Friday, May 27, 2011


    One of my favorite movies is Vanity Fair. It's a favorite because of the extravagant costumes. I'm a sucker for yards of velvet and lacy detailing. The movie is set in the later portion of the 19th century, roughly 1845. The marks the late Romantic era, which was the emergence of Italian operas  such as Lohengrin by Richard Wagner, where the "Here Comes The Bride" tune is derived from, and Barber of Seville Overture by Gioachino Rossini as featured in Bugs Bunny cartoons. In art and literature came about the talents of Degas with La Classe de Danse and Mark Twain for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. 

    Now, onto the clothes: At this point in time, women went from giant crinoline skirts and leg of mutton sleeves to a sleeker more fitted top and a voluminous behind, aka the caboose. Around this time was the British occupation of India which brought in silks and color into middle class wear. Ever wonder what makes up a caboose? It is a modified bum roll, which is padding that is tied above the bum around the hips and  is a tube stuffed with horse hair, a bolster pillow of sorts. Over a petticoat and then the dress and any added train fabric.

    After that came the more realistic silhouette with a fitted top, open collar and tame triangular bottom. Then after came the more tubular dresses and the caboose disappeared. And as we can see the costumes speak for itself, and i must say these costumes are pretty accurate for the styling of the time, even though things such as pushup bras and colored nylons didn't appear til centuries after. I'd write more, but then it would end up as a costume history lesson. 

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