Saturday, January 12, 2008

It's Always the "Static" dilemma for me...........
Being Owner, Curator, & Director of my own collection is a dream come true...but its not always easy. I find myself often in conflict with my other 'selves'. The above picture being the point of a HUGE dilemma I often face......the 'static' display. Now a days forms and archival displays can be had in nearly any shape and form, and really are the best way to exhibit clothing safely, while giving a good period silhouette. From the above picture, you can clearly see the artifacts, and see how they would have looked when once worn...........or can you really? Case in point: The second gown set from the left~ the little gold lustring silk gown and Spencer jacket. See it there??? Just standing nice and quietly.....BORING!
This is the same gown on my daughter Emma~ it fit her perfectly. See how lively it is now??? What spunk~ what character! In static displays, we cannot see how the clothing it interacted with the person wearing it ruled the person wearing it, even in its own day.
The cut and fit of the clothes made the body conform to them, not the other way around. They made a person walk a certain way...stand a certain way. Corsets and stays prevented bending over~ heck, they prevented sitting upright in a chair at the turn of the 20th century( Edwardian/Titanic Era...but thats a whole 'nother story). I will be the first person, if asked, to tell you to NEVER wear antique clothing.....but then............I break my own rules. A whole different aspect of history can be studied by observing the fit and movement of fashion, on a real person. BUT~ one has to realize that when dealing with clothing over 100-200-even 300 years old, each is a one of a kind masterpiece of art, and historical artifact~ that can be very fragile, and who's integrity could be compromised if put on a real person. This all I do take into account, and will only let one of the children model for me, if I have a collection of pieces to make up an entire wardrobe, and that are the right size~ which truthfully, doesn't come along very often. Correct undergarments are worn, to support the clothing as it was meant to be worn, and minimal stress from movement is always a must. I do not recommend wearing antique clothing in the slightest. See~ don't I contradict myself!
The only thing Emma is missing are her shoes~ there's no way a modern chubby foot could fit into straight lasted shoes a mere 2" wide! She wears petticoat, stays(tho without the wooden busk insert), gown, spencer jacket & matching pelerine, embroidered mull day cap, and plush winter bonnet. She holds a painted straw basket purse on her arm.
Can you just imagine, being on a busy corner of town, and seeing this charming las shopping with her mother???? A girl wearing a lustring silk such as this would have definitely had her own money in that purse, and would have been shopping in only the best establishments.
See how the bonnet, lovingly referred to as a 'poke', hid the face from view? One would literally need be looking straight on at another, to recognize them by their face.
The huge gigot sleeves give the most becoming form to the wearer, and makes the waist look particularly small and petite. Notice the back fastening~ on this particular spencer, is closes up the back with a row of hand hammered hooks & eyes, with another tab at the waist. The Pelerine is attached permanently to the front on one side, and wraps around the back, and hooks in the front again. There's NO WAY a child would be able to dress, or undress, themselves. There is so much that can be learned about our ancestors~ about their daily life, just by studying how they moved in their clothing.
Gold Lustring Silk Gown, short puff sleeves, c1830-35
Embroidered mull day cap with inset puffs, 18250
Plush Poke Bonnet , 1836
Spencer Jacket & Matching Pelerine, 1836
Hand Painted Straw basket purse, American or English, c1830


Barbara said...

Only our sweet Emma could model that for you! She's the "quiet" one. I know you have some absolutely gorgeous things that would fit Hannah, on earth are you ever going to get her to stop hopping long enough to get her dressed and pictures taken (plus not ripping your garments to pieces)?? Can you hear me laughing?? Love the pictures, love the garments, love the history lesson, but ADORE the model!
Ly, Mom

Christine LeFever said...

All beautiful! Emma is a pristine little classic, and of course your pictures are, simply put; the best!


Hallowed Hill Primitives said...

Rachael, I learn something everytime I visit your blog. Little Miss Emma is exquisite, as is everything she is modelling. I want to come and visit!


Doreen said...

Rachael. Your blog has been such a wonderful find for me. I appreciate the history lessons so very much.

This dress is absolutely beautiful and I am amazed at how well it fits your little beauty. She looks stunning.

Thank you so much for having this wonderful blog.

Best Wishes

Suzanne said...

Thank you so much for the history lesson! I love seeing all of your lovelies (Emma included) from your collections.