Just in time for that rosiest and most romantic of holidays, the theme of the Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #3, due Sat 15 Feb, is Pink.
Pink is an interesting choice for a historical based colour challenge, because pink is, in itself, a fairly modern concept as a colour in the West. More than a few hundred years ago, the shades that we might term pink were considered variants of red or brown. To make pink even trickier, when you look at older garments and older illustrations of garments, it’s hard to tell if a fabric was intended to be a pinkish tone, or has faded to that from brown or red.
So, in choosing inspiration for your pink item, and your pink materials, you’ll have to use your own discretion to decide if your colour is a shade of pink, and if that pink would have been appropriate to your timeperiod and the status of the wearer, as such things matter to you.
To give you a jumpstart, I’ve created a pinterest board of rosy-hued fashions (or at least ones that I consider pink). It runs in roughly chronological order backwards in time – so far I’m only up to the end of the 18th century, but don’t worry – the last 145 years of HSF eligibility will be covered soon!
For now, here are a few of my favourite pink pretties:
You’ll remember Margaret of Anjou in her pink cloak, though the ensemble as a whole wasn’t very popular with many of you:
At least Margaret’s cloak is definitely pink, not just faded red. It’s harder to tell what the shades of clothing in Domenico Ghirlandaio’s masterpieces were meant to be, but I hope at least some of the rosy shades in this work are close to his original vision, as they are so very fetching:
Pink was extremely fashionable throughout the Renaissance and into the Baroque, for men and women alike. I would LOVE to see Mr D in something like this:
I think this portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots is adorable. It’s like an Elizabethan valentine! Unlike her life, of course.
Due to the popularity of pink in the 17th century, there are some amazing pieces of extent clothing in equally amazing shades of pink:
The 18th century is pretty much pink, pink, and more pink. It’s so easy to find pink 18th century inspiration, with shades ranging from rich rose:
To cherry-blossom pink:
To the muted peach that was probably considered a shade of puce:
Pink remained popular for frocks, and less often, outer and over-wear, in the early 19th century, from this darling plaid number:
To the rich plum-pink of this frock:
Pink may have been momentarily displaced from the height of fashion by the bright shades of the new aniline dyes and the dark tones of late Victorian dress, but it certainly never disappeared. There were barely-pink shades like this:
To shades that definitely took advantage of the new dyes:
One of my favourite pink frocks of all time is not a fancy ballgown, but a very simple dress. I love the idea of a cook in her pretty pink frock:
More elaborate frocks are pretty too:
There are some glorious pink 1920s fashions, like this one which perfectly illustrates that, even in pink, 1920s frocks needn’t be frumpy or saccharine:
And I know it’s just a catalogue illustration, but can you really imagine the middle dress with anything but pink bows!