Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Antique Chic: The Edwardian Period

The period from 1901 to 1910 is known as the Edwardian period. That's when good old Edward VII sat upon the British throne, pip-pip-what-what. The period just before that, when Eddie's mama, Victoria, was in charge of things, thank you very much, is known as the Victorian period. She reigned from about 1837 to 1901.

The bottom line here is the clothes, people. They were beautiful--outstanding--during both periods.

Personally, I prefer Edwardian clothing. Victorians were kind of creepy. They used to save the hair of their dead relatives in lockets. Really. Here's one on the right. See that braidy part in the middle? Someone's hair. Creepy.

Ah, but the Edwardians were not into all that crazy death nonsense. Remember, this was the era when women were escaping their cinchers (I've included a pic of one on the left--this one opened to a MAXIMUM of 7--that's SEVEN--inches in diameter. That's a 7-inch waist...).

Yep, nothing like airing out the old midsection, fighting for the right to vote and to be considered 'persons under the law', and generally disturbing the poop. This social change is reflected in the clothes, I think. One foot in the old world--hence the beautiful attention to detail--check out this amazing Irish lace dress with raised crochet-work. One foot in the new world--playing around with old silhouettes, loosening things up a little.

In the late 70s/early 80s, Vic-Ed style clothing came back for a while. I recently saw an older woman (I'd say in her 70s) at the grocery store wearing a Victorian-look white ruffle-high-collared blouse with tiny red polkadots and a little red bow at the neck. It was from the late 70s. I had to stop myself from running up to her and offering her money for it. It was so cute...She was one funky granny.

So let's go through this beautiful clothing from the Vic-Ed period. Note that none of this was, or could possibly have been, machine-made. Because such machines didn't exist. All hand-made. And, of course, all one-of-a-kind.

When you think of Edwardian clothing (and I know you do), this is probably what you think of: the beautiful Edwardian ballgown. This black hand-made lace over champagne silk epitomizes it, for me. Think of all the movies you've seen set in this period. They always have a ball scene, just to show off some gorgeous antique dresses like this one.

Had you lived during the era, and had you been filthy rich and/or of the gentried classes, you would have taken tea in this French silk lilac tea ensemble. Lucky you.

Remember how your best friend made you wear that hideous red organza bridesmaid's dress in 1988? Too bad the wedding hadn't happened 80 years earlier. Because then you would've been wearing THIS bridesmaid's dress.

Oh how I'd love to flounce about the garden party in this number. Flouncetastic. Note the lovely cameo at the neck. No dead people's hair in sight.

In the evening, ladies would retire to their dressing chambers and put on a lovely peignoir in which to perform their evening toilette. This Victorian peignoir is absolutely gorgeous.

Before we called 'em shirts, we called 'em shirtwaists. Here's a breezy cotton Edwardian one. And a gorgeous lace camisole.


At 10:08 PM , Blogger ni_de_montreal said...

Well, miss stylaholic.. you were clearly made for this kind of descriptive writing. inspiring, really! and humourous too. love it.

At 5:38 AM , Blogger whyioughtta said...

Aw shucks...thanks man.

Very glad you stopped by, ni_de_montreal. and for anyone else who happened to drop in, don't miss ni_de_montreal's excellent photography blog, which also happens to have the coolest blog name ever, Pixel Garden.


At 5:40 AM , Blogger whyioughtta said...

p.s. ni, I also love that little story you tell in your title box...totally drew me in.


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