All posts filed under: Miscellenia

HSF Challenge #14: Eastern Influence

The East has had a profound influence on Western fashions for millenia, from the Chinese silks that were worn in Ancient Rome (much to the dismay of the government, who hired notable writers to create anti-silk propaganda in order to discourage people from wearing it), through Vionnet, Lanvin, Chanel, and Schiapparelli: all the great designers of the 20s and 30s borrowed from the East. There isn’t a single period that hasn’t borrowed from the East, and there isn’t a single Eastern culture that hasn’t been borrowed from.  Islamic geometricism influenced Medieval and Renaissance textiles through the Crusades and the Venetian trade.  Indian influence began in the 17th century when chintzes began to make their way to Europe, and florished again from the end of the 18th century when Kashmiri shawls introduced the paisley motif.  The 18th century saw the fad for Chinoiserie, and the Turkish influence, and the late 19th century the rage for Japonisme. Early 20th century fashion was influenced by every possible Eastern culture, from Poiret’s kimono inspired cocoon coats, to Orientalism of the …

Geraldine to Queenstown in autumn

This week has been frustrating, particularly the last few days. It’s been one of those weeks when you start making dinner, reach into the cupboard for potatoes, and find that the potatoes you bought only a week ago have gone from looking fine and fresh to being rotten potato soup which has seeped throughout your entire cupboard and gotten all over everything. I just sighed, took a deep breath, and remembered last week. Last Saturday I drove from Geraldine to Queenstown in the South Island of New Zealand.  For once I had the luxury of a car to myself, and enough time to stop whenever I felt like it to photograph the scenery. The South Island is often said to have the best scenery in New Zealand, a country noted for its remarkably beautiful scenery, and autumn is a particularly fine time in the South Island.  Wellington doesn’t have enough deciduous trees to make autumn anything but damp and unpleasant, but down south the poplars were turning golden yellow in long rows, sycamores were beginning …

We must go down to the sea again

I do hope everyone is planning something for the Historical Sew Fortnightly ‘By the Sea’ challenge!  There are so many gorgeous, fantastic nautically inspired garments to choose from. According to the challenge guidelines, you can make anything that would have been worn by or on the sea (or river or lake), from ancient Roman ‘resort’ wear to Cleopatras frocks for barging down the Nile, to warm wool and furs to keep exploring Vikings warm, to all the more traditional nautical looks. My favourite seaside looks tend to be a bit more modern and traditional and nautical.  Here are some that I love, and will get around to making…someday…. To start off, a Regency bathing costume may not be a very exciting garment in and of itself, but oh, what a fascinating scene it evokes! By the 1850s bathing costumes seemed to have developed into actual costumes: something a bit more defined than an all-enveloping shift.  This 1850s costume is pretty all-enveloping, but the buttons and bobbles and sleeve trims all lend it a certain nautical …