Thursday, November 8, 2012

Embellishments: Constructing Victorian Detail

A Gown of Midnight Blue Velvet, UNH Museum,
Durham, USA. Note passementerie, cording,
voided velvet, c. 1890s

Available  February 2013


As Charles Frederick Worth (1825-1895), revered leader of the era's most respected and sought after haute couture designs, confided to Harper's Bazar 15 December 1877: 

"A dress should never overpower its wearer. It should merely be an appropriate frame for a charming picture....It isn't every woman who knows how to wear a dress."
The concept for Embellishments: Constructing Victorian Detail originated with a 2012–2013 exhibition of Victorian garments at the University of New Hampshire. Embellishmentsis a fashion time travelers’ armchair tour. In the absence of any narration from those who wore or owned the clothing, consider the historic pieces themselves, dating roughly from the 1870s–1910s, as your guide. 

The book is based on ten Victorian garments—a haute couture tea-gown, English-inspired day and wedding dresses, and an American walking suit, among others.  Follow respected tailor of historic clothing and mannequin maker, Astrida Schaeffer, as she demonstrates the sewing techniques that recreate period embellishments. The publication will be a bookshelf favorite for contemporary designers, costume historians and sewing enthusiasts alike. 

Savor Brian Smestad’s stunning portrait-style photographs of the garments, accompanied by elegant details shots, which illuminate the technique section of the book. Delight in the opportunity Embellishments provides to examine and reinvigorate the Victorian aesthetic through the use of sewn adornment.

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