Is Coming… 😉

Spring will be here sooner than you think and that means weddings. If you’re looking for that right wedding dress, we can help!😉 Feel free to contact us HERE.


Fashion As A Business- The Early Years

Races at Longchamps, Manet, 1867

Races at Longchamps, Manet, 1867

Today we go to France to take a look at the start of the fashion industry. “Fashion,” as we know it today, began to take form during the late 19th Century. Essentially, fashion was something that was entering the public consciousness on a scale broader than anything ever seen before. The industrial revolution played a major role in the development of fashion in a rising standard of living combined with the development of new methods of manufacturing textile goods made clothing more affordable for more people. Along with this was the rise of the middle class who now had the money and the leisure time to be able follow fashion more closely.

Where once fashion was limited to a monarch and his court, now fashion was far more defuse. Also, just as important, fashion and clothing manufacturing were developing into larger business enterprises and business concerns often drove fashion. This is similar to what we see today but only on a more limited scale with a smaller clientele. Along with the commercialization of fashion by Couturiers such as Charles Worth, Jacques Doucet, Paul Poiret, and a host of others, was the need to more effectively market their fashions. Where word-or-mouth was sufficient, more direct methods of getting fashion styles (i.e., product) before the public were needed and thus developed advertising, fashion journals, fashion plates, and later, fashion photography. With the development of the fashion industry and marketing, those who followed fashion wanted to see these fashions “live”. The concept of the runway show as a public spectacle was still years off but other ways to show off the latest styles were employed.

If it's seen at Longchamps, then you're OK... :-)

If it’s seen at Longchamps, then you’re OK… As is the case today, being seen in a public place with the just the right outfit could make all the difference. 🙂

Once such method was dressing up models with the latest styles and sending them to various public social gathering such as the horse races at Longchamps and in particular, the Grand Prix de Paris which was held every year in July. More than just a horse race, it was a day-long affair that provided a venue for people to see and been seen and that of course meant what they were wearing. Naturally, the press covered these events and end was result was free publicity. Below are just a few of the examples of the styles worn at Longchamps during the period from 1900 to 1914.

Les Modes, 1904

Les Modes, July 1904

Longchamps1

Longchamps2

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The women in the above pictures are wearing versions of the lingerie dress and one can see the influence of the s-bend corset although the silhouette is somewhat muted by the fluffy layers of fabric on the dresses. These definitely fall in the 1900 – 1910 time frame, probably more towards 1902 – 1905. And sometimes, fashion at Longchamps could cause a sensation…below is a picture from 1908 of three models wearing designs by Jeanne Margaine-Lacroix (known simply as Margaine-Lacroix) and dubbed by the press “Les Nouvelles Merveilleuses”:

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c. 1908, “Les Nouvelles Merveilleuses” as dubbed by the press- these three models caused a furor at Longchamps when they arrived- these dresses, designed by Jeanne Margaine-Lacroix were considered scandalous at the time.

The above three dresses definitely got public attention, in part because they completely did away with the conventional corset while at the same time creating a skin-tight silhouette by utilizing stretch fabrics in the dresses themselves to create the form-fitting silhouette.  Susie Ralph, a fashion historian, described it in an introduction that opened an exhibit on Margaine-Lacroix in 2013:

In 1908 Jeanne Margaine-Lacroix sent three mannequins to the Longchamp race-course clad in her form-revealing robes-tanagréennes. These corsetless dresses caused a sensation among Paris’ fashionable crowd – a riot according to some newspaper reports. Worn without corsets and slit to the knee on one side over the most transparent of underskirts, their impact on the fashion world was instantaneous and resulted in major press coverage not only in Paris but around the world. In today’s parlance the style immediately “went viral”….It was Margaine-Lacroix’s daring vision that brought to an end the ideal of the rigidly corseted hour-glass figure, and ushered in the new, slim twentieth century silhouette.

Margaine-Lacroix is an interesting designer in her own right although she is relatively unknown today. Hopefully we’ll be writing more about her in the future. Here, is where the above picture originally was featured:

new-picture-7

Controversy is no stranger to the world of fashion then or now and the debate over what exactly is too “revealing” still rages on. Moving on, fashion photography becomes ever more pervasive during in the years from 1910 – 1914. Here are some more examples:

1912-at-the-races

1912, Watching the races standing on chairs. The lines on these two dresses reflect the moved towards a more sleek, upright silhouette. Goodbye s-bend!

1914

1914, Here is an interesting design incorporating a waistcoat and cutaway coat.

Public spaces like Longchamps provided a venue for people to see “fashion in action” and for us, it provides a fascinating archive of fashion history that helps us to see fashion that is alive. We can see just how garments were worn, how they fit, and even gain some insight into the people who wore them.


Postscript:

Originally I set out to write this blog post about the development of fashion and how it was publicized on public places. However, along the way I also discovered the Les Nouvelles Merveilleuses controversy and the work of the a relatively now forgotten designer Margaine-LaCroix. It just goes to show that you learn something new everyday!😄


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