Three Years Ago Today…

It was three years ago today that we made our first journey to London after a hiatus of many years. It was a crazy adventure and while we experienced a bit of mild culture shock, it was a very mind-opening experience for us. We’re looking forward to picking up things again in October and hopefully a lot of the COVID craziness will have subsided. So here’s hoping! 🙂


20180422_115426.jpg

After a 10 1/2 hour night flight from Los Angeles, we finally arrived in London at about 11:30 am , Sunday morning (well, technically it was Heathrow Airport). Then came the fun part of actually getting from the gate to the terminal proper to claim our baggage and perform all the usual immigration formalities. It seemed that the walk took forever as we trudged down seemingly endless corridors but finally we made it to immigration. The immigration officer looked at us a bit askance when we told her that we had three bags and would only be in the UK for a week but things cleared up when we explained that we were going to a formal dance in Bath and that we had one ball gown and a day dress along with the all the requisite underpinnings. 🙂

20180421_111625.jpg

Getting ready to leave home…I think we were a tad overloaded…

After a chaotic train ride (won’t make that mistake again!)  from heathrow to Paddington Station, we finally caught a cab and were soon ensconced at the Montana Hotel, our home for the next four days. In the course of travelling, we came to the realization that we’d packed way too much clothing and our bags weighed what seemed to be a ton. Also, we discovered very quickly that there’s lots of steps that can make moving heavy bags somewhat inconvenient.

Finally, we must note that we arrived at the tail end of a heat wave in London topping out at 80 degrees- air conditioning is usually absent in older buildings and it can get a bit hot and stuffy, especially given the humidity (as compared to Southern California). Getting into the hotel was also interesting when it turned out that the elevator was about the size of a shower stall…we had to bring the luggage to our room in shifts. Finally, our room was located in what would be considered a basement, there was a window so it wasn’t completely underground but it was a strange feeling, to say the least.



Out The Door!

A quick dress check before out the door!  🙂

 

 



More At The Atelier

Why else wear a colored petticoat, if not to show it? Some secrets are better shared. 🙂

 



Some 1900s Style At The Atelier

Still patiently hand finishing the applique work on this dress so I can finally work on the bodice. Are any of you still working on finishing Quarantine dresses? I predict we’ll all emerge like butterflies. 🦋

 



Some Mid-1880s Day Dress Style

When it comes to later 19th Century fashion, certain dresses are remarkable either because of their cut and silhouette, colors, or fabrics. Today we present this circa 1885 day dress that combines all of these elements:

Day Dress, c. 1885; Five Colleges and Historic Deerfield Museum Consortium (HD V.114)

In terms of silhouette, this dress follows a fairly typical mid-1880s style and there’s no surprises there but when we turn to the fashion fabric itself, it’s a completely different matter with wide vertical stripes combined with narrow stripes, all in the same  shade of purple.

The fashion fabric consists of a combination of wide vertical and narrow horizontal purple stripes over a dark ivory background.

And just for comparison, here’s are two examples of what was more the norm for striped dresses of the period:

Day Dress, c. 1880; The Museum at FIT (P92.21.1)

Day Dress, c. 1880s; From the collection of Alexandre Vassiliev

In contrast to the purple striped day dress, the above examples are all constructed of striped fashion fabrics, the stripes of different colors. While combining horizontal and vertical stripes was not unknown during the late 19th Century fabrics, it usually involved combinations of different colors. Let’s take a closer look at the dress details:

Upon closer examination, we see that the fashion fabric appears to be a faille- Bengaline, or perhaps a Fouillard, and that the the light areas between the stripes is a variegated ivory and black. Also, it’s interesting to note that the horizontal purple stripes are of a slightly darker shade of purple and that each “stripe” is actually three rows of pin-striping. When viewed at a distance, these pin-stripes merge in one strip.

And here’s a very tight close-up of the dress fabric. Note the cross-wise horizontal rib characteristic of a faille/Bengaline. Judging from the luster and drape, we estimate that this is a silk Bengaline or perhaps cotton and silk- it’s hard to say without further analysis. It’s also interesting that the horizontal stripes are not all one color but rather appear to have rows of a lighter ivory (?) alternating with the purple rows.

Some may find this dress to be visually jarring and that we our initial reaction. However, upon closer examination, we found that it contained some subtle nuances such as with the variegated ivory/black background and the three pin-striped horizontal stripes. Also, the fabric weave further enhances the stripe style.  This dress is certainly an interesting style that amply demonstrates that style is found in the details. 🙂