Hello dear readers,
Again, sorry it’s been a while! With all the best intentions in the world, life – or rather, school – got in the way of both my updating this blog and working on my Lady Mechanika project. Now that I’m in my final year of my costuming course, most of my sewing energy has to go into my final assignment, where we have to create a pair of historical garments for a man and a woman, from the underwear out. Part of our assessment includes keeping an art/progress/inspiration journal, and I thought I might transfer what I write in there to this blog, along with other pictures and information I find.
Our loose theme this year is ‘Historical Costume Inspired by Art’. That’s a huge topic! We can look at any era, anywhere in the world, from about 1400-1950. Believe me, too much choice is worse than too little in this case! It’s taken me a lot of thinking and over-thinking to narrow down my ideas. I had to create some constraints for myself.
• I want to look at an era I have not previously explored. That rules out my favourite (Georgian), some Victorian, some Medieval.
• I want to try some new techniques, ie. embroidery, a new historical method of construction, etc.
• As we have to make corsets, I want to try a style of corset I have not made previously. Again, no Victorian, or 18th Century Stays.
• I don’t really want to make another men’s suit jacket, as I have made a few over the past few years!
• Being on a very tight student budget, I am going to use mostly fabric I already have in my stash. If I have to buy, it’s gotta be cheap!
In the end, it was the high-budget production values of a trashy Hollywood film that pointed me in an interesting direction.
I’m such a sucker for terrible swashbuckling movies. The 2011 version of ‘The Three Musketeers’ is pretty outrageous – I mean, airships?! – but as much as the American accents and cheesy action are good for a laugh, the costumes are gorgeous. So lovely, in fact, that I was rather inspired to go and have a closer look at fashions of the mid-17th Century.
Aren’t they lovely? Anthony Van Dyck was court painter to the English King Charles I, and his images of noble ladies show that the over-the-top 2011 versions of 1620’s garb are not entirely unrealistic! The men, too, get some suitably fancy gear. Big hats, capes, doublets – there’s a lot to be excited about here. The more I dig into this particular era in fashion history, the more I am inspired. Not Tudor, not 18th century… a transitional era where billowing, beautiful fabrics adorned regal ladies and chivalrous gentlemen.
As I go, I’m going to update here with how I am going on my project. I apologise in advance for the sometimes rudimentary photographs – they aren’t meant to be pretty, just progress shots!