Saturday, June 19, 2010

Emma Hope, Red and White Shoe, ca, 1990s

You will see immediately why I love this shoe- it is deeply textured, brightly patterned, funky and nostalgic at the same time with its bold, playful side buckle. And the profile--what total elegance! This was first shown during the mid 1990s, around 1995, and Ms. Hope's use of luxury materials continues today with beaded flats, satins and pearls. To wear these shoes must be a transcendent experience for the owner--they cannot be called footwear to use our contemporary vernacular, but footapparel or even footcandy as they delight the viewer as well as the wearer. From Portsmouth, UK, Ms. Hope trained at the London Cordwainer's College. Note the affinity of her shoe to Strawbery Banke's Lady's London shoe, designed by James Davis and found on these pages.

Silk Brocade

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Creme de la creme: Susan's 1844 Wedding Gown

This is the image we have been building up to share. There have been several previous posts related to Susan Osgood Jones 1844 Wedding Dress. Photographer Ellen McDermott used the same gown in different settings inside the Governor Ichabod Goodwin House and the Chase House at Strawbery Banke Museum. (Please see previous posts for the gown in the parlor and for detailed description). What is clear is that, when placed in an historic setting such as the parlor, the effect is entirely different than when it was photographed in the sun drenched "bow room." In this image, the gown has a contemporary feel and almost ethereal quality.

Photographer Ellen McDermott spent a day at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, NH. (Spring 2010) completing a shoot for our upcoming Passion for Fashion exhibition (2012). Children's clothing, men's wear, wedding dresses, foot apparel and gowns, as well as accessories, were included and will be shown on this blog in the ensuing months. We hope this blog and twitter (follow Silkbrocade) will provide inspiration for designers and creative spirits everywhere. (A detailed project overview and prospectus will be posted in late July.)


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Susan Osgood Jones, 1844 Wedding Dress, Bodice Detail

Another lush image captured by photographer Ellen McDermott for Strawbery Banke Museum's "Passion for Fashion" exhibition (2012). Scroll down to learn more about Susan's Portsmouth, NH. wedding celebration and gown.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lady's London Shoe, 1720-1740

Photograph: Ellen McDermott Photography
Collection: Strawbery Banke Museum
Featured: Passion for Fashion, Strawbery Banke Museum and Rowland Gallery, May 1st 2012-October 31st, 2012

The lady’s shoe pictured above is a brocaded silk with a polychrome floral motif, set against a cream background. It is trimmed with a narrow green braid, lined with linen and has a leather sole. Note the upturned pointed toe, and the thick and weighty heel. When taken together, the shoe has an elegant profile and pleasing dimensions distinctive of high style London fashion of the early decades of the 18th century.

There are two distinguishing elements associated with the shoe: First is the custom-made patten for the shoe, of a quality which is a rare find, designed to protect the shoe when worn out of doors. Second is the survival of a partial interior label reading in part “James Davis. Shoe Makers. Near Utgate(?). London.” Foot apparel (it cannot really be considered “footwear” in our current vernacular) not unlike this model, would have been found in fashionable seacoast cities from Charleston and Philadelphia, to Baltimore, Newport, Boston and Portsmouth.

Taken as an art object alone, the shoe exhibits a strong profile, intense color, multi layered textures, and a clear sense of design. Even as this London-fabricated shoe celebrates its 3rd century, its style is compelling to the contemporary viewer and alluring to all who have wanted to feel the graciousness of past eras in their own time – an excellent possibility for inspiring contemporary designers.

Dimensions: 9.5” long with a 2.5” heel

Flats with strawberries

J.Crew flats found at Twice a Lady in Stratham, NH. Leather upper with satin-esque fabric and brown velvet bows. Note the fruits and especially strawberries in the red field.

As we develop our 2012 exhibition "Passion for Fashion," Strawbery Banke Museum is adding contemporary clothing and accessories to the Collections and for use as "props" for the exhibition (see also the dress form on this blog).

Full details of the exhibition to follow by late July, but if you are interested in learning more or taking part as a designer, donor, sponsor or creative spirit, contact Dr. Kimberly Alexander, Chief Curator or Tara Vose, Collections Manager, at Strawbery Banke Museum web site, facebook, Twitter (follow SilkBrocade) or this blog (Silk Brocade's Passion for Fashion).

Photograph: Tara Vose
Designer:For J.Crew

Friday, June 4, 2010

SilkBrocade on Children's Clothes/Sailor Suit, 1840-1850s

While we do not know much about the family or maker of the boy’s sailor suit, this simple two-piece outfit of shirt and trousers nonetheless had the ability to conjure up images of New England’s long relationship with the sea and the maritime trade. Made of homespun and entirely hand stitched, incredible care went into its planning from the hand stitched blue collar to the two milk glass buttons of the drop front trousers. Even the shirt ties are placed with care. Dated circa 1840-1850 based on men’s clothing of the time, its provenance is unknown. When placed on the mannequin, the little sailor assumes a playful air.

Photographs: Tara Vose
Mannequin: Created by Astrida Shaeffer
From: The Collection of Strawbery Banke Museum
Featured: “Through the Eye of the Needle: Family Stories, Sewing Stories” Portsmouth Athenaeum, Winter 2009.

SilkBrocade Image of Sailor Suit

Another image of the Boy's Sailor Suit with a child's cooler and boots.

Photograph: Courtesy Ellen McDermott
Mannequin: Astrida Schaeffer
Collection: Strawbery Banke Museum