A pretty post that took almost two years…

I was going through my old photos a few days ago, looking for something specific, and I came across a whole event/photoshoot I forgot to blog about…from December 2013!

Better late than never I guess!

Last December Te Papa (the national museum) had an exhibition of Impressionist artwork from the MFA Boston, and some friends and I decided we ought to go in period dress and pretend we were seeing the art for the first time.

Things came up, and in the end there were only three of us: the Comtesse, the awesome Daniil, and I. But we went anyway, and had a delightful time, and even got an impromptu back-of-house tour thanks to a staff member who was so taken with our outfits, so it was well worth while!

And afterwards, we headed out into the summer evening, and got some photographs with Te Papa:

Dress ups with the Comtesse thedreamstress.com01I‘m wearing my Japonisme ensemble (one of my earlier attempts at historic costuming, and I’d do things very differently now, but still one of my favourites):

The Comtesse is wearing her first full historical garment: a Regency gown.  She went from not sewing at all, to making a corset, and then making this dress!  Seriously impressive!

Dress ups with the Comtesse

You know what else she made?  Her shoes!

Dress ups with the Comtesse


I love this photo:  you can tell how much fun we’re having, and how windy Wellington is!

Dress ups with the Comtesse

We’re entirely surrounded by native plants in this photo.  The red flowers are pohutakawa (the classic symbol of summertime and Christmas in NZ), the plants behind us are NZ flax (harakeke), and the tussock grass is native too.

Since we were having so much fun, the Comptess and I headed off to the Embassy cinema (where the LotR Return of the King world premier was held), for the beautiful Art Deco lobby, and the moreish florentines and tea.

And more photos!

Dress ups with the Comtesse

We occupied the chaise longue (I really want a chaise longue, but I’m having trouble imagining a place in our house where it wouldn’t look silly – they need space):

Dress ups with the Comtesse

The Comtesse did Madame Racamier, with shoes off, because as long as you’re in a white 1900s frock and have a chaise, you really have to!

Dress ups with the Comtesse

And we had fun with mirrors:

Dress ups with the Comtesse thedreamstress.com09

Fun times!  Good memories!

Dress ups with the Comtesse


  1. It sounds as though you had a marvelous time, and the photos are great! They show both of your outfits splendidly. Where oh where did la Comtesse find that black shawl? C’est magnifique!

    • Thank you! The black shawl is mine – it’s a 1960s/70s cashmere blend (from Kashmir), and I found it at an op shop and was SO excited!

  2. I really like your Japonisme outfit, and la Comtesse’s gown is seriously impressive. Thanks for posting the photos!

  3. The Comtesse says

    The gown was made from a second-hand sari. It my first time drafting my own pattern. You can see it in more detail in Leimomi’s post about the historical dinner party.

    Also notice Leimomi’s bags, which are c1900 originals.

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