Portfolio: 1882-83 Aline’s ‘By the Seashore’ Ensemble

The Idea and Inspiration:

To recreate Aline Charigot’s ensemble from Renoir’s 1883 painting By the Seashore, now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New  York City.  The outfit celebrates Aline’s skill and imagination as a dressmaker and milliner, and the added touch that her choice of fabrics and trimmings gave to Renoir’s paintings.

As much as possibly the ensemble was based directly on what is seen in Renoir’s painting, backed up by research on ca. 1880 patterns and construction for the type of garments shown in the painting.  As the whole skirt is not visible in the portrait, I had to extrapolate what it might have looked like based on other artworks and photographs of the same period, as well as extent garments.  Additional skirt details and inspiration for the first skirt were  taken from Tissot’s 1883 painting The Bridesmaid.

The second skirt was inspired by a 1879 painting of Jeanne Samary by Jules Bastien Lepage, as well as the accompanying photoshoot that shows Jeanne in the outfit she wore to pose for the painting sessions.  Additional research and inspiration came from an 1886 ensemble in the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The bonnet was based on a ca. 1880 bonnet of similar shape in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

By the Seashore, Renoir, 1883 The Bridesmaid, Tissot, 1882 Jeanne Samary, Bastien-Lepage, 1879
Cotton dress, ca. 1880, Met Museum Luncheon (detail of Aline), 1880, Renoir Straw bonnet, ca. 1880, Met Museum

Fabric and Materials:

Jacket of Prussian blue linen-cotton blend.   Jacket lined in cotton with cotton lace and vintage buttons to trim.   Skirt 1 of beige and blue tartan cotton voile over a cotton canvas base. Skirt 2 of blue and white tartan cotton over a cotton broadcloth base.

Bonnet of prussian blue linen-cotton over buckram base, lined in indigo-violet silk, and trimmed with tartan ribbons, white cotton broderie anglaise lace, and rosettes of silk trimmings in shades of blue and violet.

The Dress Diary:

Introduction and inspiration

Draping the skirt

Skirt construction

Re-doing the skirt ruffles

Cutting and sewing the jacket

The sleeves

Jacket construction and fitting

Skirt research

Jacket and skirt construction and details

The finished ensemble and a photoshoot

At the Capturing the Mode talk

Aline’s ensemble at a Dr Who ball

Aline’s bonnet part I

Aline’s bonnet part II

Madame O as Aline

Research and Resources:

  • Arnold, Janet.  Patterns of Fashion Vol. 2: Englishwomen’s Dresses and Their Construction, c.1860-1940. New York : Drama Publications, 1997.
  • Blum, Stella.  Victorian fashions and costumes from Harper’s bazar, 1867-1898. New York : Dover Publications, 1974.
  • Cartledge, Pamela.  Dress for All Occasions: Women’s Costumes from the 1880s and 1890s. Hartford, CT: Conn. Historical Society, 1987.
  • Cunnington, C. Willett.  English Women’s Clothing in the Nineteenth Century. New York: Dover Publications, 1990.
  • Ewing, Elizabeth.  Everyday Dress, 1650-1900. London: Batsford, 1984.
  • Hunnisett, Jean. Period Costume for Stage and Screen: Patterns for Women’s Dress, 1800-1909. Studio City, NY: Players Press, 1991.
  • Johnston, Lucy.    Nineteenth-Century Fashion in Detail. London: V&A Publications, 2005.
  • Ribeiro, Aileen.  The Art of Dress: Fashion in England and France 1750 to 1820. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995.



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