Sunday, August 27, 2017

Walk in the Park

victorian, watercolor, art
What better way to spend a sunny summer afternoon than in the park? The Victorian aristocrats certainly agreed with the notion, treating the park as the perfect leisure destination.
flowers, butterflies, watercolor, victorian
 "Flowers and Butterflies"
ready to wear, women's fashion
Still dressed in proper attire, families would descend upon the park’s open green spaces for quality time, and of course, to see and be seen.
 "Two Women Crossing a Field"
Maurice Prendergast captured many of these moments with watercolors, pencil, pen and ink during his time in the Boston Public Garden between 1895 and 1897. His quick sketches and watercolors captured the mood and style of the late-Victorian wealthy inhabitants of the city. 
 "A Woman in a Veiled Hat Decorated with Poppies"
ready to wear, women's fashion
A couple hundred years later, Alexander McQueen captured bits of the same Victorian spirit with his Spring 2007 collection.  
ready to wear, women's fashion

 "Four Vignettes of Fashionably Dressed Women"
ready to wear, women's fashion

This period of the Victorian era saw a transition in female dress and form. Queen Victoria was still on the throne of England, but there was a gentle relaxation in female dress that mirrored artistic movements of the preceding years. The rigid corsets and bustles began relaxing into a frothier look layered with lace and soft edges that mimicked the softer qualities of Impressionist paintings.
 ready to wear, women's fashion

ready to wear, women's fashion

 Sport clothing would soon be making its way into the wardrobes of both men and women, with the rise of the Gibson Girl and new types of athleticism and leisure activities. However, nighttime formal attire would still include suits and hats for the gentlemen and a glimpse of skin for the ladies.
ready to wear, women's fashion

ready to wear, women's fashion

For a day in the park, the fashionable lady would don the latest style that included leg-o-mutton sleeves that emphasized volume at the shoulder before tapering to the wrist. ready to wear, women's fashion

"A Woman Reading a Book"

Or she might ensure that the lines of her dress were like those of an hourglass, hugging the waist before flaring outward. With high collars and a long hourglass figure, the silhouette was tall and slim.
 ready to wear, women's fashion

ready to wear, women's fashion, victorian
Each watercolor Prendergast put on paper caught a moment in a time, a glimpse of a world that would quickly fade into the next era. Just as the throne transitioned to a new ruler, innovative art movements made their way onto the world’s stage and styles and values evolved with the passage of time, there is a reminder in these sketches that each moment must be lived...captured with the colors, movements and spirit it has to offer before it passes you by.    
 "The Streetcar on Tremont Street"
ready to wear, women's fashion, victorian

Runway Photos: 
Artwork: Met Museum

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Mad Hatter

When Alice fell down the rabbit hole she found herself in a world of fantasy, curiosities and a little bit of nonsense. 
The world of Lewis Carroll's 19th century Alice's Adventures in Wonderland comes alive with vibrant characters like the Hatter and March Hare. Famous for his illogical quips and fantastical style, the Hatter is best known as the Mad Hatter. 
Perhaps the Mad hatter got a little crazy from making one too many hats and got a dose of mercury poisoning as was common for Victorian textile workers. Or maybe being stuck in time at a never ending tea party with the March Hare and Dormouse had him feeling a bit crazy.
Whatever the reason for his kooky behaviors, it is still a tea party I wouldn't mind going to alongside Alice. With a little inspiration from John Galliano's Spring 2009 collection, it's possible to join the party with a hat that would make Lewis Carroll and his Hatter proud.
Pastels, florals and splashes of bright pink and orange create a storybook color palette.

The hats are so colorful, fun and whimsical that they are almost a character on their own. Soft fabrics, satin ribbons, tulle, jewel broaches and feathers all add unique dashes of delight to each hat.

The tea party is still in full swing for us to we just have to find the rabbit hole and we'll be on our way. 

Runway Photos:
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