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Suffragette City Part Two January 24, 2012

If there’s a draft in the house, there’s something you can do that others have done forever: wear your hat all the time.

It’s a 24/7 thing that I once thought a little crazy, even a little thuggy, but now that there’s no cure for the indoor wind (neighbor refinishing his floors! in January! open doors/windows everywhere!) one must do what one must do.

But I found I didn’t have the one I really wanted to wear right now (isn’t that always the bane of the fashionista)…

No prob.

We’ll make more!

And since I seem to be on a daaark yarn bender and have plenty of left-overs from other projects, it was no time at all before a lovely, slouchy navy beanie was ready to wear (Black Water Abbey Navy Worsted)…

Très beanie-love continues in a black ribbed version (Debbie Bliss Aran Cashmerino), and a sock-weight dull-navy version (Aruacania Ranco), with some kind of nod to the gurnsey patterning looming.

While I was framing this pic on my little desk, the lens revealed something I’d not seen before.

Behind the caps is a small collection of photographs that I brought back from a trip to Paris in 1995. They are 2.5″ by 2″ contact prints of someone else’s Parisian vaction that I framed up all together. You can see Notre Dame; the Seine; and some really lovely old neighborhood buildings. They were in a pile on a table in a small pocket-sized flea market we stumbled on while wandering in the Latin Quarter before I scooped them up.

And even though the pictures aren’t in very good shape (and really small) they had something that’s been twirling my brain for the last few weeks!

They are from the early Twentieth Century!

There are lovely ladies on vacation wearing early 20th Century clothing!

I give you Madame #1 with her incredible wheels:

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Now, although she is probably wearing a felt hat, it tickled me to see that its shape was rather Beanie in nature. Love that!

Madame #2, out for a stroll with the enfants bien-aimés:

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Another beanie-ish toque on la mère and some pretty larger hats on les enfants (although the entire outfit on the charming girl on the right has a Paddington Bear thing going on…)

So exciting to find these incredible shots while I’ve been enjoying all of the fashion on Downton Abbey — fueled the fire!…more to come

…all in the series:
– Suffragette City Part 1
– Suffragette City Part 2
– Suffragette City Part 3
– Suffragette City Part 4
– Suffragette City Part 5
– Suffragette City Part 6

Suffragette City Part One January 10, 2012

Like millions of viewers around the globe, I seem to be in thrall to something kind of unexpected. Even though I consider myself to be a stone cold Citizen of the 21st, I am mesmerized by the tale of an upper-crust family, their army of servants, but most of all their Lifestyle.

And, it didn’t occur to me, until I was watching the premiere episode of Downton Abbey Season 2 this last Sunday, that all of this mighty foo fa rah actually takes place almost One Hundred years ago.

The Crawleys, et all, are languishing in the complications of high and low culture in 1916.

AND yet.

Into the mix comes the Modern.

For me, that’s the ultimate fascination.

Along with the estate (overwhelmingly HUGE), the sets (impeccably drawn), and all the details of life above and below stairs, something interesting bubbles right below the surface of it all.

The Fashion.

And here, in an intriguing and subtle way, we see the most important sub-plot of all: that while women were claiming their right to vote, the female wardrobe finally evolved into something mobile and wearable and yes, arrestable.

Even though it’s a slow trickle down into the older generations, the Crawley Sisters go dashing onto the Runway! From shorter, simpler dresses (at least in the daytime!) to pantaloons, it’s full-speed ahead.

And what to my wondering eyes should appear:

VOILA! Enter 20th Century Knitwear. Worn by Sybil Crawley. At the chilly breakfast table.

And suddenly, it’s good-bye Shawls; hello Sweaters!

Seeing this made me remember something and I went running – I possessed (from my wild and crazy flea-marketing days) some very, very old craft magazines, from right around this time.

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Now this, although it’s titled an “Embroidery Book” is really much much more.

Just like Ethel Parks, Housemaid, who often enjoys a magazine or two in her free time, this is a multi-function tome for the masses.

We have:

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which could be one of the 1st mass-distributed reality-shows-as pitch platform, where everything from wardrobe to relationships is dished with the product solving Everything!

Dear Diary:
I decided to wear my organdie to the dance. I do hope that none of the girls remember it from last year. That new sash may help. Do men ever remember dresses, Diary? Jimmy will be there with Edith Williams. Always Edith Williams. Oh, if I only had some becoming clothes!

And maybe, Ethel daydreamed a little while she was making the Mistresses’ bed:

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Of course, the Mistress embroidered all the “Lovelies” and Ethel just put them in their place, but one can’t help wondering if maybe Ethel and maybe her friends, styled themselves as well:

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But what about that sweater? Looks almost like it could be from Top Shop, no?!

Stay tuned for more masterpiece ahead

…all in the series:
– Suffragette City Part 1
– Suffragette City Part 2
– Suffragette City Part 3
– Suffragette City Part 4
– Suffragette City Part 5
– Suffragette City Part 6

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