Friday, December 24, 2010

Reading List- Again

I will be reading Jay Calderin's "Fit, Form, Fashion" and rereading Paula Bradstreet Richter's "Painted with Thread." And don't forget Jane C. Nylander's classic "Our Own Snug Fireside." Tea, gingersnaps, fireplace and snow in Haverhill, NH!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lighter Side Fashion Reading Picks

Happy reading, fashionistas!
PS: Looks like a 1-2 month wait for this hardcover by Dior via Amazon

Holiday Reading -Fashion Texts by Academichic
(paste into your browser)

This is a fabulous reading list-both intellectual and witty--by a wide variety of authors and authorities. Great insights into fashion's role in material cultural, feminism and gender studies.

Read what Tina Fey has to say on the subject in March 2010 Vogue

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Complex Straw Bonnet with Ribbons

This one is for you, Ann@ info@tracytheatreorignals. Photogra... on Twitpic

Photography, Courtesy Ellen McDermott
Styling, Bridget Sciales
Location, Goodwin Mansion, Strawbery Banke Museum, Fall 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

Legendary costume designer, Ann Carnaby, visits SBM

Ann Carnaby, owner of the renowned Tracy Theatre Originals (founded in the 1880s), is visiting the historic costume and textile collection at Strawbery Banke tomorrow. We are looking forward to greeting her, talking fashion and design. Among her many accomplishments, she is currently writing a book about the changing proportions of women's figures over the last few centuries.

This link will introduce you to history of the company, but be prepared to spend hours looking at some amazing work!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Consulting Curator, Janet Y. Larose, Esq.

Janet and Lawrence Larose are active in the art, fashion and museum communities from New York City to Portsmouth, New Hamsphire and are Strawbery Banke neighbors. The Museum is looking forward to working with this experienced team and were delighted and honored when Janet agreed to become the Consulting Curator for Passion for Fashion.

Consulting curator, Janet Y. Larose, Esq. recently contemplated the significance of fashion over time:

Fashion is a reflection of society’s lives and times. Strawbery Banke's unique textile collection spans centuries of life in New England. It provides us with insight into the customs, manners and daily existence of the individuals who lived there. By exhibiting contemporary fashions with the historical garments that provide their inspiration, Passion for Fashion gives us a new perspective into how the past influences the current. It demonstrates how, while times change, style and taste remains, and indeed abounds.

Please watch these pages for future posts from Janet.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sarah's "Lacie" Dress

This just in--designer Sarah Beth Johnson's sketch for her formal dress design, inspired by "Lacie" from the Strawbery Banke Museum collections! Note "ballerina twist", palette, and especially the way Sarah's dress drapes, echoing the original with its cascading layers of satin and tiered lace. Further, Sarah is intrigued by the intricacies of fine boning, reflected in the snug fitting bodice and its proportions. The asymmetrical positioning of the fabrics for the skirt, in combination with the buttons, creates a flattering, feminine vision.

Original artwork by Sarah Beth Johnson, October 2010

Photograph, Ellen McDermott Photography
Design Set Up, Bridget Sciales
Photographed at Goodwin Mansion, September 2010

Sarah studies "Lacie" in the collections work room.

What do you think?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It's all about the shoe!

It is safe to say that Silkbrocade is obsessed with this shoe! These are the most recent shots by Ellen McDermott of the Lady's London shoe by James Davis[ies], here shown with its closely matching patten (a silk was used but is slightly different than the shoe itself; the fit indicates it belonged to the same person). Collections intern, Bridget Swift will continue to assist with research on this shoemaker and his production. (Please see earlier blogs.)

Notice the way the patten changes and foreshortens the shoe in profile, and the fit to the shoe. Stunning yet functional.

Photography, Ellen McDermott
Set and Styling, Bridget Sciales
Location, Goodwin Mansion, October 2010

Mabel Decatur Storer's Wedding, Goodwin Mansion, 1884

Mabel Decatur's holiday wedding, December 30th, 1884, must have been a breathtaking event. Her creme gown, of satin silk weave, embroidered floral brocade, and silver and white embroidered thread would have shimmered in the light of the parlor of the Goodwin Mansion. The silk bodice was well-fitted with darts to hold bone stays. Most likely of imported fabric and sent up from Boston (note the original packing case for the gown). The designer was Richard M. Matthews of Boston, clearly a well-trained professional. The gown would have required at least several fittings. The shoes--astonishingly narrow- are a cream satin with all the drama focused on the bows of the same color.

Gift of Alice Decatur Armsden, #1997.167
Gown, photograph, Tara Vose
Shoes, photograph, Bridget Sciales

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Brooches, Caps and Collars: Adornment in Portsmouth Portraits, 1800-1850

Not to be missed!

The Portsmouth Historical Society will present a gallery talk by curator Sandra Rux for the exhibit “Brooches, Caps and Collars; Adornment in Portsmouth Portraits 1800-1860” on Saturday October 30 at 11AM at the John Paul Jones House, 43 Middle St Portsmouth NH. Artists– known and unknown—of the sixteen portraits, will be the focus of this talk. Joseph Greenleaf Cole, the painter of five of the portraits was covered expertly by Tom Hardiman in his July lecture, so we will touch only briefly on his time in Portsmouth. Many of the other paintings are unsigned and some were painted in other cities. Ms. Rux will discuss where the subjects lived after they left Portsmouth and why they might commission portraits by out of town artists—for example the portrait painted of Martha Hooker Rollins from a daguerreotype by an artist in Brazil. This exhibit will close on October 31—make sure not to miss it. The gallery talk is free and open to the public.

For more information call 603 436-8420 or email

Photographs Courtesy Portsmouth Historical Society/John Paul Jones House

Monday, September 27, 2010

cupcake from concetta's closet

From a woman who wore it to her '60s Manchester West HS ... on Twitpic

This sweeter than sweet homecoming dance dress was worn by a woman to her '60s Manchester West HS Homecoming -and she was crowned Queen!

I recently purchased the classic hippie dress--smocked bodice, "patchwork" type print, with lace and floor length.

From Concetta's Closet, vintage clothes, in funky Newmarket, NH.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ellen McDermott photographs "Lacie" at Goodwin House

Another beautiful day at Strawbery Banke, perfect for a photo shoot. The artistic team of Ellen McDermott and creative partner Bridget Sciales focused on the elaborate--nearly over the top-- elegance and layering of silk, satin and tiers of lace, in deep green, brown and cream which comprise the gown. Of particular note is the balance between the militaristic precision of the bodice and the ultra feminine lace, especially concentrated on the sleeves.

Lacie's bodice and skirt had become separated over the years and its was the keen eye of designer Sarah Beth which placed the ensemble back together. She was so taken with the piece, that she has selected Lacie to inspire her contemporary formal wear.

Several of Ellen's contact sheets are shown her, as are Sarah's preliminary sketches. Follow these pages for final proofs next month.

Enjoy this discovery and its application!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Designer Highlight- Liz Ronzio

Strawbery Banke Museum is delighted to be working with Elizabeth Ronzio, recent winner of TOMS shoes competition. Liz recently told us about her influences and interests:

“I was born on August 21, 1990, in St. Louis, Missouri. Starting at an early age the things I most enjoyed were the ever-present mixture of fashion, fine art, and travel. As my life progressed, I began traveling and acquired new ideas regarding my personal style both in fashion and art. Currently attending Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, I am pursuing a degree in Marketing Communications with a minor in Gender Studies. To this day I have visited over twenty-two countries on five continents. With each adventure, I continue to incorporate these aspects into all my designs.”

Liz Ronzio talked about her design inspirations and technique for her line of Toms Shoes for Teen Vogue. Check out this link from Teen Vogue and get to know Liz a bit better.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Photo Shoot Redux

Photographer Ellen McDermott and Creative Partner, Bridget Sciales will visit Strawbery Banke's textile and costume collection for a second photo shoot for Passion for Fashion. Follow these pages for Samuel Cutts suit, lacy evening confections, hats, wedding slippers and shoes, crewel work pocket and much more--photographed on site.


Monday, August 9, 2010

The Process: Collections, Design, Inspiration

Passion for Fashion photo shoot in Chase House, Spring 2010. Photogrpaher Ellen McDermott sets up the shot while Lydia Shilland, Kimberly Alexander and Larry Larose look on.

Center and bottom left: Strawbery Banke Museum textile collection storage area and workroom

Bottom right: Results of photo shoot, Green silk brocade dress, Pierce family of Portsmouth, ca.1765-1775, Gift of Priscilla Pierce Decker.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Summer Day at Strawbery Banke

Here we have a selection from our hat collection being let out in the fresh air. Bowler Hat worn by Ben, Black Hat worn by Elizabeth and Straw Hat worn by Tara.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

James Davis Shoe from the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The silk and leather shoe pictured above is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Dated ca. 1760s, it was created by shoe maker James Davis, whose label places him near Aldgate, London. (Center image) A similar shoe by the same maker will be featured in Strawbery Banke Museum "Passion for Fashion" exhibit in 2012. For further information on the maker's career and apprenticeship, see blog entry "Lady's London Shoe" (Thursday 10 June 2010)

In this later ca.1760s shoe, notice the change of heel proportion and shape of toe. Like the shoe in the Strawbery Banke Museum Collection (ca. 1730s-1740s) pictured at bottom of page) it is luxurious and lush, and the epitome of a high style shoe.

Strawbery Banke Museum staff thanks the Cordwainers College in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York with their generous assistance. We will continue our research on James Davis and his oeuvre, sharing our discoveries on these pages.

Kimberly Alexander, Ph.D.
Chief Curator
Strawbery Banke Museum

Friday, July 16, 2010

1940 Wedding Trousseau

This 1940 wedding trousseau was recently donated to Strawbery Banke Museum by long time New Hampshire family, Kathy Scannell of Portsmouth, NH and her sister, Carol Provost of Merrimack, NH. The gloves, handmade magenta robe, wedding dress and shoes were part of the wedding ensemble worn by Edith Mary (Cronchaw) Casey. Miss. Cronchaw married Frances Casey on June 17th, 1940 after 19 years of dating. The extended period of courtship may explain the quality of the desinger made gown, veil and shoes as the couple was well-established prior to marriage. The donation also includes veil, stockings, slip, the wedding portraits, invitation, a collection of peach sleepwear, along with cards over the years from Francis to Edith.

The shoes are in very good condition (note the quality of the silk, the heart shaped buckle, heel proportion and delicate strap) as is the sleepwear and magenta robe. While the dress has suffered in large part due to unstable man-made fibers, the gift is of considerable importance given the intactness and completeness of the trousseau and suppporting materials.

Kimberly Alexander, Ph.D., with Bridget Swift, Collections Intern
Chief Curator
Strawbery Banke Museum

Photography, Bridget Swift

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kenneth Cole Green Shoes (Sue's Shoes)

These Pixie style loafers were designed by Kenneth Cole. Note the shoe profile and theatrical, over-the-top bow. The shoes were made in Spain with a leather sole and are a women's size 7. Also can be found in red. Our friend Sue wears them for special dress and has loaned them for the Passion for Fashion exhibition.

Silkbrocade and Bridget

Photography, Bridget