Thursday, July 28, 2011

Walking on Broken Glass

First of all, HUGH LAURIE.

Second of all, why is she so upset? She has Hugh Laurie. Third of all, her feet probably just hurt from running down all those stairs... the guy knows how to teleport or use the elevator, which is faster anyway. WAIT A SECOND, is that Prince George?Oh, wait... it's Hugh Laurie!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fur Boas of the Nineteenth Century

Here we are in the dead of summer, and I've developed an interest in fur. Fashion knows no reason! Actually, I think the issue is that I've been watching long miniseries set in Russia (most especially War and Peace, but a few others too), and everyone just looks so good in those furs. Anyway, on a whim I started looking for early pictures of fur boas. I feel sort of weird about those (are they scarves? stoles? collars on steroids? Where does one draw the line?), but no matter how you cut it I've found many more pictures than I would have guessed I would, so I'm collecting them here in roughly chronological order. Get ready!

So to start off really early, here is an 18th century portrait of Caroline von Baden.I've seen these cute ice skating pictures before, but I never really noticed that the women are wearing fur boas. Cool!Here is an 1805 Ingres portrait.And another regency portrait - I adore this one!Here is one from 1823.This is a hilarious caricature from 1829. Look! Her "great boa tippet" is a boa constrictor. Tee hee.This is a picture of Fanny Essler's sister (I wrote a little about her while on my gypsy ballerina kick - she was a very famous ballerina). Knowing that, it must be approximately from the 1830s.With that dumb hair and those crazy sleeves, this must be 30s too.Here is an 1835s fashion plate with a stunningly long boa.This one is 1835-1836 and not only does she have an impressive boa, but her turban is amazing.Here is Maria A. Bek in 1840 by Karl Brullov, with and without a kid. This one is so lovely.1842, another very neat portrait.1848. This is the only picture where I've seen a man wearing one. Crazy.Ok, so this is getting a little late (1910), but it would be a fine look for Titanic events (the anniversary is coming up, you know!).Ooh, and this, 1914.And 1916.Another 1914... I love the white fur AND sparkles!1918, but her name is Antonia too! Princess Antonia of Luxembourg, to be precise.Oh well. Here are a few more early 20th century fur boas, then.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dick Turpin on Horrible History

When I was young, I went to England for a week with my family. While there, I discovered the coolest book series for 12 year olds EVER. It was called "Horrible Histories," and it was these really funny illustrated books fully of silly or absurd facts about different historical time periods. They all had great alliterative titles (like the Ruthless Romans or the Terrible Tudors). They were really charming and silly books.If you pay any attention to this blog, you may have noticed that I also adore Adam Ant, a fabulous 1980s British pop star. Of particular note is his song "Stand and Deliver," a great song with an amazing music video starring Adam And as a fashion-conscious romantic highwayman. Fantastic!

Just recently, I've discovered that the Horrible Histories have become a television show! Which features skits ranging from gross (clearly aimed at the 12 year old audience) to absolutely brilliant. Among the very best? Check out this music video about Dick Turpin, a totally unromanticized look at the life of a highwayman.
For comparison, here is Stand and Deliver. Oh, this is no accident.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Ball Supper

I have just stumbled across this painting by Adolph Menzel. I think it is really lovely, and I find it fascinating to see everyone balancing their plates and eating, not sitting at a table. I especially love the gentlemen in fabulous uniforms, slightly bent over and eating while standing. What is between the legs of that guy in the front? Is it his hat? I suppose that if you're going to hold a plate you can't very well carry your hat, but it is so comical!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sparkly 1890s Bows

A friend of mine is beginning to plan out a totally sparkly and fabulous 1890s dress. She asked for a little help with inspiration pictures, and here is what I came up with. If anyone has any other pictures of beautiful dresses with sparkly bow motifs, let me know! Anyway, here we go.

This one is a little too early (1888), but otherwise perfect. I love the hyper-stylized bows with super-sparkle. Pretty pretty.
This one only has only one sparkly bow, and it is black (I believe she is planning something with those brilliant white swarovski rhinestones), but it is really nice anyway. According to the Met it is 1892-1894, and OF COURSE it is a Worth.
I was already in love with this dress, so even though it isn't a bow motif, I still thought of it anyway. You could just as easily do this with bows as with flowers, and I love all the sparkle!
This is just for fun - I actually think it is kind of unattractive, and it is certainly not what she was looking for. But that is one dramatically large bow motif at the bottom!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Regency Wheat Sheaf Fever

I think wheat sheaves are super pretty. So imagine my delight at finding all these fabulous fashion plates which use wheat as decoration! Whether you stick it in your hair or on your bonnet, what a lovely accessory. Some of these are obviously a little late to call regency, but oh well. I am very inspired to incorporate a wheat motif into a regency ensemble.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ballet Hussars

In Swan Lake, Prince Siegfried is supposed to get married. In fact, there is a very Cinderella-ish ball with bunches of princesses, and he is supposed to choose one. In the Tchaikovsky ballet, one of these princesses is Hungarian, and there is a Hungarian song during the ball for her accompanying Hungarians to dance to. There is a film of the American Ballet Theater dancing Swan Lake in 2005. The costumes generally are beautiful and fascinating, but the coolest costuming moment for me was the Hungarian dance. Look! They are Hussars! Admittedly, they are odd ballet Hussars, but enough of the elements are recognizible anyway.
You may already know that I have a bit of a thing for red shoes, and red dance shoes particularly. I wear little red dance boots on a very regular basis. So imagine my adoration of these fabulous red Hessian dance boots! With tassels and everything! Then, of course, there is all that decorative knot work on the pants, and impressive braid on the dolman, and even a peliesse (although I admit that the fabric choice is very odd for a Hussar). I don't know who costumed this show, but I absolutely adore it, especially the ballet Hussars!
I think I am developing a fairly serious obsession for Swan Lake and for Hussars. Both at once... this is too much! Add in my undeniable obsession for red dance shoes and... oh my!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hat, Not a Hat

Today we're going to play a fun little game. I have no idea who this girl is or why there are so many fabulous pictures of her in spectacular hats, but I think it is wonderful. I am personally suffering from an excess of hat inspiration at the moment, so I understand that hats make us do stupid things. I also understand that some Edwardian hats are just dumb looking (but delightfully so!). Nonetheless, I think you will have to agree with me that not all of these really count as hats. Are you ready to play? It's time for, "HAT or NOT A HAT!"

Excuse me, Miss, but you appear to be wearing a bundt pan on your head!