I have always shared a birthday (June 1) with Marilyn Monroe. Today, I'll have something else in common with Marilyn: I'm heading to the hospital for a cholycystectomy, and will soon part company with my gall bladder just as she did. (See here if you missed all my earlier drama.) I don't really have time for a real blog today, but I will leave you with one of my favorite photographs.
This is Sarah Woodyard, one of our friends (most recently here and here) from the Margaret Hunter Milliner's Shop, Colonial Williamsburg. Sarah is not only an obliging model, but an apprentice mantua-maker (dressmaker) in CW's historic trades program, and in most cases she has made the replica 18th c clothes she is wearing. Everything is made as it would have been 250 years ago, entirely cut and stitched by hand.
Contemporary fashion plates can present a stylized, extreme version of clothing, while original garments must be treated as the fragile textile history they are. But replica clothing can show how people of the past actually dressed. Since my current series of books is set in Georgian England, I love seeing how these clothes move, and how they come to life as they define the body inside. They even make their own sound: a silk gown like this one makes a definitely crisp swish as the wearer walks.
The sack-back gown, hat, and cap that Sarah wears left are very similar to the attire sported by Daughter Anne. But while Anne's gown and hair were exaggerated as a caricature, Sarah's shows how elegant and graceful the style actually was. I especially like how the gathered and pleated dark pink silk catches and reflects the light. Imagine how it would look in a room lit by candles!
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.