On March 17th, I got to present 7 dresses that I had made for reenactments, living history programs, and theatrical performances at the Historical Fashion Show at Stately Oaks. There was a wonderful variety of dresses presented. I was one of three historical costumers showing their work along with many other individuals who were showing off their personal ensembles. The fashion show was broken into four sections, Medieval-Renaissance, Baroque, an overview of ways to wrap Indian Sarees (They were breath takingly beautiful!), and then the last group was 1800-1860.
Below are the outfits that I contributed to the fashion show and a little bit about the history behind them.
This is my friend and sorority sister Katelyn. She is modeling my Anglo-Saxon dress. Anglo-Saxon refers to the variety of early medieval European dress, worn by the Anglo-Saxons from the time of their migration to Great Britain in the 5th century until the beginning of the Norman Conquest. She is wearing a green wool “apron” that is fastened with bronze closers over a light blue tunic. Her hair is in two braids, and she wears a head covering. To accessorize her ensemble she had two necklaces, one is made out of clay beads, the other is a wooden pendant.
Here is Brianna, a friend and sorority sister modeling my Tudor Era dress. I refer to this one as my “Anne Boleyn” dress. Anne Boleyn was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 and the second wife of King Henry VIII. Together, their union produced one living child, Elizabeth I. Brianna is wearing a royal blue kirtle over a gold petticoat. Under the exaggerated sleeves she wears undersleeves. To give the dress shape she is wearing a farthingale, bum roll, and stays. On her head she wears a French Hood. The French hood is characterized by a rounded shape, which contrasted with the angular “English” or gable hood. It was mainly popularized by Anne Boleyn who had spent a considerable amount of time in France and brought the style back to England with her.
My friend and also another sorority sister, Claire, is modeling what I call my “Milady Dress”. I made it when I was playing Milady De Winter in my high school’s production of “The Three Musketeers”. I wore this dress for the ball scene. It is not historically accurate as I literally had 30 seconds to change costumes and get to the other side of the stage. So, there is a zipper in the back, and one of the sleeves was detachable because it got “torn off” every night during a fight scene.
MY NEW DRESS! I’m so excited about this dress! It’s a 1770’s-1780’s Italianate gown. (THERE WILL BE A LONGER POST ABOUT THIS DRESS LATER)
Here is my friend Emma, who also happens to be my boyfriend’s sister. She is wearing my Regency Era ballgown. Now it is a common misconception to think that her hair, because it is short, is not historically accurate. That is false. During the regency era there was a trend called “a la victime” where ladies would chop their hair very short. The inspiration for this short hair came from the victims of the guillotine. A person who was sentenced to death by guillotine would have their hair cut away from their neck so that it would not interfere with the blade. Yes, fashion trends have had bizarre origins for centuries.
Above is my friend and sorority sister Cassidy. She is wearing a late 1840’s dress with a low crown bonnet. I think she looks darling, like a young Queen Victoria! The bodice of the dress is gathered around the stomach, which is called a fan front bodice, and to fill in the “V” that the fan front bodice creates she is wearing a chemisette. Under the dress she wears a chemise, pantalets, corset, and a corded petticoat. To accessorize she is wearing wrist length white gloves and a broach at her neck.
Taylor Anne is my friend and sorority sister who is modeling my 1860’s dress. I love the bright bold plaid of the dress. The 1860’s were all about the “hourglass” silhouette and a tiny waist. The shoulder seem was actually off the actual shoulder, giving the illusion of a broader shoulder. The double flounce sleeve is of my own design, I created the pattern for it myself. The full sleeve also helps with creating the tiny waist ideal. And then of course there is the famous hoopskirt supporting the skirt and creating the other half of the hourglass. For accessories she wears an emerald green spoon bonnet. It’s all fashion and no function. This bonnet will not help shield you from the sun at all, you need a parasol to do that. She is also wearing wrist length white gloves and a broach at the center of her collar.
I would like to thank all of my amazing friends who came to model for me, Kat Peng Nagar for being so instrumental in organizing this event, Allison Renae and her amazing Mary Kay team for doing our make up, and my dad for supporting me in my historical costuming adventures and also for these awesome photos.