November 16, 2015

Costume Design Challenge: Day Four - Seven

I've joined the November Costume Design Challenge hosted by the famous & fabulous Lauren of Wearing History!  And you can too by clicking on link above or official banner on the sidebar...

Part I was posted last week, so here's part II featuring challenges four through seven.  Let the designs begin!

Challenge #4: On the Farm

Please click for larger image.

Definition:  Farm (noun) - A tract of land, usually with a house, barn, silo, etc., on which crops and often livestock are raised for livelihood.

Design:  Immediately I thought a hard-working, pioneering woman on the edge of the frontier in the 1870s.  Through blood, sweat and tears, she farms and soldiers on for a better life.  Her calloused hands are soft enough, however, to love, caress and dearly embrace her children.  An all-covering apron with deep pockets is a must over her sturdy work dress, perhaps made from a madder-dyed, small print calico.  Faded sun spots, patches and dirt are her badges of labor and toil.  A practical slat bonnet with a long curtain that passes her shoulders and a small ruffle for a pretty, feminine touch shields her face from the beating sun.

The perfect painting inspiration:

The Sick Chicken by Winslow Homer, c.1874
(Image via: National Gallery of Art, Pinterest)

Practical slat-bonnet with pretty, ruffly details:

Sunbonnet, c.1850
(Image via: MET, C.I.53.72.24)

Dress and apron inspiration:  Though the dress' style is outdated for the 1870s, I really like the color scheme!

Dress with apron, madder-dyed, c.1840
(Image via: Museum-Digital)

I also prefer the full apron style, as opposed to the half apron above:

Pinafore Apron
(Image via: BurdaStyle)

Challenge #5: At the Ascot Races

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Definition:  Ascot (noun) - (1) A tie or scarf with broad ends looped to lie flat one upon the other and sometimes held with a pin; (2) A town in South East Berkshire, South England, noted for its horse-race meetings; especially Royal Ascot, a fashionable, four-day, horse-racing event held in June.  Members of the royal family attend some of the races, and many people go there for social reasons rather than sport. 

Design:  Such a prestigious event as the Royal Ascot deserves a fashion forward, sporty and stripey, early-1910s ensemble!  Not to mention, as tradition dictates, for the third day, called Ladies' Day, a matching striped, beribboned and feathered hat of enormous proportions is a must.  

Inspiration from past races:  Stripes sure were in style!

Fashions worn at the Auteuil Races, 1911.
(Image via: Source)

(Image via: Pinterest)

When I came across this fashion plate, I immediately knew the look I was going for...the large hat, chic dress, parasol:

1910 Fashion Plate
(Image via: Source)

THE dress inspiration:  Black and white stripes for the win!

Dress, c.1908-1915, worn by Rosamund Anstruther,
Mrs. Edward Windsor Hussey (1877-1958)
(Image via: National Trust Collections)

Like the black drapery to break up the stripes...

Ensemble, c.1912–15
(Image via: MET, 2009.300.245a–c)

Hat inspiration:  Just needs a larger brim...and maybe some feathers!

Straw hat with striped silk bow from Ladies Home Journal, March 1912
(Image via: Fashion a Hundred Years Ago)

Challenge #6: The Opera Singer 

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Definition: Opera (noun) - An extended dramatic composition, in which all parts are sung to instrumental accompaniment, that usually includes arias, choruses, and recitatives, and that sometimes includes ballet; Singer (noun) - A person who sings, especially a trained or professional vocalist.

Design:  We're leaving the comfort zone of mid-18th to mid-20th century fashion for the 1550s.  Clothed in iridescent blue and silver brocade, encrusted with precious gems and abundant pearls woven throughout both her dress and hair, the opera singer's costume is as rich and heavenly as her voice.  

THE inspiration portrait: I was having trouble settling on a look until I came across this lavish and queenly portrait of Isabella di Cosimo Medici!   

Portrait of Isabella di Cosimo Medici by Alessandro Allori, c.1555-1558
Kunshistorisches Museum, Vienna
(Image via:

A similar dress:  Though I do like the sleeve treatment better here...

Portrait of a Woman with a Dog by Veronese, c.1560-1570
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
(Image via: Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza)

Brilliant brocade inspiration: 

Gold Embroidered Royal Blue Chenille Brocade
(Image via: Time After Time Designs)

The opulence I imagined:  Talk about abundant peals and precious gems!

Agnetha, dress constructed with 12 Rubies, 114 Garnets, 8 Sapphires,
10 Moonstones, 1158 fresh water Pearls, 698 Swarovski crystals & 53 Amethysts.
(Image via: Enchanted Doll)

Hair and jewelry, featuring more strands of freshwater pearls: 

Detail from Las infantas Isabel Clara Eugenia by Catalina Micaela, c.1575
(Image via: Tumblr)

Challenge #7: Revolution

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Definition: Revolution (noun) - (1) A sudden, radical, or complete change in something; (2) An overthrow or repudiation and the thorough replacement of an established government or political system by the people governed.

Design:  Who's there?  French Revolution!  (Gold star if recognize the reference...)  Not only were the 1790s marked by revolutionary change in the socio-economic and political spheres, fashion underwent a dramatic, columnar shift in silhouette.  It's off with the panniers and fully-boned stays, and on with the soft, natural lines of the chemise a la reine and empire waist.  Throw on a bright red, Spencer jacket with a jaunty, little peplum, and a tricolore cockade to show your allegiance.  Vive la France!

Step one - the dress: This plain, white cotton, chemise dress is the perfect Neo-classical start:

Chemise a la reine, c. 1797 - 1805
(Image via: V&A Collection)

Step two - the jacket:

KCI Pink taffeta drawstring jacket, c. 1790
(Image via: Source)

I absolutely love the shape of this spencer from the neckline, to the sleeves, and down to the flounce!

Late 18th century jacket.
(Image via: MET, 2010.151)

Step three - accessorize:  What's better than one tricolor cockade?  Two tricolor cockades, mounted on a pair of mules!

Heeled lady's mules of yellow figured silk and cream-colored leather,
ornamented with silk self-fringe tricolor cockade, c. 1792.
(Image via: Pinterest)

Please visit my November Costume Design Challenge Pinterest Board for all of my inspiration images, as well as where you will find the links to the original image sources.  Thanks for reading!

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