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18th century

18th century, 18th century wigs, Bella Donna, events, GBACG, Lumieres

So What Else Has Been Going On?

There’s been NO sewing since the vampire dress last fall. Mostly because WIGSBOOKWIGSBOOK, but also because WIGSBOOK turned my sewing room into a STY the likes of which it may never recover from. Seriously. I go in there to get something, then run out and shut the door because I have The Fear.

Nonetheless, there have been a few dress up occasions over the past 6-8 months:

I went to GBACG’s Bal di Carnivale, which was a FAAABULOUS masked 18th century dinner. Since the theme was 18th century masquerade, I wore my fancy dress Maja costume, with my 1938 Marie Antoinette wig, and a black and silver harlequin mask. The wig was a last minute idea — I was stressed because I had no time to make anything for myself, but given the WIGSBOOKWIGSBOOK, how could I show up at an 18th century event in a crappy old wig? All of my current red wigs have seen better days, and frankly, they’re just not up to par even if they weren’t looking ratty! I was so glad to realize the white wig would work, and I think it really added to the ensemble.

Francis and I were asked to perform a minuet, something that I learned how to do about a year or two ago. It has been a life dream to learn, and we performed it at a Lumieres dinner and again when we were in France. I said sure, then when the day of came got super grumbly as we were last minute scrambling to remember the steps. But then when we danced it, it felt super magical, and I was so glad we did!

A month or two ago, Bella Donna performed at the San Jose Fantasy Fair. This was our second time at this fair, and it’s a lot of fun — almost all the audience is little kids, and we play crazy-in-a-good-way OTT princesses. I wasn’t in the mood for a complex costume or big hair, so I ended up doing a riff on last year’s Pirate Fest 18th c. outfit, but with super princess-y hair, with a braid around my head and long curls on one side. And a ton of flowers and ribbons, to dress things up. We had a great performance — we do a ridiculously silly show that is essentially a mash up of Cinderella and The Bachelor. And in our space, we had a tea party set up for little kids, which was SO cute — kids just knew it was for them, marched right up, plopped down, and started playing tea party.

And finally, I went to a Lumieres 18th century dinner, which was lots of fun. I was nearing the book finish line, so I wasn’t in the mood AT ALL to wear anything complicated — so I wore a black striped 18th c. jacket that I banged out a few years ago and have never managed to blog with a white cotton, embroidered petticoat. I threw together a new wig, which I ended up powdering because I ran out of time to dye my hair! I don’t have any great pics, but here’s photographic proof:

(C) Niki Rotheneder

Oh, and I almost forgot! I went to a semi-interactive theater performance set in a 1920s speakeasy. I dressed up in a modern, slightly faux-1920s silk charmeuse dress with a pretty flower printed on the lower portion, and a vintage 1920s black silk satin evening coat — and the repro Great Gatsby bandeau. And my husband went, in a modern suit as he doesn’t have anything 1920s!

18th century, 18th Century Hairdressing Book, 18th century wigs, publications

Preview the 18th Century Hair & Wig Styling book!

I’ve posted a few scattered pages from the 18th Century Hair & Wig Styling: History & Step-by-Step Techniques book, as well as a final table of contents, on the book’s website.

Of course, I had to choose some of the less exciting pages to post, as I don’t want to be giving anything away for free!

If you’ve been waiting to order a copy, I expect to have ordering up and running by this coming Thursday, June 5, 2014. (Reminder: the book should ship in early July). I will, of course, post far and wide when ordering is available!

18th century, 18th Century Hairdressing Book, 18th century wigs, publications

Ladies and Gents, We Have a Book!

Or, the printer has the files! I’m incredibly proud (and relieved) to announce that I’ve finished the 18th Century Hair & Wig Styling: History & Step-by-Step Techniques book manuscript. That’s 25 wigs and hairstyles DONE, piles of research DONE, piles of writing DONE, piles of editing and copyediting DONE, piles of images edited and annotated DONE… and probably more!

The official book cover!

People have been asking me over the past year, “So, what are you up to lately?” To which I say, “Wigs. Book. Wigs. Book.” Yeah, it kind of took over my life, as this dead and dormant blog will prove. It doesn’t help that I also had a research presentation to prep and give (yesterday!) for the Costume Society of America conference in Baltimore (where I still am!).

The good news is that I can now have a brain for things other than wigs and books. I’ll be posting previews from the book to whet your appetite, giving you some behind the scenes info, and also updating you on the 18th century court dress project (short version: postponed to 2015 for me and any other slackers! Overachievers, go for it for this year!), blogging about 18th century court dress… and hopefully more!

Right now, though, the important news: the book will be published in early July. I’ll have pre-orders open in the next week or so, and I’ll post here and on the book’s Facebook too.

18th century, 18th Century Hairdressing Book, 18th century wigs, publications

18th C. Hair/Wig Book – Five Days Left!

There are only five days left to pre-order your copy of 18th Century Hair & Wig Styling:  History & Step-by-Step Techniques, and save yourself $5 off the cost of the book!

I’m thrilled to announce that my Indiegogo campaign is fully funded!  This means I’m going to be able to print tons of copies, using high quality paper & binding, and include all of the tutorials that I planned.

So why should you still pre-order?  Because any additional sales gives me more money to use to license images from museums, meaning more fabulous and helpful 18th century images of hair (especially those elusive back views)!  And because if you pre-order before January 31, you save yourself $5!

Pre-orders close this Friday, January 31 at 11:59pm Pacific  Time.

Pre-Order the book here!

18th century, events, GBACG, shopping

And in other news!

Pre-orders for the 18th c. hair/wig book are going swimmingly — I’m only $750 away from my goal!  Of course, some of that money is for shipping, so fingers crossed I’ll go OVER my goal and then I’ll REALLY be able to license images up the wazoo!

But in other news, there are two cool things coming up that I wanted to tell you about!

Bal di Carnival

The first is that my local costuming organization, the Greater Bay Area Costumers Guild, is putting on a REALLY fabulous event that you should think about attending:  the Bal di Carnivale, on February 8 in San Jose.  Seriously, this one would be worth flying in for (Southwest flies to San Jose! I’m just saying!).

The event is set in 18th century Venice, and costumes should be 18th century, and CAN be fancy dress/carnivale costumes.  With no time to sew and wardrobe full of 18th century, I’ll be wearing my Maja fancy dress costume, a big wig, and a harlequin mask.  Actually, the mask is the one element of the painting that I ran out of time to recreate, and I was initially thinking this would be the perfect opportunity… until I realized a full face mask and eating/drinking won’t go well together. Bastards!

The venue is a hotel that is supposed to be gorgeous.  I haven’t seen it, but all my San Jose friends said “ooo!”  There will be a five course Italian meal, wine, and dessert. And for entertainment, the Dolls of Doom will be performing — professional acrobats!

New 18th Century Dress Pattern

Any day now, Hallie Larkin and Stephanie Smith of The Hive/At the Sign of the Golden Scissors will be coming out with a new 18th century dress pattern.

Hallie is a very respected costume researcher and costumer based in New England.  She and Stephanie are coming out with what will be the first of many patterns — the first one for a 1760s-70s fitted-back English mantua.

Why is this exciting?  Because they are approaching the pattern from a historically accurate point of view!  Not only is the gown drafted from a real historical piece, but most importantly, the sewing instructions are going to walk you through how to construct and hand-sew the dress in a period correct manner.  This is the first source that I have heard of that will actually walk you through the process, step by step.

And, the dress looks really pretty!

I’m not positive if they are taking orders yet, but they will be any day now… and when they do, you can order the pattern here.  You can read more about the dress project in various posts on Hallie’s blog.

18th century, 18th Century Hairdressing Book, 18th century wigs, publications, research

18th C Hair & Wig Styling book – new perks! Onward!

Pre-orders have been going great with the 18th C Hair & Wig Styling book — I’m just over 50% funded, with 19 days left!  BUT I still have a long way to go, and orders have really slowed to a trickle.  So to encourage more pre-orders, I’ve added some new perks to the Indiegogo campaign!  You can pre-order the book with one of these new perks, OR just buy one of the perks without the book (if, for example, if you’ve already pre-ordered the book):

DONATE WITHOUT BUYING THE BOOK:  A few people have requested this.  You can contribute any amount to the project by using the “Contribute Now” button, but to make it easier, I’ve set it up to easily donate either $10 or $20 to the book project without buying the book.  This gets you my eternal gratitude and your name listed in the book as a supporter.  Also, for those who can’t currently afford the book but would like to see it happen and maybe buy it down the line, if you the $10 or $20 now (or any amount), I will credit you that amount if you buy the book at any time in the future… AND I will sell you the book for $45 minus your credit (rather than $50, the post-pre-order price) at any time.

DETAILED ACCOUNTS OF WIG MAKING & HAIR STYLING FROM THE 18TH CENTURY:  Would you be interested in reading the actual text of 18th century sources?  Then you should consider ordering my English translations of the VERY long, multi-page French descriptions of both from Diderot’s Encyclopedie (1776) and its later edition, the Encyclopedie Methodique (1789).  The 1776 source has been translated into English, but it’s long out of print and if you search for it at online used book stores, it will cost you a minimum of $20.  The 1789 source has not been translated into English to my knowledge (and I’m a librarian, so if it existed, I should be able to find it).  You can support the book project by donating $27 and receive both translations in a PDF document without buying the book (for example, if you’ve already pre-ordered the book), or you can pre-order the book AND get the translations for $75 total.

MARIE ANTOINETTE PENDANTWant to wear a bit of 18th century fabulousness every day?  I’ve designed a small silver pendant (.75″ diameter) with a reproduction of an 18th century fashion plate featuring Marie Antoinette.

Marie Antoinette pendant

You can donate $32 to support the book project and receive just the pendant without the book for $32 (for example, if you’ve already pre-ordered the book), or pre-order the book AND get the pendant for $80 total.


IMPORTANT NEWS ABOUT THE INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN:  Like I said, I’m well on my way, but I still have a long way to go!  If the Indiegogo campaign doesn’t get fully funded, I’m going to be limited in the amount of money I have to print the book.  This may mean that I will need to limit the number of copies I am able to print, which means I may not have extra copies to sell later on.  In other words, if you want a copy of this book, you should pre-order it before January 31, because you may not be able to buy a copy later!