All posts tagged: menswear

Unexpected treasures: antique textiles at the Honolulu Museum of Art

When I go on a trip, I like to look back over my images when I get back and see what the first image I took was: the first thing that inspired me to pull out my camera and commemorate it. This is my first photograph from my recent trip to Hawaii: It’s an 18th century shoe in the textile store at the Honolulu Museum of Art. I love this.  It’s so typically me: the first thing I wanted to do on Oahu was go to the HMA, and the first thing I immortalised was a 250 year old shoe – not the usual Hawai’i image at all! I’m lucky enough to know the director of the Honolulu Museum of Art (formerly the Honolulu Academy of Art), and he really wanted me to meet the textile curator and tour the textile store.  Was I interested?  Are you kidding!  Of course! I thought the HMA textile collection would be very Hawai’i focused – all Hawaiian quilts, vintage holoku, kapa (barkcloth) and woven lauhala mats, with perhaps …

Terminology: What is a balmacaan?

We’ve looked at items of womenswear like swiss waists, and fabric for womenswear like aerophane.  I think it’s high time for a menswear terminology post. How about a balmacaan?  A balmacaan is a single-breasted, unstructured calf-length overcoat with raglan sleeves and a Prussian collar, usually made of tweed or gabardine. Balmacaans started as menswear in the mid-19th century, and were adopted for womenswear at the end of the century (sorry, can’t help it.  Pretty much every article of menswear has been incorporated into womenswear at some point).  They were particularly popular as motoring coats for women in the first few decades of the 20th century. The name balmacaan comes from the Balmacaan estate which is near Inverness in Scotland.  Intriguingly, the term balmacaan for a coat does not seem to have been used in New Zealand, though one of the few New Zealand-born hereditary lords, the 11th Earl of Seaford, inherited the estate as part of his baronetcy. Balmacaans are definitely meant as outerwear.  Their loose shape makes them eminently suitable for pulling over layers …