Saturday, October 24, 2015

Scatter #76

    Let's begin the final quarter of my first hundred Scatter posts, shall we?  Lots to see and chat about.  So without further delay,...
     It was a commonplace thing, back when the huge majority of women had at least some skill with needle and thread, that women's periodicals had small articles devoted to home sewing projects, DIY projects to help a lady with her wardrobe.  Here are two from the 1920s. They chronicled popular fashion details, and made them clear to women who might not have had pattern making skills.  The first shows two different modish collar types. The ruched, tube collar was especially popular, being made up for garments at every level of usage.  The ruffled collar, though popular, was not as ubiquitous, it was also the easier of the two pictured for home sewers to make up themselves.  The second is a draped turban, and shows the sewer just how easy it is to make one at home.  Hats, even then, were often quite expensive, and since hats required small amounts of materials, they could be made from scraps saved from other projects.  Though it would be quite difficult now to find the basic buckram shapes used here, they used to be a staple in any department store, and quite inexpensive, so making your own hat was a realistic idea, and many women did.  What did this mean for the Attire language?  Greater individuality of expression.  This practice continued unabated until the 1960s, when women started to eschew hats altogether.
    I've talked about Surrealism in apparel many times. This coat made me smile though, especially with the way the model is posed. The illusion of his dancing with an unseen partner is very good.  I love the aspect of Surrealism that tricks and tweaks our reality, so that we have to double take, before we get the actuality of what we are seeing.  Plus, quite simply, this is a terrific coat.
    This is a detail of a painting by Peter Paul Rubens from 1606 of Marchesa Brigida Spinola Doria.  This is one of the more extreme examples of the ruff collar, in fact, this is right about the time when it began to collapse into the broad, but flat collars that became the fashion.  To hold a collar like this in the position its in three things were needed.  The first was wire sewn within the edge of the collar.  The second was lots of liquid starch, and the third was a supportasse. It was a wire structure that fitted over the shoulders and around the neck that could hold up the collar in this seemingly effortless way.  Also, as a method for displaying wealth this was unbeatable.  Dozens of yards of hand made lace were used in the edging of this ruff.
    Next up is this pair of beautiful leggings. They come from the Huron Wendat First Nation, which is part of Quebec province in Canada.  These were made in 1830, and are interesting to me because they are an amalgam of both the Huron people's own ideas of apparel, and western conceptions. The trims used on these leggings is of French manufacture, but the brush fringe is traditional to these people.  Honestly, for those who live in colder climates, leggings like these that could be held up with the same belt as the pants could be a huge asset.  And a wonderful addition to the Attire sentence presented.
    In 2005 Yumi Katsura made this art piece out of paper and silk.  I love its combination of rigidity and fragility.  Its a wonderfully evocative, emotional piece.  That's all, just had to share this.  I think it's lovely, and haunting.
    I have said before that anything we put onto our bodies becomes instantly a part of the Attire communication we are doing.  That is no less true of the smallest accessory that we think is merely utilitarian, than it is of anything else.  This spur is just such an article.  The owner probably gave it little thought.  it and its mate simply put on so that riding was facilitated.  But the craftsmanship and balance of shape are wonderful. So an observant eye could add this into the mix of whatever was being shown to them and get a better understanding.  Boot spur, 1400, possibly Spanish or French.
    Iris Van Herpen is one of my favorite Avant Garde designers.  Her use of revolutionary techniques and textiles is often breathtaking. This dress, simple as it is, gets taken into another realm entirely with the extraordinary texture created by the metallic web work in play. And I bet the way the fabric shifts, and the light plays over it is powerfully sexy.  its also a great look at how choice of textile in garment construction makes a huge difference.  In a more conventional fabric, this dress would communicate little to us.
    More and more often these days clothing is being used as a more direct vehicle to express thought and opinion.  Perhaps its because so many people feel disconnected, and unheard.  Perhaps its simply the vast amount of constant input we get that makes us want to shout with our clothing.  Whatever the real motivation, and its probably multiple causes,  we are more often choosing to use our clothing as a literal billboard for our feelings, our politics, our religions, and our sexuality.  So, where images like this one, in the 80s would have been enormously provocative, now though they remain thought provoking, they are less deeply impactful.  So, I suppose that we will just have to shout out louder still.  I wonder what that will look like?
    Mix a luscious shade of red, impressive, and varied skills and techniques and you can come up with this sedate and delightful afternoon dress from 1878.  The dress is draped, ruched, gathered. pleated, tucked and ruffled, and all of it expertly.  In the hands of a lesser worker, this could have looked like a mass of un-ironed laundry.  But in these expert hands the totality is harmonious, and though complex, looks refined.  Part of that, of course, is due to the use of a single textile in a solid color.  Imagine this in two different textiles, or a boldly patterned one. the result could be cacophonous.
    Garment experiments always intrigue me.  Now, this uniquely cut pair of tights/pants is an interesting take on how to construct an item for the lower half of the body.  I would be happy to see this same design idea made up in different textiles to see how it would fare.  Clearly here, its meant as active wear, but I think this could be very appealing in more traditional fabrics, like cotton duck or  wool worsted.
    It was and is still quite commonplace for folks in New Orleans to wear Mardi Gras colors even when not actually at a parade or party.  So dressmakers, and other cottage clothing makers turn out apparel that incorporates one, two, or all three of the Mardi Gras traditional shades of gold, green and purple. This evening ensemble is from 1936, and uses two of the three.  I like the fact that it would be completely acceptable outside of the Mardi Gras celebration, as well as during.

    For the final entry a real rarity.  In the early 1500s this jacket, now missing its detachable sleeves was knitted.  Yup, that's right, knitted.  It is so unusual for knitted garments to survive at all, and this one is in great shape for its age.  Bade in a pattern that mimics the large scale brocades worn at the time this jacket would have been a winter garment for a man, and probably for indoor use, under a coat.  Beautifully done work.  And perfect for that drafty chateau you're living in.

Okay then, that's all for today!   Get out there and enjoy your weekend!

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