Friday, 1 August 2008

The Beginning

It all started when I watched the television movie Ruby in the smoke on the BBC at christmas. My husband and I had just participated, for the second time, in the Anton Pieckparade in Haarlem. It 's an event based upon the Dutch artist Anton Pieck his work which focused on painting wonderful scenes from the Victorian and Edwardian era's ca. 1837- 1911.

Both years we recieved a lot of compliments for our costumes. I had made, with a lot of help, the year before. It had been an awful lot of work and caused a major costume make burn out, I haven't done any serious costuming ever since. When we watched the Ruby in the Smoke I was marveld by all the wonderfull costumes. I had nine meters of red velvet in my fabric closet, which initially was for a 1490's transition gown. The project was never finished, for it was to complex and to much work. So I thought that an 1885 Victorian gown would be a great use of that beautiful and expensive fabric.

The first image that came to my mind was the truly gorgeous red dress that Michelle Pfeiffer wore in the movie "The Age of Innocence".

Somewhere around March I bought a tophat in a thrift shop. It turned out to small for the man I bought it for. It was no terrible set back as I always had wished to own one of my own. I decided almost immidiatly that I wanted it to use it for my new victorian costume. The costume I was going to make had to be riding habit style in order to be able to use my hat. I looked at the availabel pictures of victorian riding habits especially those around 1885.

Elisabeth "Sissi"of Bavaria, Empress of Austria, in a riding habit, 1884

Ofcourse they where made of much more practical fabric than my red velvet, they where made in wool mainly in dark blue's, grey's, brown's or black's. As I was set on using my tophat and my red velvet fabric, I deciced to make the costume riding habit style instead of making a true riding habit costume. The costume will have less frills than the costume's of that age generally have and a more sober and strict look.

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