Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Here goes nothin'...

Alright, folks.

Clothes. Costume. Fashion. Dress. Whatever you want to call it, it's what we wear everyday.

And as someone who is attempting to break into the industry that supports the historical side of life, I am here to pay weekly tribute to fashions of the past, the women and men who wore those fashions, and how those fashions influenced the lives of the people in the past and still today.

For centuries, history was told through the lens of the rich, white man, and only in the last half of the 20th century did the untold "social" histories emerge and become relevant. Fashion, still, was a little slow on the uptake in the minds of those who decided what constituted "history." Finally, however, the field of historical dress is on the rise in the world of academia. As a matter of fact, I was watching Jeopardy last week and to my pleasant surprise the Final Jeopardy category was "Garments of the World," and Mr. Trebek himself said that it was the first time they had ever had that category on the show....a small victory for dress historians.

Now, I am merely a student of dress history at this point in my life, and only intend to further my own studies and the presence of dress history with this blog. Part of my mission is to demonstrate how clothes help define a society, imparticularly societies of the past. Another integral part of my mission is to reflect how modern fashion is very much a reflection of something from the past. In fact, I was watching highlights from the most recent fashion week in Paris, and a commentator stated that a modern day fashion show is really a lesson in fashion history, meaning that designers of today use fashions of the past to inspire something modern.

Okay, so enough of history lessons by Jane. I promise future posts will be more fun, and I hope that whoever does stumble upon this blog will share it with others who also have a passion for history/clothes/museums/clothes in museums :)

Thanks folks.

Something I am going to do with every post is include an image, fact, etc. about an historical piece of dress and tag it as....

Jane's Favorite Old Thing of the Week:

So for the first Favorite Old Thing, I'm going with
a garment that holds meaning to me and holds a lot of historical value. The gown the woman in the picture is wearing is by Mariano Fortuny. It is an example of a "Delphos" gown that he made many different versions of throughout his career from 1907 until his death in 1949. The intricate pleating on the "Delphos" gowns has been copied for decades by a variety of designers. Still today, if a designer features an intricately pleated garment on the runway, the garment is said to have "Fortuny pleats." After Paul Poiret, Fortuny was a pioneer for couture garments that did not require wearing a corset. Outside of my History of Dress classes, my first interaction with Fortuny was during my work with the exhibition, Chic Chicago, at the Chicago History Museum. The "Delphos" gowns featured in that exhibit were some of my favorite pieces from the show and I admire what they stand for still today.


  1. Love it! I will pop in every day! Now you have to follow MOI!

  2. Lovely idea, Jane! And I love the little bits of history you're teaching me--not boring at all! Looking forward to watching this unfold (er, so to speak). --Joe