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18th century, balls, events, travel

I put one costume away, I take it back out…

So, bad news but not horrible — the ball at Vaux-le-Vicomte has been cancelled.  This is what I get, karma-wise, for trying to so something this fabulous without Trystan and Sarah!  Apparently they didn’t sell enough tickets (not well advertised, price was really high, start time really late).  I’m disappointed but not traumatized, as my first thought when I heard something had gone wrong was that the whole thing (ie the Sunday Journee costume event) had been moved to another date and/or cancelled, so I was initially relieved that at least Sunday was still on.  But, now we’ve found out that we’re still going to get to do the costumed dinner, and there will be some kind of evening entertainment, and apparently they light the chateau with candles at night, so who cares, we’ll have fun!  I put away the polonaise thinking I’d only need one costume and pulled some of the trim off my hat to re-trim it to match the francaise — now I need to pull the polonaise back out, and put the original trim back on!  Such is life.

In other news… I leave Friday!  EEK!  I am busy getting organized and will start packing today.  EEP!  EEK!

18th century, travel

Getting Ready for France!

So I leave for Paris in one week — EEK!  I realized this the other night and thought I’d better get my butt in gear in getting everything ready.  I’m not making anything new, but because these should be the Best Costume Events Evah! I want to have some great accessories.

I’m putting together a couple of elements for the ball, but I didn’t have any ostrich feathers in colors I liked.  Quelle horreur!  I did have some gold ones, but when I held them up with some white for contrast, they suddenly looked all natural/beige-y, which is not a look I wanted.  I remembered that you can dye feathers with Kool-Aid, so off to the grocery store I went!  Here’s what I ended up with — original gold color on the left, the same gold covered with Black Cherry Kool-Aid:

I also want a fabulous hat for the day event.  I’m bringing a really huge pouf because, hey, it’s FRANCE!  And I don’t have any good hats that fit over that.  So I took the hat that SHOULD have been made to go over a 1770’s pouf, but got sidetracked into a 1780s style — and which I have never worn.  Obviously it wasn’t meant to be!  So I pulled some of the trim off and reshaped/retrimmed it.  I had a HARD time figuring out colors.  It’s going with the red & white polonaise, and the only things in my stash that worked were blues or greens.  I ended up going green — it’s not perfect, but I wanted something a little more pastel because that’s what feels appropriate.  The vintage glass berries are there to tie in with the dress — hopefully it will work!

18th century, balls, events, travel

I Love Paris in the Late Springtime/Early Summertime…

[Side note:  you are all heathens for not being excited about that Gainsborough portrait!]

So the thing I keep meaning to post about, but then get distracted by how busy life is these days, is… I’M GOING TO PARIS IN MAY!  EEP!  SUPER exciting!  I’ll be visiting Lisa, who lives in Paris, for a week and a half.

Beyond wanting to visit Lisa, and who DOESN’T want to go to Paris?  The thing that is getting this nervous flyer on a plane by herself is…

I’m going to be going to Vaux-le-Vicomte!  Which is the French chateau that was the inspiration for Versailles.  Specifically, to the Grand Bal Costume — a 17th/18th century (required! yay!) costume ball, with dinner beforehand.  The ball will be in the Grand Salon, which sounds very promising; and will have a Baroque musical group, and period dancing. (Side note:  I am amused that the ball goes from 11pm-3am, which is so VERY European!).  There will be fireworks in the garden.  I may die of happiness!

This is the room the ball will be in:

Grand Salon du chateau de Vaux le Vicomte

And then on Sunday, I’ll be going to the Journee Grand Siecle, which is a 17th/18th century costumed afternoon at Vaux where attendees are encouraged to bring picnics, plus there are various demonstrations/activities.

Journée Grand siècle - Château de Vaux le Vicomte

I am BEYOND excited!  I hope to meet/re-meet many European costumers I’ve chatted with online.  And and…TWO COSTUME EVENTS IN NOT JUST PERIOD BUILDINGS, BUT OVER-THE-TOP FABULOUSLY PERIOD BUILDINGS!!!  Where history happened!

Of course, there will be other adventures — I plan to spend as much of a day as I can stomach at the Louvre.  And there’s other costume stuff… but I’ll save that for the next post!

Oh, input desired!  I am going to wear my 1780 polonaise for the picnic day.  Which francaise should I wear to the ball — the peach or the black?  I am purposely NOT stressing myself by trying to make something new for this!

18th century, exhibitions, research, travel

Costume Accessories Exhibition

First, thanks to everyone for your kind words about my riding habit and Brunswick!  I really liked them, and I’m happy that you liked them too.  (I mean, what if I had horrible taste?)  I’m still irritated about the giant bust wrinkle on the habit, but oh well!

So, now I want to post about the Costume Accessories exhibition (next post, the symposium)!

The exhibition was really cool.  Not huge, but big enough.  What I really liked was that precisely BECAUSE it was focused on accessories, it made me notice tiny details that normally I would miss because I’d be looking at overall gowns/outfits.  A lot of people have been posting photos from the exhibition, so search around on Flickr if you’re interested; here are some of my highlights:

(Note for those reading on the LJ feed — LJ drops my image captions, so you may want to link to the post on my site if you’re interested in reading the notes that go w/ the photos!)

These photos and more from the exhibition can be found on Flickr.

1760s Brunswick, 1778-9ish riding habit, 18th century, 18th century wigs, exhibitions, projects, travel

Back From the 18th Century

Phew!  With the first of what will probably be a few posts:

The Costume Accessories Symposium was faaabulous.  So many interesting research presentations, so many lovely people to meet.  Plus, chances to dress up and run around Colonial Williamsburg!

First, my outfits!  Everything came together relatively well.  I finished most of the habit shirt ruffles and cravat on the plane, although I didn’t have sleeve ruffles until day 2.

I had been planning to do cream bows on the Brunswick, but at the last minute came across some vintage blue ribbon in my stash, and had the genius idea to use that instead.  I was seriously not wanting to wear the Brunswick — I was worried I was going to look like a combination of Aunt Pittypat and a butterchurner.  Luckily, when I put it all together I actually quite liked it, and then when I put the hat on, I loved it.  Yay!

Friday night was an in-costume dinner at the King’s Arms, followed by a chamber music performance, organized by Barbee.  It was really lovely, as almost everyone was in costume, the food was good, and the music was gorgeous.  Both venues were only lit by candles — be still my beating heart!  And afterwards we had dessert at a local home.  I got to meet Abby (shout out:  I had no idea that wasn’t a wig!  We kept calling you “the girl with the fabulous wig,” guess we gotta revise that!) and talk rumps, and Gwendolyn and talk about her work at the Costume Design Center.  I wore my “this old thing” peach francaise.

Saturday was riding habit day.  I loved this outfit too, despite the ginormous wrinkle that developed at my bust point (WTF?).  I felt all sporting (in the 18th c. sense) and tailored, and it was fun to wear it with others in their habits(es) as well.  I wore the habit again for dinner on Monday night.

For some reason this picture makes me happy - I feel like an 18th c. woman on the Grand Tour, looking at antiquities!

I wore the same hat & wig with all of my outfits.  I really wanted to make one of the black hats with tons of feathers that I see in so many riding habit portraits; I was particularly lusting after Lady Worsley‘s hat.  Thanks to all of your good advice, I ended up getting the wool felt hat blank from JAS Townsend in the largest size they had, which as you can see isn’t large enough to really settle down on my wig as far as the hats in portraits, but it worked.  I did the most craptastic job shaping the brim — I couldn’t find anything in my house that was the right shape, so I used a series of bowls and just moved them around as I steamed the crap out of the hat.  Then I covered it in black feathers, some of which blew weird ways in the wind, but I finally figured out how to attach them so that by riding habit day, the hat was looking like what I wanted.

For the wig, I took apart one I had styled before.  I really wanted that particular style that you see around 1779-81 (example), which is somewhere between a pouf and a hedgehog.  I made a lower form than I normally do for a pouf, and ginormous curls.

In the next post, I’ll talk about the symposium and the exhibition!  In the meantime, you can see all of my photos on Flickr.


Williamsburg, Ho!

I’m half-way packed, and mostly done sewing (just some handsewing to do on the plane — ruffles for my habit shirt) — aieeeeeeeeeee!  SUPER excited!  I’ve been too busy to take photos of the final bits, but I promise to post some photos and updates while I’m gone.

I’m terrible with connecting names and faces, so if you’re in Williamsburg, come on over and say hi!

1760s Brunswick, 1780s stays, 18th century, projects, travel

Colonial Williamsburg Accessories Conference

So, I normally don’t make New Year’s resolutions — I mean, ever.  But last night I couldn’t sleep, and one of the many resolutions I out-of-nowhere settled on was to try to post at least five times a week on this here blog.  Because it’s languishing, and that’s silly!  And I have lots of stuff to post about, so I just need to get my butt in gear.  I might do a bit more “general costume history” in addition to what I’m up to…

First thing to post about:  I’m going to the Colonial Williamsburg Costume Accessories symposium in March!  I am super excited, because as you know I have been all about the 18th century for the last few years… not just in my costuming, but also in my research.  So I’m excited about getting to hear new research and hopefully meet some interesting people!  I’ll be going a few days early so as to have time to run around in costume and have fun.  The last (and only) time I went to CW, we had literally one day, so there’s so much left to see and do.  Also, it’ll be fab because lots of costumers I know are going, so it should be a real party!  If you’ll be around, let me know and we’ll hook up!

Of course, this adds new wrinkles to my costuming to-d0 list… the short version is that I want to finish the Brunswick and make a 1770s riding habit.  Of course, I NEED to finish my stays before I can start on the habit, and given that it’s hand sewing, there’s only so much I can do to make things go faster.  I’ve spent a good deal of my winter break sewing, and will continue to do so, but I think I’m letting go of the need to hand sew the habit — I think it’s going to have to involve some machine sewinBut g to get it done in time.  But more on that in another post!