Jacket made of heavy wool in wine and cream. Tight fitting, hip-length jacket with stand-up collar. Front attached vest is ornately trimmed with maroon machine embroidery. The same trim is found on the shoulder, bottom of sleeve and on the back. Skirt of the jacket is shaped to fit over a bustle. c. 1890s.
The jacket was worn by Jessie Webb Corwin’s mother, Jessie Mason Webb.
Here is another from KTA up for auction.
Item Description: A fine sky blue brocaded silk caraco jacket, circa 1740-45, with winged cuffs, short peplum skirt with two faux pockets, green ribbon ties to the front, the silk, probably Spitalfield with gold and silver leaf scrolls Snowshill Manor includes a similar caraco jacket in bright red brocaded silk with winged cuffs which is dated 1735-40.
See Janet Arnold `Patterns of Fashion 1660-1860’ p.26 for a drawing of the piece.
… Janet … Arnold…
… . . Oh my I think I just died a little over the last line.
To kick off tomorrow post we’ll start with something a little earlier than what I had planned.
If you went to LACMA’s Fashion Fashion exhibition (which if that is the case don’t tell me because I will cry) or you have
the bible LACMA’s Fashioning Fashion sitting in front of you (which I do) turn to page 154 (that is not a request!) and devour the text.
If you don’t have the book no worries because I’m going to share what is on that page with you anyway!
The Revolutionary Vest dates from 1789-94 but the experts think it might be a tad older because under the current top layer (which is needlepoint stitch on canvas) is “luxurious striped green silk”. But it’s the symbolism of the vest that makes this such an important item.
I’m not going to type everything the book says because that would take forever but I am going to put up pieces from John Galliano’s preface where he spoke about this waistcoat: I was particularly taken with a gentleman’s vest; it is simply charmant (charming), to quote the coquettish collar… It gives many clues about the turbulent time, weaving style with politics, rebellion, and the tricolore. Here fashion speaks its owner’s mind through intricate needlework and beauty rather than through the violence of the day. As well as the collar, other clues can be found on the pockets.
One is the phrase. “L’HABIT NE FAIT PAS LE MOINE” (“The habit does not make the monk”), a caution to never judge a book by its cover or, indeed, take things, such as fashion, and its wearer, on face value alone.
The other pocket reads, ‘HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE,” a motto I recognized from the English Order of the Garter, which originally comes from the Old French saying, “Shame upon him who thinks evil of it.” Powerful messages to carry on your person! It is genius. I love the hidden messages and use of heroic symbolism and dandy analogy to, quite literally, wear your loyalties on your chest…
So, why don’t you look even closer at the vest? There are still many clues to unravel. Through its design and embroidery it tells how the wealthy once dressed like caterpillars by day, ostentatious butterflies by night, but then had to remember their loyalty to the state, to the blue, white, and red. This wearer is, as the collar hints, a bit of a charmer and seems to play it safe and profess both loyalties.
Take the tiny lapels: they are embroidered, one with a shorn caterpillar, the other with a butterfly with its wings cut. Does this mean the wearer’s wings have been cut? Ort is he glad that the rich, with their decadent ways, have been stopped? Well, this he can debate whichever way the company prefers…
… The vest is both a political and a fashion statement that captures the mood at the beginning of a new era. It also shows how style reacted, like a fickle mirror, and instantly rejected the gaudy finery so beloved before…
Sit back, relax and prepare yourself for the Regency.
I’ve decided to use my own photos because the V&A’s don’t really show how insanely tiny this woman was!
The V&A says: In the portrait, Margaret Layton wears the jacket with an Italian needlelace collar and cuffs, a black velvet gown, a red silk petticoat and a whitework apron. As with many women of this period, we know very little about her life, other than her recorded connections to her father and husband.
Materials & Making
The jacket has long, tight sleeves, narrow shoulder wings, semi-circular cuffs and a small curved collar at the back neck, dating it to about 1610. Made of linen, it is hand sewn and lined with coral silk taffeta. Originally the jacket was fastened with pink silk ribbons. In the 1620s, an edging of spangled silver-gilt bobbin lace was added. The ribbons were removed and probably replaced with hooks and eyes, which have not survived. The jacket is embroidered in plain and fancy detached buttonhole, stem, plaited braid, chain, long and short and Roumanian stitches, with spider knots and speckling, partially padded, and with spangles.
Materials & Making
Jacket, late 18th century
What a fascinating pierrot-thing. It’s rather weird, isn’t it? And the lining is amazing!
Crazy beautiful! Check out the inside:
It’s like a scrapbook of fabrics!
The stripes match up so beautifully in the back! Very impressive!
If you have ever tried to match patterns up you can appreciate the labour and love that went into this. The pattern matching is visually magnificent!
Look at those beautiful buttons and such dainty pink stitching!