A Pretty Polonaise

What would the fashionable lady of the 1770’s wear to convey her fashion savvy? Enter the Polonaise…in my mind the most unusual silhouette of the 18th century; quite the accolade when you consider the variation in Georgian fashions. The pretty cream silk polonaise on display at Berrington Hall (from March 1st) comprise a wide ribbed…

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A Thousand Fancies at Berrington Hall 2014

A Thousand Fancies Charles Paget Wade spoke of the power of objects to ‘inspire a thousand fancies.’ In 2014 Berrington Hall will showcase a series of costume exhibitions against the backdrop of its beautiful Georgian interiors to inspire a thousand fancies in our visitors. 5 different Costume displays from the Charles Paget Wade collection, the Janet…

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A little taste of the feast to come…

  A Thousand Fancies at Berrington Hall, 2014. From February 15th Berrington Hall will be open from 11am to welcome the curious folk who want a slice of sumptuous Georgian grandeur. Against the backdrop of the jewel like interiors a small group has started to gather in one of the bedrooms upstairs; a cherry red…

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A Thousand Fancies… The Gorgeous Georgians

The Gorgeous Georgians at Berrington Hall This week the team at Berrington Hall are putting together the Gorgeous Georgians exhibition.  Here’s a sneak preview of one of the beautiful Sack Back robes that will be displayed throughout 2014 at Berrington Hall. The robe à la Française, or sack back, exemplifies one of the archetypal silhouettes of…

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Delicate Whites – Lace & whitework at Berrington Hall

A few weeks ago I discovered there is something of a tradition at Berrington Hall. Every year, in the run up to Christmas, the Costume Curator Althea Mackenzie displays a part of the Charles Paget Wade costume collection in the Dining Room. This weekend saw the Dining Room at Berrington filled with lace and whitework…

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Stays; walls of defence about a lady’s shape…

As mentioned in my last post side hoops and panniers moulded the lower half of the eighteenth century woman but stays formed the top half of the eighteenth century silhouette. The Snowshill example below dates from the 1770’s and is a good example of how the rigid garment would provide a solid foundation on which…

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‘An unnatural Protuberance…Paniers, hoops and bustles’

Undergarments and supports were the foundation underpinning female fashion up until the early twentieth century. Foundation garments formed the rigid basis that moulded the contours of the wearers body into fashionable silhouettes, further enhanced by the drape and shape of the garment worn on top. One of the earliest examples of a foundation garment in…

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The Incredible and Incroyables!

Whilst showing my friend Kimberley images of the waistcoats below she exclaimed ‘these were worn by men? They’re very girly!’ Indeed the rich embroideries, jewelled and sequinned designs of eighteenth century waistcoats would most certainly be considered appropriate for the sartorial predilection of the raffish dandy today, but certainly not every man. Althea Mackenzie writes…

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Gorgeous Georgians…The Court Waistcoat

It was not until the 1750’s and 60’s that sleeves on waistcoats were abandoned by the upper classes. The lower orders continued wearing the sleeved waistcoat as a jacket until the end of the 1700s. Stand collars started appearing from the 1760s and by the 1790s waistcoats finished at the hip (‘square cut’) as opposed…

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Beautiful Bonnets – 19th Century

The time has come for less talk, more bonnets… An 1840s purple-brown silk velvet with a lining of cream silk stamped with the makers name ‘Miss Lincoln, milliner, Broad Row, Yarmouth.’ The complicated plait work on this 1840s bonnet was extremely fashionable during this period. The bonnet below is made from horsehair, cotton and straw….

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Bergère and Bonnets – Part II

The Commodification Of Straw… The fashion for straw amongst the European aristocracy was born out of a romantic idealism for the rural existence of the lower classes. The popularity of straw as a material was also due to its practicality and durability against the elements whilst ladies went walking or visiting (See the 1750’s example…

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Pandora – or what happened before Vogue

Before Vogue and before The Sartorialist how on earth did Georgian ladies keep up with the fashions across the Channel?? Meet the Pandoras (pictured)…the miniature dolls that were sent over from France in the eighteenth century to keep the Georgian fashion pack in the know about the latest trends, in every detail. These dolls were considered to be more…

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