Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Napoleon and the Empire of Fashion in the USA

I am very pleased to announce that two dresses from the collection are currently on display at Hillwood Estate Museum in Washington DC. They are on loan as part of an exhibition entitled, 'The Style that ruled the Empires: Russia, Napoleon and 1812'. I really like the new look mannequins and the way they are displayed with a mirror so you can see the back of the garments.

Photo courtesy of Cristina Barreto

Photo courtesy of Cristina Barreto

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

My First Dress of 2012 (1812)

Here are some details of my first Regency dress this year. Ironically, considering my previous post, I decided to make it in white!
 I decided to make a crossover style bodice which appears to be quite fashionable during 1811/12. Many period references seem to suggest that the dress is actually made in two separate pieces, rather than a dress with an extra panel piece added to the centre front.


So I made a separate under dress to fill in the centre front section.  I also found two existing under dresses in museum collections to support my research. It was also a useful addition to my Regency wardrobe as the under dress would fit under other gowns.

Simple, sleeveless underdress.

Underdress hem detail. The hem is quite large to give weight to the skirt so it does not waft!

Original underdress from Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

In my hoard of antique trim I had this lovely piece of whitework. The pointed edge reminded me of some details I had seen in ‘Costume Parisien’ of 1811-1812. Luckily it was in two separate pieces so I used the smaller section to add detail to the sleeves.  I decided to pleat the whitework hem piece rather than gather to keep it flat.

So here is the finished dress. I prefer the fit of the dress on me rather than my mannequin as it is too small. Sadly I do not have any full length photos of myself wearing the dress yet. At the centre back I used a drawstring closure at the neckline and waistline. This is a typical fastening for dresses of this period. 

Centre back detail of original dress 1809-1812( Napoleon and the Empire of Fashion Collection)
Centre back of my dress. Closed with a drawstring at the neckline and waistline.
First outing of the Regency Dress
Front view (mannequin too small and wrong shape)

No dress would be complete without accessories. Here are some of the pieces I wore with the dress.

Comb, buckle and Cashmere shawl c.1805-1815