Thursday, August 20, 2009

Textiles on Thursday: A 1920s beaded bodice front

For any woman with a figure that is less than perfectly slim and hipless, the thought of waist-obliterating, hip-conscious 1920s dresses is nerve wracking. Many 1920s dresses were baggy and unflattering, but talented dressmakers found ways to make the style cling to wearers figures in just the right way, so that the hips appeared slim and willowy, and the rest of the figure proportional.

One of the most popular techniques for making the straight 1920s cut more flattering was beading. Beads weighed down the light fabrics used for 1920s evening fashions, causing them to drape attractively. They also lent interest to the mainly plain, unpatterned fabrics that were in fashion.

This portion of a 1920s blouse or dress is a perfect illustration of the popularity of beading.


Matte black beads ornament the white silk chiffon in a pattern of geometricised flowers, adding visual interest and dimensionality to the fabric.




A close inspection of the reverse of the fabric reveals that the beads have been woven into the fabric, rather than being applied later. This is a fascinating and unusual detail.




The pattern of beads on the reverse of the bodice hem is a quirky and clever touch, which may also have served the practical purpose of adding additional weight to the hem to make it lie properly, similar to the chains which Chanel sewed into the hems of her jackets.


The beading also appears to have been woven en disposition, or with the cut of the dress in mind.


The neck and sleeves of the bodice front are bound in black silk bias tape.




A tag, probably for a cleaner, is attached to the bodice fragment.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Patterns, Colours, Forms, and Light

Slide 1: Patterns, colours, forms and light: identifying the detailing of historically significant features in textiles

1821 Oberkampf printworks in Jouy-en-Josas Mignonettes

Slide 2: Flowering tree designs: dates show how motifs repete themselves, and change with time

1760 India pampalore
a set of four flowering-tree designs

Mezzaro: C19 an Italian block-printed imitation
of the Indian pampalore, but square,
whereas the pampalore was rectangular

Slide 3: Symbolism and iconography in design

Chasuble & Cope details © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Slide 4: Fleur de Lis

Louis XIV of France

Slide 5: Indigos: dyes rather than design with a distinctive look-one of the most widely used dyes

3000BC plants of Indigofera were harvested in India
Dye patterns printed with resist and discharge techniques

Slide 6: Blue resists: popular in Europe and America until discharge became less costly

A resist-paste or wax resistant to dye-is printed on cloth.
Then cloth is dyed, then resist is removed.

Slide 7: Block print: cherished for traces of human hand

A carved fruit wood block is coated with pigment, and pushed into the cloth.
A range of colours can be achieved by repeating the process with different blocks

Slide 8: Turkey Red

1810-20 from Alsatian textile mill. Turkey red designs in gouache. A popular book of the period.

Slide 9: Pattern Books and fashion changes

Mid C19 Paris

Rapid demand for swatches of latest European fabrics
Businesses played a vital role in disseminating design by mailing envelopes of swatches by subscription

Slide 10: Floral

All gatherings of the flower garden including grasses, but fruit and vegetables are called conversational, as are
nuts and pinecones. All flowers in the floral family are to some degree abstracted from nature, for if they are appear in a scenic print they are considered conversational.


Slide 11: Consersational

Conversational: depicts some real creature or object; a whole scene (landscape)
which is more attention getting than a floral


Slide 12: Ethnic

Ethnic: a pattern or style with a foreign or exotic feeling


Slide 13: Geometric

Geometric: circles, squares, triangles, spirals, polka dots and plaids, etc.


Slide 14: Stripes

James Tissot, The Return from the Boating Trip, 1873

Pastoureau, M. 2001. The Devil’s Cloth: a history of stripes and the striped fabric

Slide 15: Dots

PANEL, 4th century; Coptic period (3rd-12th century), Attributed to Egypt, linen and wool. Metropolitan Museum of Art

Frank Lloyd Wright fabric with dots, 1947

Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical

Slide 1: Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassical

Madame de Pompadour at her tambour frame. 1763-64 Francois-Hubert Drouais

Slide 2: Baroque: Drama and Grandeur

Velvet panel, ca. 1700
Italian (probably Genoa)
Silk velvet, cut and uncut on satin ground. Metropolitan Museum of Art

Slide 3: Creating Awe

Costume Armor, ca. 1780–90
French; Made/manufactured: France
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Slide 4: Baroque and propaganda

The Crusaders Reach Jerusalem: Scenes from the Gerusalemme Liberata , 1732–39. Designed by Domenico Paradisi (active 1691–1721); Woven at the San Michele manufactory in Rome under the direction of Pietro Ferloni. Italian. Wool and silk; Met Museum

Slide 5: Baroque and the Catholic Church

Chasuble, 18th century Italian (Sicily, probably)
Silk, metallic thread; Metropolitan Museum of Art

Slide 6: Rococo: serpentine curves, three-dimensional ornamentation and clear, delicate colours


Slide 7: Rococo and the natural world

Les Perdrix (The Partridges), ca. 1771–72. Philippe de Lasalle (French, 1723–1804), designer. French (Lyon). Met Museum

Slide 8: Chinoiserie: Rococo and the east

Printed cotton, 1787
French (Jouy)
Cotton. Met museum

Dress (Robe à la Française), 1740s British; silk, pigment, linen. Met Museum

Slide 9: Anna Maria Garthwaite

Waistcoat, 1747; Textile designed by Anna Maria Garthwaite (1690–1763) and manufactured by Peter Lekeux (1716–1768) British; Made in London. Porcelain blue silk brocaded with silver-gilt foliate and appliquéd with polychrome silk. Met Museum

Brocaded silk, design dated 1748. Anna Maria Garthwaite designer; Thomas Brant, weaver

Slide 10: Neoclassicisism: Order, seriousness, and simplicity

Madame Raymond de Verninac Oil on canvas, 1798–1799. Jacques-Louis David (French, 1748–1825)

Slide 11

Young Ladies at Home", idealized classicized engraving of Regency women, by Henry Moses (probably originally made in 1812, published by 1823)

Slide 12: Patriotism and the Neoclassical style

Commemorative printed cotton, 1806. Attributed to John Burg
Lancashire, England. Cotton
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Slide 13: Neoclassical design and world exploration
"La Marchande d'Amours," ca. 1817. Designed by Louis-Hippolyte Lebas (French, 1782–1867); Manufactured by Oberkampf
Jouy, France. Cotton. Met Museum

Textiles on the Silk Road

Silks and Spices: investigating the impact of geographic routes

Slide 1:

The origins of the Silk Road
Western origins and Eastern origins
Sericulture in China
The importance of silk in Chinese society
Impact of the silk trade in the East
Transfer of design and culture from West to East
Greco-Roman, Buddhist, Persian, Christian
Impact of the silk trade on the West
Transfer of technology from East to West
Political implications of the silk trade
The end of the Silk Road

Slide 2: The Silk Road


Slide 3: Alexander the Great goes East

329 BC – Alexander founds Alexandria Eschate

Ca 200 BC – First known contact between China and the West (Alexander’s heirs)


Sampul tapestry ca 300 BC. Xinjiang Museum, Urumqi, China

Slide 4: China goes West

Ca 130 BC -ambassadors sent to central Asia

27-14 BC – ambassadors sent to Rome

Abduction of a lady with her porcelains

Slide 5: Sericulture and the trade in Chinese silk

3,000 BC – Yellow Emperor and Empress bring silk to Chinese

1,600 BC – first fragments of silk found in Chinese tombs

2nd century BC – silk comes in to common usage in China, embroidered silk from China reaches the Mediterranean

2nd century AD - silk is a major element in Chinese economy

Women involved in silk production, ca 1200 AD

Slide 6: Silk in Chinese Society

The tomb of Lady Dai, 168 BC
Slide 7: Impact of the Silk Road Trade on the East

Culture and design moves eastward.
Towns along the Silk Road rise in importance.

Chinese jade and steatite plaques, in the Scythian-style animal art of the steppes. 4th-3rd century BC. British Museum.

Slide 8: Buddhism travels on the Silk Road

Travelling monk, ink and colours on paper: on the silk road

Avalokitesvara as a guide of souls, ink and colours on silk: Woman being led to Amitabha (the Buddhist paradise) by the bodhisattava Avalokitesvara.

Both images from Mogao, near Dunhuang, Gansu province, China, Five Dynasties or Northern Song Dynasty, 10th century AD
Slide 9: Persian designs travel on the Silk Road
Slide 10: Christianity moves East

A Christian figure, ink and colours on silk (fragment)
From Cave 17, Mogao, near Dunhuang, Gansu province, ChinaTang dynasty, 9th century AD

Slide 11: Impact of the silk trade on the West

Technology move west
Silk in the West
Towns and cities along the Silk Road rise in importance

Monks bringing silk worms to the emperor

Slide 12: Eastern silk in the West

Maenad in silk dress, Naples National Museum.

Marco Polo at the Court of Kublai Khan, ca. 1280

Slide 13: Constantinople and the silk trade

Empress Theodora and her retinue, from the Basillica of San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy, 548 AD

Slide 14: The end of the Silk Road

1250-1360 – Mongol Empire expands to take over most of Central Asia

1405 – Fall of Mongol Empire

Sea routes carry trade around India

Rise of silk industry in the west – Constantinople silk weavers move to Italy

Economic isolation in the east

Cities and towns along the Silk Road loose their importance

Loom-width piece of velvet, late 15th century. Probably Bursa, Turkey, possibly Venice. Silk velvet pile and voided areas brocaded with silver-gilt-wrapped silk wefts. Metropolitan Museum of Art