The early 1800’s saw some of the most extravagant dresses ever created. Brightly coloured, heavily trimmed and elaborately embroidered with huge sleeves, tiny waists and billowing shirts.
This was also the golden age of satire and fashion provided a rich source of material for social satirists. They ridiculed the fashions of the day, depicting and exaggerating such trends as towering hairdos, gigantic hats, tight corsets, puffed bosoms and bottoms, and riots of frills.
George and Robert Cruikshank published a series of “Monstrosities” between 1816 and 1828 lampooning the fads and follies of Regency fashion victims as they promenaded in the park. They were hugely popular and are still good for a chuckle.
In the 21st century we still have extreme fashion. I wonder what the Cruikshanks would have made of this outfit!
Whilst totally unwearable by all other than Lady Gaga it demonstrates the deep relationship between art and textiles. Vincent van Gogh’s Wheat Field series was the inspiration behind this couture dress by Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren. Couture fashion drives forward textile design and embroidery techniques to create visually stunning art.
I have recently enjoyed the coffee table book “Embellished, New Vintage” by Karen Nicol, a mixed media textile and embroidery designer and artist based in London.
The book is “inspirational”, a visual feast for textile artists and embroiderers and will take you on a journey through the process of inspiration and creativity. Karen’s clients include Clements Ribeiro, Matthew Williamson, John Rocha, Anthropologie, Designers Guild, Givenchy, Chloe and Chanel.
If you would like to find out more about Karen Nicol this 11 minute video is very interesting.
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