Because I love Greco-Roman antiquity, I needed to make myself a chiton. Because I’ve performed Lady Emma Hamilton’s famous, classically-inspired tableaux vivants twice in the last twelve years, I needed to make myself a chiton. Because chitons are awesome and I like them, I needed a chiton.
By this point in the blog post, you might be asking yourself, “What the heck is a chiton? Who is Lady Hamilton? And those “tableaux” thingies?” I know it sounds like a strange combination of ideas, but it’s honestly not as complicated as it seems. In fact, the chiton – a very simple women’s (and men’s!) garment originating in ancient Greece and widely used as a basic dress or underdress for women in Roman eras – is extremely easy to make and wear. But I’ll get to that in a second.
Emma, My Inspiration
First, the Lady Emma part of the explanation. Our English Regency society puts on various events dealing with events and culture from the late Georgian period of British history. In the course of preparations for a ball honoring the great naval hero Lord Horatio Nelson, I somehow got roped into playing a role. And not just any role; I would be recreating Lady Emma Hamilton’s famous “attitudes.” Lady Emma performed these silent tableaux from 1787 through the 1790s and into the early 19th century, sparking several high-profile imitations and influencing modern dance and other forms of performance art over a hundred years later. Now, this was 1999 and I was crazy busy trying to finish my last year of law school. The last thing I probably needed on my plate was a performance of some sort, but for Emma Hamilton I made an exception.
Despite her long studio career and a stunning cache of major awards (including a record-setting 8 Oscars, the most ever for a woman, and 35 Oscar nominations), costume designer Edith Head is a star whose name isnâ€™t readily recognizable to most people. Her work, however, is instantly familiar to almost everyone. Sheâ€™s the woman responsible for the iconic fashions appearing in mid century classics such as Roman Holiday, To Catch a Thief, Vertigo, and Breakfast at Tiffanyâ€™s.
Head spent 43 years at Paramount, worked 14 years at Universal, and collaborated on various projects for other studios over the years, aggregating a portfolio of work totaling several hundred movies. â€œI do so many films that I would only like to send you work that is outstanding, or of importance to your collection,â€ she wrote in 1967 to the Wisconsin Center for Theatre Research, in response to a request to create an â€œEdith Head Collectionâ€ at the University of Wisconsin.
Her diverse collection of designs includes everything from period fashions to fantasy creations. Though she downplayed cutting-edge contemporary fashion’s influences on her work (â€œWhat is shown in Paris today is a dead duck tomorrowâ€ she once said), Head was also in many ways a fashion trend setter. The popular demand for sarong-style dresses in the late 1930s and 1940s, for example, grew out of Headâ€™s iconic designs for Dorothy Lamour in The Jungle Princess (1936). Continue reading “Edith Head: Star Costumer”
So I thought I’d share my new favorite dress, which I happen to be wearing right now for New Year’s Eve festivities! It’s the Grace Dress from Laura Byrnes Black Label/Pinup Girl Clothing. Yes, I buy and wear a lot of Pinup Girl Clothing items. No, they aren’t paying me to pimp out their stuff. I just love their clothes!
Anyway, Grace features a well-constructed fitted bodice, a superfull circle skirt, and a really sumptuous red sateen fabric textured with a midcentury black flocked pattern. This one’s size xl, and it fits just right! More images after the jump…
So a few months ago I set out a list of blogging goals. Like many ENFP personality types, I tend to be very long on ideas and very short on attention span and time. To make matters worse, this past semester was one of my all-time busiest work periods, a frustrating reality further exacerbated by a bunch of extra life demands (some fun, like period balls, some not-so-fun, like expensive car repairs) that required time and money. My 2012 New Years’ resolution is to spend more time on my websites – particularly this blog, as it is both a way for me to reduce my rambling ideas into tangible goals AND an impetus for following through on those goals so I can share the results with you!
I’m still plugging away on my to-do list from this past fall, and I’m logging my goal progress to keep me honest! But before I bring you in on that, a goodwill gesture to prove that I’m working on it – an Outfit of the Week!
Seriously, this dress is ace: rich satin sheen and Christmas green color, super-cute ruched bodice with adorable black velvet bow, and tremendous fit. When it comes to the Pinup Girl Clothing house brands, I usually hover around xl-2x; this one’s a 2x. There’s extra room in the waist (My inch measurements are 44-33.5-49), but it’s not baggy or ill-fitting. And the length is perfect for my 5’8″+ frame.
So if you’re plus or curvy or simply looking for a kick-butt, retro-style, made-in-the-USA clothing company, give Pinup Girl Clothing a shot!
Okay, now on to the rest of it. Click the link below to come out on the other side of the jump…
Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Now that I’m almost done with my teaching semester, I can get back to the business of blogging. Kind of. I have some pretty outfits and new-old jewelry to show you. Stay tuned! 😀
I’ve been feeling kinda mediocre lately, so it was nice to score two fairly successful outfits this weekend. Hell, last night I even wore makeup! That’s a big deal considering how acne and allergies have been conspiring against me over the past month.
Yesterday evening I wore my new Dixiefried “Cutiepie” dress with leopard trim. It was on sale, and the leopard print is both on-trend for this season and a fun little nod to oldschool Dior. I teamed it with my vintage carnelian jewelry, Claire’s hairflower, old Forever 21 cardigan, and nude BCBG pumps.
The dress is an “extended sizes” 3x, which means it fits like a straight-size 16-18.