Sunday, June 12, 2016

Debucourt - Modes et Manières Du Jour ... and other things.

I'm back. Did you miss me? 
2015 was a personally difficult year for me.  I'm sorry for the silence, but I needed to take the last few months off to retreat and recover.  I'm not even sure I want to continue blogging.  I don't really have any inclination to write.  I think, mostly, this place has become a way for me to document what I create.  And if that's the way it's going, then I'm ok with that.  I hope you are too.

There is a small group of historical costumers that are currently working on a fashion plate project, and I'm a part of that group.  It's similar to the Vernet project, but less public and more relaxed.  We've all chosen an ensemble, or a piece of an ensemble, from a collection of plates by Philibert-Louis Debucourt, (13 February 1755 – 22 September 1832) a French painter and engraver.  Most of the plates fall between the years 1800 and 1808, I believe. 

The plate that I've chosen can be found printed in at least two different color schemes, the one in green and pink was reprinted in 1957, the red and white one...I don't have a reprint date for that one.  I haven't found the original print, so I don't know what Debucourt intended the colors to be.  Honestly, it doesn't really matter to me.  I love the green and pink color combination.  But, I've included the red and white one, because I prefer the under-bust cut of the jacket, and the green and pink version has it painted as if it covers the bust completely. 
The gown is made of a fine linen, and the jacket is a light-weight wool.  Both are trimmed in black, silk ribbon.  As usual, everything is hand sewn.

And some boring construction photos... 
Documentation, blah, blah, blah...
Scroll down for more exciting stuff...

On the more interesting side...
I found an antique, hand woven, lace mantilla that works perfectly for this outfit.
I'm planning on wearing this ensemble at the Jane Austen Festival this year, so be prepared for a downpour of pictures later next month.


And in other news...
I've been playing around with calligraphy.
The HMS Acasta holds a call for letters each year, and they normally open the mail packet at the Jane Austen Festival.  I decided to contribute to the packet this year.  I had a little fun making wills, advertisements, and forging British bank notes! I've covered the names of the crew members, because who gets what is a secret for now.  There's still time for you to contribute to the mail packet if you would like.  And there's still time for you to register to go to the 8th annual Jane Austen Festival in Louisville, KY.  You don't want to miss that!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Vernet 1814: The Final Post - Fashion Plate Reveal

Plate No.6 "Chapeau de Levantine. Canezou de Velour. Robe de Perkale."
Translation: "Silk hat. Velvet Canezou(a style of Spencer popular in 1811.) Perkale(a densely woven cotton similar to bed sheets) gown."

You've already seen the details, so this post is devoted to my fashion shoot, and the ensemble as a whole. 

Let me begin by saying that the chapeau and canezou are both uncomfortable to wear.  The hat is stiff, and the canezou, in order to mimic the fashion plate, is skin tight...not to mention the height of the collar (plus the fact that it is boned to help it stand) made me feel like I was wearing a neck brace.  There was definitely very little range of movement, and this outfit will feel hellish during the Summer months. 

 That being said, the ensemble as a whole is quite luxurious.  The cotton/silk velvet...the crisp perkale...the silk and the ostrich feathers as light as air...the swish of the fringe and ruffles...the high hem, showing off the little thin soled, silk boots...I felt like a doll come to life.  Imagine wearing an evening gown from a top designer today, and you get the picture.  High fashion it certainly was!  

The whole process was a journey that I would gladly take again (but maybe not this year!)  What a treat it was to work along side so many knowledgeable historical seamstresses, and to become friends with people that live in several different countries.  Were there frustrations? Yes. Were there expenses that I wouldn't normally have put into an outfit? Yes. But these annoyances were nothing compared to a year of learning by experience. 

My least favorite part of this head-to-toe experience...making the hat.  Milliner, I am not!
My favorite part about this ensemble...learning how to make the boots!  Maybe I'll become a cobbler?! 

One unanswered question though...what is she looking at?!...what is she reading?!