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GMFS2At the V&A, a fun interactive exhibit on 18th century costume allows you to turn the costumes around and zoom in for a better view.

V&A Screenshot

V&A Screenshot

My favorite, because I need to start making something like this, is the Gown made from a Shawl, about 1797.
There’s a good description of the gown, and you can always search the collections for the catalogue record and more non-turnable images. This is a good thing because the 3-D image player requires Flash, so it doesn’t work on an iPad.

I found the viewer helpful in understanding the sleeve-collar relationship, which was confusing to me with the contrasting colors. The description in the catalog record helps, too:

“An open robe with a medium high waist, the material stitch is pleated down the back, and then flowing into the skirt. The sleeves are of white satin, trumpet shaped, with a short green silk oversleeve. The oversleeve is bound with cream ribbon, and the undersleeve at the wrist where it fastens with three pearl buttons, with metal shanks, has a narrow green ribbon turn back cuff. There is a shaped falling collar of green silk bound with white, and a green ribbon binds the front of the gown. The bodice is lined with linen, and extends in front to cover the bust. The sleeves are lined with white linen.”

Fairfax House

Fairfax House

The oversleeve makes me think of this Fairfax House dress. I’ve not been able to find a larger image so I can’t get “close enough” to determine how it all goes together. Time to collect images of extant examples and fashion plates in a Pinterest board, and start comparing them. And time to think about whether or not this is a style seen in New England…and time to get ready for work.