I’ve blogged about almost everything I wore to Costume College this year, except one: the one thing that was actually on-theme (1960s), and that I didn’t make.
I thought I’d give myself a break from corsets on Sunday, and wear a nice loose, flowing dress. Something that was both 1960s, AND fit the class I was teaching on Sunday: Tapa Cloth & Tiki Attire: the Pacific Influence on Fashion.
This was the dress!
Ironically, despite choosing it for comfort, this dress was the most least comfortable thing I wore all Costume College. Every commercially made Watteau-backed Hawaiian dress that I find seems to have been cut for someone who was 5’3″. The bust is too high, and the waist is too high. The armholes dig into my underarms and force my shoulders back to a really unnatural angle.
This one is no exception. 🙁
If you’re thinking that ‘vintage 1960s Watteau-backed Hawaiian dress’ is a very specific description, it is, but they were a ‘thing’ from the late 60s to the early 70s. I collect them, because they are the perfect intersection of my Hawaiian background and my historical costumer background.
I found this one in a vintage store while visiting Lauren of Wearing History after last Costume College. The incredibly vivid, almost over-saturated colours are so fabulous. It’s my first Waltah Clarke’s dress too!
In Hawaiian dress terminology, you’d call this a holomu’u. It’s more formal than a mu’umu’u, but less formal than a fitted, trained holoku – the most elegant of Hawaiian gowns.
I thought I was being clever and original wearing this at Costume College, but holomu’u were a popular choice – particularly for the Friday Night Pool Party. So mine was a bit anti-climactic by Sunday! There were some gorgeous examples. I was very tempted to see if anyone was willing to sell theirs after Friday, but I restrained myself. (It was hard).
I was in such a rush at Costume College, racing between all my classes (I taught waaay too many hours of classes), that I didn’t get a single photo of me wearing this dress. So once I came home and it warmed up enough to make bare arms advisable (barely, I still turned rather purple during the photoshoot) Mr D and I went out and got some photos.
It wasn’t quite as romantic and paradise-worthy as my ‘Watteau in Paradise‘ photoshoot. Hence: ‘almost-paradise’.
Please keep me in mind if you see any of these out in the wild at at a reasonable price-point. Especially if they are made for someone who is about 37-30-41 and 5’7″! I’d really like a few more for my collection!