Saturday, May 22, 2010

Titus Sparrow Park, and a New Hat

Today I did a dance performance with the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers. Some very nice gentleman donated the money for a beautiful fence to be put up around this park. It is very lovely, so admire the fence.To celebrate the new fence, there was a dramatic and lovely opening event, and the organizers hired us to do a dance performance. There were lots of other things going on as well - antique bicycles, horse and carriage rides, Louisa May Alcott - but the main event was a large orchestra playing Strauss music, which was just wonderful to listen to.

For the event (which I took very few pictures of, apologies), I decided that I needed to trim a new hat. So last night, I pulled out a random scrap of obnoxiously slippery pink fabric, and plain straw hat, and did this to it!
And here is the outfit as a whole, if you were curious.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Failures in Shopping - Moulin Rouge necklace

I just discovered something very neat, and simultaneously sad. There is a point in the movie Moulin Rouge where the main character is given a dramatic diamond necklace. See here.

It is sparkly, and pretty, and drippy, and cast metal (rather than wired, which makes things look cheaper). And it was once available to buy. Jessica McClintock made and marketed a reproduction a couple of years ago. But of course, I did not know about it then, and as far as I can see the only way to buy one now is to be very lucky and find someone selling an old one. This is a sad day for shopping. The world deserves more sparkle.On the bright side, I have recently ordered something very very sparkly, but I don't want to say anything until it arrives. I will have to show you later! Also, I am working on a project, but that I will reveal tomorrow!

Thursday, May 20, 2010


The New York Public Library has this in its photostream. It is a map from 1866. So it is possible that Bloodville no longer exists. This makes me sad, because I want to live in Bloodville. What a fantastic name! To be fair, Gansevoort is pretty cool too.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What, Another Peacock Dress?

I am not actually planning on making a peacock dress, I promise. I just keep finding interesting ones, and this is too cool not to share.

These are pictures of Mary Victoria Curzon, Baroness Curzon of Kedelston. Her husband was the viceroy of India, so she had a reason for the indian influence in this dress. This dress was from the house of Worth (so you already know it is going to be good), embroidered all over in gold peacock feather designs, and in the eye of each feather was a beetle wing. The blue-green beetle wings were so pretty and sparkly that people though her dress was covered in emeralds and sapphires. Isn't that a great story?

And this one I just thought was cool. Here she is in India, with her husband, and a tiger. Cool.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Event Announcement - Returning Heroes Ball

Saturday, May 29, 2010
The Berlin Massachusetts Town Hall

The Commonwealth Vintage Dancers will be holding their annual Returning Heroes Ball. And it is in less than two weeks! You should definitely show up to this most elegant of fairy-tale experiences. It is an 1860s ball, and it is the only ball where we require period dress. So in terms of the time-travel experience, this is probably as good as it gets. There will be gorgeous music by the lovely Spare Parts, delicious refreshments, beautiful people, and of course fantastically fun dancing!
For the serious details, see the CVD website here. In fact, go there this very moment to buy a ticket in advance! Here is a brief rundown of the facts, though:

The event is in the Town Hall of Berlin, MA, on May 29.
The fee is $25 per person ($20 Berlin residents, $15 students) if registered in advance. ($5 additional if tickets purchased at-the-door)
This includes admission to the ball and to a pre-ball workshop. I promise you don't need to know how to dance to learn enough to have a wonderful time. Dances will be taught at the ball.
If you have any questions about the clothing, dancing, etc, you can call Barbara at 781-396-2870 or email Unfortunately this event is our most intimidating, but it is also incredibly special. So don't be intimidated! Everyone is really nice, and you shouldn't hesitate to ask questions. We'd love to help, and we'd love to see you there!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Shallow Boaters

I've been feeling a need to have a really cute boater hat with a very shallow crown. Modcloth had one in red that I adored, but they don't seem to be selling it anymore. They still have one in straw color, and it is very pretty. Then recently I found another side called Berkley Hat which is selling three colors. Pretty pretty. Something to keep in mind, although I don't really need to buy more hats at the moment without a very good excuse. Aren't they really lovely, though?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Another Peacock Dress

Ruth St. Denis would not have worn this one, though. I see no way you could dance in that thing. But it is very dramatic. And very expensive. Interesting.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Ruth St. Denis Peacock Dress Returns

This is kind of cool, having seen the photograph of her actually wearing the dress. Here is a painting of Ruth St. Denis in her Peacock dress.

Friday, May 14, 2010

More of Ruth St. Dennis

Oh wow. What incredible costumes. I especially love the parasols for the Burmese dance and the train on the Peacock. Oh wow. I am a bit jealous, though I'm not quite sure where I would even wear such outfits. Wow again.

Ruth St. Dennis in The Peacock.
Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn in Cuadro Flamenco, a Spanish gypsy dance scene. (1923)Ruth St. Dennis in a Burmese solo dance. (1923)

Thursday, May 13, 2010


As you may or may not know, the Hans Christian Anderson story of the little mermaid has very little to do with the happy Disnified version. For example, she gets legs, but every moment she feels like she's walking on knives. This is a really beautiful 1976 version of the rather less happy version of the story. It is just so pretty! Unfortunately, it is in Russian. Youtube has a few clips with translations, but the clips don't include the whole movie and the visual quality of those is just not as good. So take a look at the Russian version. You can still appreciate how gorgeous it is. Here is the begining. I don't like water, but I have to admit that the underwater sequences are stunning. Also, in the fifth segment she dances. Remember that she's dancing on knives, though.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ruth St Denis in The Greek Veil Plastique, 1918

Who is Ruth St Dennis? What is the Greek veil plastique? Too lazy to find out. But I love clothes that trail behind you. Oooh. Again, from the New York Public Library's Photostream.

Ruth St Denis in The Greek Veil Plastique. Used in vaudeville act.
Ruth St Denis with Edna Malone, Betty Horst and Doris Humphrey in Greek Veil Plastique.
Ruth St Denis in The Greek Veil Plastique.Ruth St Denis in Greek Veil Costume.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

White Leather Gloves

I mean, of course they're expensive. But I still think it is fundamentally really cool that you can buy modern manufactured fine leather long gloves. I think I could wear those to a ball, don't you? Yes. The company is here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Woman playing the piano, 1906

Woah. Now that is a dress for playing piano. So cool. From the New York Public Library's Photostream.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

August Foulhause - Sunday Afternoon

Pretty ruffly dresses. I like the matching girls in blue and white. not my favorite time period, but I am so picnic obsessed lately.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

American Hats, Spring 1902

Now, you are absolutely sure that "milliner" is no longer a viable career option, right?

Check out the really cool hat with the bow and trailing ruffles in the back. Neat. This is from the Claremont Colleges Digital Library where they have a fashion plate collection. Cool.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Wings of the Dove

I recently saw this movie, but this post is not actually about the movie itself. The plot is very sad. You may or may not like it. That is all I have ot say on the matter.

This post is about the dreamy, drool-worthy costumes, about which I have much more to say. Specifically, the exquisite hats. I am suffering such extreme hat envy!

The movie opens with this costume. I couldn't get a picture that really does it justice. Incredible blue and black feathers, a delightfully swooshy brim... I am in love. She wears it with a lovely coat, too.But wait, there's more! Check out this beautiful green concoction (if Monet made hats...?), and the asymmetrical velvet with lovely curly feathers. I want them both!
This one has a similar shape to the first, but it does have more tilt. It swooshes up on the side, but also in the back... it is remarkably difficult to capture the complexity of these gorgerous hats with screencaps, but if you watch the movie you will see everything. This hat appears to be black on the bottom, but sort of silvery on the top, with cool trim and a bird wing for good measure. I love it!Not a hat, but I totally need black feathered headdresses with sparkly bits.
In fact, thre are a lot of beautiful things in this movie that are not hats. I was drooling over most of the coats, and there were tons of dresses I would wear in a heartbeat. Even the extras had incredible things to wear. I am particularly in love with this dress. I want it so much now! It is hard to see the details, but look for the adorable little buttons down the front, and the pretty lines of the dress, and the lovely shot coppery blue fabric, with the cool copper collar and delicious crumply sash. Oh, I love it so much!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Space Mountain... Steampunk?

Apparently Disneyland in Paris has made a variety of pretty and old-fashioned posters. I stumbled across them here. I am struck by this poster of Space Mountain. It may be a totally modern thing, but it is pretty and sort of Steampunk looking to me. Let me once again point out where this is... Paris. As in French. I keep saying that Steampunk is French... they don't even have to do it on purpose, it just happens!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


On Sunday I went with a friend to wander about Boston. It was way too hot and humid for me (my friend is from Florida though, bleck!), but it was also very pretty out. It was surprisingly busy, since we didn't know the walk for hunger was that day. It was also a little chaotic, because there was a giant pipe break that compromised the water supply for Boston and several surrounding towns. It was a bit of a mess. Starbucks was not allowed to sell drinks with ice in them, because the water is not sanitary. McDonalds wouldn't even sell hot coffee, which is presumably boiled. Anyway, that was not my point.

The point is that we saw lots of lovely things (seriously, the tulips in the public gardens are incredible right now), including a Quidditch Match! Emerson college a
ppears to have a very serious quidditch team. The game seemed a bit complicated for me to really understand what was going on, but it was interesting to see. They all had brooms and everything. Here are a couple of pictures.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Charles River Museum of Industry Steampunk Event

After driving home from Dances of Vice, it was time to hit the Charles River Museum of Industry for an event that we had helped to conceive of (so we certainly had to attend it!). The museum is not very well known, but it is really lovely. It is all about industry and machinery, so they have really cool things like a watchmaker's bench set-up, a stunning early telephone booth (my favorite), a steam powered fire engine, and more! Unfortunately, with the recent flooding (and since the museum is right on the bank of the Charles River), it was pretty severely damaged. This event had to be postponed, and even so some of the damage was evident. It is really a shame. Hopefully the success of the event will help somewhat with the costs of the damage. Hopefully it will also have raised awareness and found new members, because the last time I asked, before the event was even over, well over 600 people had come in!

The event itself was lovely... there were a number of demonstrators and vendors with great things to look at. Mother taught some dancing, with the lovely Ad Hoc Quadrille band accompanying her. More than anything, I am glad so many people showed up. Here are some pretty pictures.People doing the Gothic Dance. I love that dance.One of the display tables was advertising for a steampunk larp. They had steampunked nerf guns, and let people shoot at a stacked soda cans for a prize (a fake mustache!). Here is my little sister trying her luck... she hit the cans on the first try, actually. Her outfit includes a short hoop I made and the red corset I made for her Queen of Hearts costume for Arisia, if you remember back that far.My outfit was pretty unremarkable. Another appearance for the super-cool upholstery vinyl Edwardian corset I made. I love that thing.
Goslings! There were a bunch of geese hanging out around the museum, including all these cute little goslings! There was a goose fight when we first arrived... two geese locked necks and violently batted their wings at each other. It was really quite dramatic! There was also a nesting goose just outside the museum. She was really concerned about so many people walking by. Poor thing.