Saturday, July 19, 2008

T and A: The Ideal Shape

My earliest lesson in 18th century fashion was when I went to Williamsburg in 1998. I remember them telling me in the wig shop to always watch my hair because when I wasn't looking someone would cut it off and sell it; ah the dangers of being a blonde. I also recall the macaroni tailor telling me that undergarments such as corsets and panniers were used to create the correct shape of the body that nature stubbornly refused to create. Basically, the ideal shape. Well I just found this crash course in the 18th century ideal shape from the Metropolitan Museum. Check it out here.

6 comments:

Nancy Storace said...

Indeed, the corset, or "stays" as we referred to them in the 18th century, (it wasn't given the name "corset" until the 19th century), were the curse of all women. So much so, that I refused to tie them too tightly, especially on stage where I needed more freedom of movement, as well as rib cage expansion for singing. Because of this, I was occasionally referred to by the odd theatre critic as, "plump". Plump indeed! I was so very grateful when by the end of the century both stays and paniers went out of fashion and were replaced by the very free-flowing, and simple "Empire" gown, fashioned after the gowns worn by women of ancient Greece and Rome.

Elyse said...

What an amazingly awesome site.

Um, on a random note, you had a link up a while back to a place where you could buy a kit to make a picture hat. Do you know where that link went? Thanks so much!

Heather Carroll said...

Hmm no kits, otherwise I would have had a much easier time making mine! But I did find this great supply shop here which has the basic Georgian straw hat ready for trimming. Is that what you were thinking of?

Elyse said...

Yes! That was it exactly! Thanks so much! <3

Polonaise said...

A little late, I know, but I'm new and just HAD to thank you for the link and the double polonaise action. Did anyone out there get a chance to see the Dangerous Liaisons show at the Met a few years ago? My eyes still glaze over just thinking about it....One day: the Kyoto Costume Institute!

Heather Carroll said...

You can never go wrong with the Polonaise! I will die a happy chica if I can see that amazing red and white striped polonaise that the Kyoto hoards all to itself!