Paul Poirot was an innovative and forward thinking designer. In 1903, in the height of the S curve fashion of the Gibson Girl era, he introduced the controversial Kimono coat. It was loose and flat compared to the tight corseted styles of the day as seen here. His kimono coat drew attention away from the waist. Another style he will introduce more heavily in 1914 prior to the flapper look of the 1920’s, often associated with Chanel.
But, fashion is fickle in its ‘originality’. For it seems it always draws from the past. These drastic changes Poirot introduced in 1908 as seen here and the first image. These raised the scooped waistline of the S curve into an Empire waistline. And look rather familiar when we travel 100 years back from him to 1808 to Regency times. And, of course, these fashions during The English Prince Regent and introduced by Napoleonic reign harkens back to old Greece, the Republic Napoleon was trying to emulate.
Therefore it seems we have today the right without fear to happily borrow and adjust from the past. It has always been done. Any of you afraid of dressing vintage, then, could easily take modern looks, find their historic partners, and make a mix of modern and old and feel quite comfortable, I feel.
Now, although Poirot was cutting edge in 1908 his raised waistline was becoming the direction of most fashion houses. Here we see a 1908 Paquin gown. These two were rivals and the inspiration of the raised waist, shorter shirt, flatter look and less corseted appearance is even visible here.
The S curve corset, however, would have still been the daily wear of most women. Here we can see how it gives a ballooned chest, a lowered waist in front and a natural waist in back and the dresses worn over this undergarment still had this sort of look. But, then even dresses from places such as the house of Worth, while using the S curve silhouette, were starting to raise the waistline. And upper class women of fashion would have most certainly worn this more than Poirot. Only the younger more adventurous set would have embraced Poirot’s look until WWI changes women’s fashion drastically.
So, I have been toying with some fun summer dress idea’s along the lines of this time period going into the 19teens. The higher waist, floor and angle-length skirts look quite similar to the popular Maxi dresses of today, as I mentioned last post.
Like this later Poirot and making the Tunic dress, like this 1912 version the new look. This, to me, would easily translate into the fun sheers or lighter fabrics as the over top/jacket and the underskirt/dress could simply be jersey or cotton. One could even make the over dress and wear over a store bought jersey Maxi dress available at any store. I think this is such a good way to use modern looks to dress vintage.
Here you can see a top to a 1950’s halter dress I have cut out and pinned to my dress form. I had intended to make another simply zipped knee length later 50’s summer dress. But now and considering elasticing the teal center waistline area, so it slips on. And then using a jersey in the same teal as a long skirt and more of the flowered cotton as an overskirt. Here is a rough sketch of what I mean.It could easily be worn with my 30’s vintage shoes and opaque stockings or some 50’s sandals or espadrilles with laced legs. And the big floppy hats out in stores now for beach wear would look stunning with such a look, I think.
Here is some wonderful brown linen I have with lace tracery on it. I simply pinned it to the top to show, but would most likely make the dress all of this fabric. A simple maxi dress of this with an empire waist elasticized would not only be comfortable but also make a wonderful look. I am going to cut and make this one floor length, I think. Because the flow of the linen with the lace on is very lovely. I may even make it into a high waisted skirt with a bit of a train in back. I can picture it trailing in the grass on a picnic afternoon this summer with a simple sleeveless white cotton top and big floppy hat. Well, enough about fashion ideas.
In 1908 we also will be having the Summer Olympics in London just as they shall be in 2012. They were originally to be held in Naples Italy, but in 7 April 1906 Mt. Vesuvius erupted and the city was still rebuilding from the devastation.
For the 1908 Olympics the White City Stadium was built in White City, London. It is often seen as the precursor to the modern stadium and “noted for hosting the finish of the first modern distance marathon. It also hosted greyhound racing, speedway and a match at the 1966 World Cup, before the stadium was demolished in 1985. It was the first Olympic Stadium in the UK.”
It cost 60,000 pounds and was opened by Kind Edward VII on 27 April this year, 1908. The current costs for the 2012 Olympics are near 12 Billion pounds and could reach 23 billion. The original estimate was 9.3. This certainly shows how inflated our money today has come since 1908. And the tax burden today to UK residents shall be very high. If anyone would like to see a breakdown of the costs thus far, here is a LINK.
With today’s date being 1908 I also wanted to share a couple of lovely recipes in my Household Discoveries and Mrs. Curtis’ Cook Book from 1908. I have mentioned this book in the past and how it was simply a part of our family library. I often wonder what ancestor gleaned its pages. Was it a wedding present for a happy middle class wife, sharing the directions with her one live in, or was it for a housekeeper to lead her in her direction for staff? Either way, it is a great book full of so much information. It is very detailed as a homemaker in 1908 had to even be nurse and chemist and in many ways a scientist.
The last half of the book is the cookery bit and I noticed that each section, such as fish or beef, is always followed by a chapter on leftover fish or beet etc. It was normal to use leftovers and tossing away food, despite your cooking or having a cook in, would have been unheard of. And with no real refrigeration, one took the leftovers and made do right away.
Here are two recipes, one for lamb and one for beef. They sound quite good and I will be trying them.
I hope all will be happy with my new Time Hopping. You will simply see where I am that day by the posts date. This, I feel, will allow me more freedom and fun to pop about history. And anyone could even suggest a year to me, if they like. That would be fun as well. I honestly think the more we learn of our past the better off we all are. And in that past are almost always good bits to carry forward. The constant flux of buying new is a modern normality. Why not take that attitude and use it in a more economical way of re using the past and living frugally but with the joy of discovery that past lends to us.
Now, I am off to my garden. My new raised beds need tending and I am putting in some kale and Brussel sprouts today. Happy Homemaking.