May. 3rd, 2017

Never realised but yeah. Virginia Oldoini, Comtesse de Castiglione...

I think this Queen of Hearts one is the one to do.. I knew of it from one of the hand tinted versions but they idealise her to be blander.


Anyway. Pointy nose, pointy chin, eyes that can be unfocused then too focused… and also determined to only work with photographers who work with her as an artist. Look she’s been treated as self obsessed but really, she wanted the captured image to be reflective of what she wanted to see. Not what someone else wanted.

Tags: doppelganger

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Left & right: Woman’s Evening Dress: Bodice and Skirt (1978-2-1a,b and 1978-2-2a,b)

Left vs right: Worth vs Artist/maker unknown, American.

Left & vs right: Worn by Mrs. Ernest Fenollosa

These are much too closely matched to be coincidence and were worn by the same woman.

Nearly identical in cut, the brocade gown doesn’t appear to have the same fit in the bodice. And that is what really marks a Worth garment. The curve at the side of the waist and generaly sweep feels very Worth. As well as the colours and fabrics.

This is part of my research as I try and identify when Worth started using very flared panels in skirts. These do feel mid to late 1880s. The gores are not heavily angled and there is a bit of bulk of fabric right around the front of the hips as well as sides, and obviously the bustle. But it is the slightly boxy shape of the front that makes these match perfectly to fashion plates.

I do know this flat boxy front was still in use in paterns by 1894! And that is the year we see three distinct skirt patterns.


Tags: sunburst, worth


I am also finding it hard to trust all staged images, as there is a tendency to pouff out draped fabrics when they should fold inwards. I wonder how many people remember the infamous natural form pattern?

The Simplicity 4244 pattern with the paniers turned out and padded?

The original has the area padded out in display, though not turned inside out:

I would love to see this updated, polonaise style princesse dresses are a staple in the pattern books of the era that it’s nice to see real examples whenever possible. Seriously, every book has at least one princess and at least one is really a polonaise.


And if the Met can have a garment padded in inverse to what would be expected, then yes it’s very easy to to!

Centraal Museum too! (but this is another good example of the mid-late 1880s shape to the skirt, the pouffing over the hips and of the little puff over the bustle.. not really feeling it. But yeah, that’s another Sunburst reference!)

This is simply more a case of feeling too full at the front hip. But I have seen more extreme forms of firm support in contemporary photos.

But I was looking at a gown I adore but feels later than the date as well, and I am trying to tease out whether it is staged or original to the gown.


So what is it that makes this feel later than 1875?

Simply put the shoulders. They are very square. Very square indeed and that is not because the mannequin has square shoulders. The sleeve shape also is very angular, another feature of mid to late 1880s patterning.

Compare the shoulders to this very definitely mid 1870s garment:

See the slope of the shoulder, more obvious from the back. The front arm seams are further under the arm than above too. But this is a very well made example of the time so the structure is a bit firmer and so holds a firm line compared to other examples of this decade.

The split and pointed tails of the scaled gown can also be seen right through to early 1890s in Worth garments (see the silvery blue gown also from the met on this page.)

But this is why I am devouring everything I can find about what is absolutely known as far as dates of garments. There are a few garments dated to mid 1880s that have a very gored skirt shape that is, as above, original shaping. Even the above has a mix of gored and flat panels. So it may be that the house was experimenting in shifting fullness around very early. That though is proving difficult.


Anyway if anyone would like to sponso a trip to see the Worth Archives- maybe a month stay to be able to actually go through all documents then maybe my mind would be rested!


I already know the pattern books and periodicals do not show the flared gored skirt shape earlier than the early 1890s. I have gone through every single issue of Der Bazar that has plates and patterns, I have random patterns from other periodical, and of course the cutting books. In fact skirts go extremely boxy before they get pulled to the back and then the hem flares out again. But again Maison Worth was known to anticipate fashion as well as push it in a direction most especially in cut.

So yes. Grubby mitts on the archive. Well very well cleaned and gloved mitts.

Tags: sunburst, worth


I have been writing my 16thC book, and I have a frame for my 19thC.

I cannot afford to publish, and unfortunately in this age unless you have marketed as a business your work will not be respected (the flip side of the coin of people wanting everything for free is that when it is, it’s consumed then forgotten.) So I am looking to a publishing platform that will at least give some support to my work but where I do not need to deal with money.


I adore books like Period Costume for the Stage and Screen, and I have seen stunning work from modern patterns. But because I started so young with contemporary fashion plates and patterns (I was in primary school) I do instinctively spot a reproduction from the real deal almost immediately. And it has everything to do with how we work modernly. Not just the pattern but the order we cut and assemble and fit. It doesn’t detract from the beauty of the work, but I can just see where 100 years of shifting aesthetics and construction have removed us


What is causing a stumbling block is I want to illustrate everything and my pen work has not been a priority recently. I don’t want to use photos if I can as that subconsciously leads us to think modernly.

Another stumbling block is time. I have very little time each day where my health allows me to do anythn=ing and that has to be partitioned. For the last two years I have not balanced that well at all.

But rib separation aside some recent supplementation with iron and B12 seems to be helping (most pills don’t seem to be absorbed, but Iron melts are fizzy fun!) and a faster infusion rate for my antibody treatment also seems to be a big help. So I am awake for longer 🙂

So today I need to follow up on some responsibilities before doing some more work on this drafting/draping books.


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