18th century, 20th century, travel

I’m Back!

So now for the wrap up! First, my UK report: the V&A recently redid their costume galleries and they have some gorgeous new gowns out that I haven’t seen before. Plus I was very excited to stumble across their South Asia galleries, which included three 1780s-ish indienne/printed cotton gowns. The Style and Splendour exhibit was good but not overwhelmingly so, probably because right now I much more excited about 18th century costuming. However, that woman could dress, and I recommend getting the exhibit catalog.

The next day I went to the Museum of London, where I saw their permanent collection, which included a decent number of costumes, but ran out of time to see the London Look exhibit because… I GOT TO FONDLE THREE EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY DRESSES! EEP! EEP! Oh my!

I was specifically interested in the construction of 1780s zone gowns, as when I made my own various questions came up. I got to see two of that style, as well as one with a standard robe a l’anglaise bodice. I had to wear white gloves, and be very very careful, and ask them to turn the dresses over so I could see the back, but I got to touch them! AND THEY LET ME TAKE PICTURES! (Okay, so I had to sign in blood that I would only use them for personal use, but still).

So my report: both zone gowns were compere front gowns, meaning the stomacher piece buttoned down the front, so they are slightly different from what seems to be the standard style (with the stomacher in one piece). One in particular seemed altered from an earlier (probably robe a la francaise?) style, because the bodice overlay (the part that goes up into the inverted V) was made from what was probably a sleeve ruffle. If you lifted it up, you could see that they had folded the fabric over, and underneath the edge was cut in pinked scallops. Both dresses had the overlay (again, the part that makes the inverted V) sewn in with the underbodice (which shows as a stomacher), but the overlay was loose past the side seam, unlined, and probably was pinned or sewn at the CF top. Oh, so hard to explain without photos. Unfortunately I can’t post the photos I took because of said signing in blood, but I’ll have my laptop at Costume College so if you’re interested, look me up.

The final costume sighting was at the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, where I was surprised to find a small Fashion & Style gallery. I was excited about this 1880 dress, while my husband got excited about the Teddy Boy and punk costumes on display. Read more about their collection.

A few links missing from previous posts:

You can see a VR view of two rooms in the Musee du Costume et de la Dentelle (Brussels) here.

You can read about the Modes en Miroir exhibit (18th c. French & Dutch fashion), and see a few garments, at the Musee de la Mode de la Ville de Paris, here. MOST IMPORTANT: If you’re at all interested in 18th century costuming, you simply must buy the exhibit catalog for Modes en Miroir: La France et la Hollande au temps des Lumières. It’s available from Amazon.fr for about $45 US (not including shipping). Even if you don’t read French, there are enough gorgeous gowns pictured that you really really really should get it.

There’s a PDF description (in French) of the exhibition on Paris during the Direcoire and Consulat (post-Revolutionary period) at the Musee Carnavalet, which includes a photo of one of the exhibited dresses.

Photos shall be forthcoming soon!

Finally, while in London I got a stack of costume DVDs that are not yet out in the US, so get excited to see my action-packed reviews of Abduction Club, Casanova, Fingersmith, and North & South. I did fondle the L50 House of Eliott series I DVD, but successfully resisted the urge to fritter away my rent money.

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