Samstag, 7. Dezember 2013

Lanvin Robe de style - A bit of Research

Sorry for the recent radio silence! My last weeks were completely dominated by studying for a very hard exam, in fact the hardest one you have to pass when studying pharmacy in Vienna. And I did pass, at first try!! This is a huge milestone in my student career, and while I still have several exams to master before I finish, everything from now on will be easier as this. Yay! :)

Anyway. A few weeks before the exam (when I wrote the last blog post), I still thought I could go to the 3rd Boheme Sauvage (a 20s event) which was taking place 3 days before the exam. I really should have known better by now.
I ALWAYS need every second of the last days before a big exam for crazy studying, to feel reasonably prepared, and, more important, to keep my nerves under control. So, no Boheme Sauvage for me this time.
Thus, there's also no finished Robe de style or even good pictures of my sparkly 30s ballgown to show you.

I'm already studying for the next exam, but this one is not nearly as much of a problem as the last one, so I did have some time to do some necessary research on my RDS plans.

I'll just leave out the paragraph about what makes a RDS special, there are already more than enough blogposts about this out there. You can also read about the basics in the RDS wikipedia article.

I chose this Lanvin dress from the collection of the MET as main inspiration for my RDS.
By now I have a working muslin of the upper part, but the skirt turned out to be a bit of a problem. I'm still not entirely sure where it should sit. I started out with the typical 20s dropped waist, which was waaaaaay too low and just looked silly and wrong. Right now it's about the height where low rise jeans would sit. I think I'll try attaching the skirt even higher, roughly at the height of the upper edge of my hipbone, and then decide which looks best. I promise, my next post will at least contain pictures of the muslin.

Next question: what's under this skirt?
RDSs were often supported by panniers or pocket hoops, much like 18th century dresses.

The MET provides us with this:

MET link
  I don't know what's going on here. Okay, there are lots of (probably) silk organza ruffles, but what are the white thingies on the left and the right side? The left one looks like the upper part of attached pocked hoops, but what's with the right one? I'm quite sure there should be a firmer support than just organza ruffles to achieve the typical bell like shape of a RDS.

Interestingly, it seems the MET owns two black versions of this dress, the one above with the smaller skirt and one with pocket hoops:

MET link
I was confused at first, because from afar they look exactly the same (apart from the skirt shape and visible part of the slip at the neckline), but using the zoom function you can clearly see differences at the shoulders and in the beading. Also the front skirt of the second dress isn't as heavily gathered as in the first one.

There are even more extant versions of this dress:

In midnight blue from the Kent State University Museum

And a lovely dusky pink one! This one was apparently sold by Christies. 
All of them apart from the first one seem to achieve their shape with pocket hoops or a small pannier. The hoops could apparently be attached directly to the dress, or to the slip, but I need to put some more research into this topic (there's going to be another post).

I think with my dress I'll go with small pocket hoops, but I still have to meditate about whether I want them sewed to the dress or to the slip.

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