All posts tagged: 1880s

Rate the Dress: Walking in blue, ca 1884

Last week I showed you a forward thinking and backwards looking tea gown.  It was quite a divisive garment.  Some of you appreciated the way the flowing fit would flatter a fuller figure, but others found the design confusing and unresolved, or disliked the colour.  It got a lot of very high scores, and a lot of very low scores, evening out at 7 out of 10.  I suspect it might have rated higher if we could have seen it on a mannequin that was really the shape of the original wearer. This week we’re sticking with the theme of slightly alternative fashions, with an 1880s walking dress with a bit of inspiration from the Aesthetic movement. This dress intrigues me because it almost looks like the mythical Regency dress-made-from-a-sari, only 70 years late.  The metallic trim around the hems works with the cobalt blue to give the dress a slightly exotic feel.  The trim is so unusual for a garment like a walking dress of this period, that I’m almost inclined to think it’s a …

A tale of sewing secrets revealed…

One of the things that I really love about fashion history is that clothes are both individual and societal stories.  There are general overall societal truths and trends, but there are also examples in every period of people creating things that were totally unique, making do, and making things up.  There are a lot of examples of quite unique innovations in early NZ fashion history, as people attempted to follow European fashions with limited resources and without access to a full range of materials and patterns. This particular story of someone’s clever make do, and the unfortunate reveal of their secret has always amused me. During the recent windy weather I was meandering along Kaponga Road in the evening when I espied a fair damsel turning the Bank corner.  She wore one of those arrangements the ladies call a ‘waterfall’ which the wind blew to one side, and shewed to my horrified gaze, a neatly tied bundle of straw, doing service as an improver. The story is recounted in Eve Ebbet’s In True Colonial Fashion: A Lively Look …

Rate the dress: 1880s 18th century remake

Last week I showed you a blue-green & black 1860s dress with embroidered embellishments & a dash of Renaissance inspired historicism.  Your overall reaction to the dress was pretty positive – the vast majority of you either loved it, or felt that it was rescued from the potentially deadly frumpyness so common in 1860s dresses by the perfect colour combination and above-average embellishment. But nobody liked the collar! Collar aside, the dress came in at an extremely impressive nice round 9 out of 10. I’m sticking with the historicism theme of last week, but putting a different twist on it.  Many 1880s dress took inspiration from the 18th century, but this one from the MFA Boston has actually taken an 18th century quilted petticoat, altered the shape to fit the current styles, and used it as the entire skirt of the gown. The quilted petticoat has been paired with a bodice and trained overskirt of ecru silk with brocaded green and red flowers,  and trimmed with pleated silk in palest gold, and fascinating three-dimensional floral trim (I …