Cats might rule the internet, but dogs come a close second. The same is true in Medieval manuscripts. Well, it might be a photo finish with the monkeys, snails, and rabbits (yes, snails), but more on that later. You can find dogs doing lots of things in Medieval manuscripts:...Read More
Long before Icanhascheezburger.com gave us the gift of endless cat memes, Medieval cats were movers and shakers, behaving inappropriately, seizing power, and literally leaving their mark on history. Most of these lovable assholes are found in the margins and designs of Medieval...Read More
I am fierce, unafraid, and unapologetic.
It’s French Friday again, and again, we are diving back into the world of Charles Frederick Worth, the father of haute couture.
I am not an expert on fashion history, though I enjoy dabbling in it. The following is simply a silly idea that came to me as I was feverishly digging through Pinterest for all the House of Worth images I could find. There are biographies of him that probably explain exactly what exactly he did and why he did it.
My silly theory is this: Charles Worth produced greatness when he got bored.
I kinda sorta have proof.
Okay, let’s start with his earliest dresses from the 1860’s.
Gorgeous designs, granted. Clever use of lines and fabric, granted. Boring, cookie-cutter lines of every other 1860’s gown? Absolutely.
Now, assume that having had a modicum of success, Charles begins to feel a little confident, a little bold. He starts stitching his label into his dresses, but what’s the point of having a label that people talk about if you don’t give them a design to remember?
Now we get to the 1870’s, and Charles takes a couple of tentative creative steps forward, testing out trains, overskirts, and folding the fabric so it starts to form part of the structure of the dress itself.
You’re starting to get a different line for the bodice, pleats, and more options for mixing and matching fabrics and colors.
Look at this. Look at the incredible, bold use of asymmetry, draping, fabric mixing, texture, and lines. There’s example of example of his genius. His son Jean-Philippe would continue with some of the most iconic designs of the 1890’s. Take a look at my Pinterest board on the House of Worth to find more awesomeness.
Some of the final designs Worth senior did himself give us these striking gowns. The use of fabric, positioning, lace, and draping is astonishing, ground-breaking, and utterly bewitching.
I think you’ll agree with me that these examples of what happens when art, architecture, and fashion meet boredom and genius.
I guess we can all say, “Vive l’ennui!”
Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543) had a brother Ambrosius Holbein, father Hans Holbein the Elder, and uncle Sigmund Holbein. That’s a lot of Holbeins. Hans the Younger is best known for his career as court painter to Henry VIII of England, where he had the thankless of job of trying to make the English nobility look attractive. (I’m looking at you, Henry.)
Hans junior bounced between England and Switzerland, depending on whether he was in or out of favor (which was a tricky business when several of his portrait subjects ended up dead by the king’s orders like Sir Thomas More, or accidentally like Jane Seymour…oh, and let’s not forget the Anne of Cleaves portrait fiasco). When he wasn’t painting politically-uncertain portraits, he did quite a lot of work with woodcuts, decorative designs for walls, doors, and hearths, and jewelry.
That’s right. Hans Holbein the Younger was a jewelry designer, and while he clearly clings to the Renaissance belief that “more is more” when it comes to detail and adornment, his designs are quite beautiful.
Unfortunately, his designs are all we have. Whether they were ever executed back then is unknown.
Just as everything comes back into fashion (though, please God, not shoulder pads), Holbein’s designs experienced a literal revival beginning in the 1860’s. Victorian jewelers such as John Brogden and Carlo Giuliano.
The hallmarks of the Holbeinesque Revival Style were broaches or pendants, with a large central cabochon gem or cameo, and a dangling drop-shaped pearl or diamond-set lozenge (or circle, if you don’t want to think of cough drops). Add in a lot of decorative scrollwork, fancy engraved back, and voila, you have a kinda-Holbeinish piece of jewelry.
If you just can’t stand the idea that Holbein’s jewelry never made it to reality so you can pin it on Pinterest, never fear. There’s always Etsy.
That’s right. If you are looking for that perfect piece to complete your Renaissance costume or just to shock and awe at work, look no further than TreasuresforaQueen on Etsy.
Now, if you’ll excuse, I have some online shopping to do.