Saturday, 10 March 2012

The Dressing-up Box: #2 The Elegant Edwardians

This particularly uneventful weekend, I have been thinking about Edwardian-style elegance and gazing at fun looking Edwardian murder-mystery games on Amazon, so, in lieu of anything better to do with my Saturday night, I thought I'd make my second dressing-up box post.

In the Edwardian period (1900-1914) pioneering fashion designer Paul Poiret famously freed women of the debilitating fashion for corsets... but then imprisoned their legs with the invention of the hobble skirt. Well, thanks very much Poiret. However, women's emancipation aside, the 1900s is a really fun era for murder-mystery games. I myself have played two of those mentioned below and remember leaping at the chance to get into some serious costume. I resurrected an ancient lilac bridesmaid's dress with puffy sleeves, wrapped a long black skirt over the bottom half, donned some white gloves, and thoroughly enjoyed swanning around in my creation.

The basic principles of Edwardian fashion are as follows:

* Art Nouveau patterns

* A column-like silhouette, with long narrow skirts and a high waists

* Exotic feathered headbands, turbans and wide brimmed hats

* Lace up, pointy ankle boots

* Above-the-elbow length gloves

A few wonderful Edwardian period bits and pieces around at the moment (March 2012): Susan Caplan Vintage Gold Tone Edwardian Pendant Necklace, ASOS; Feathered turban, Asos Revive; In with the Nouveau earrings, Modcloth; ’Olive’ headband, Pearl and Ivy.

I have included some items from Modcloth, who have the most wonderful website. But be warned, visit it at your peril because a) it's amazing and you will want everything on there and b) it's expensive to order from the UK because you have to pay 20 per cent tax, and if you want to make returns, you have to do it sharpish as it takes ages for stuff to get back to America. If you do go ahead then don't be an idiot like me and totally miss these fundamental points. However, if you live in the States then lucky you: free returns I believe!

For inspiration

Titanic (1997) has amazing costumes and is also a fun to watch, if ludicrously 2D, interpretation of the social tapestry of the period: rich equals bad, poor equals good, Irish equals sexy. (Yes, the perfect upstairs-downstairs Mills & Boon style romance.) Expect not to cry but to weep - when I first saw Titanic, aged thirteen, I sobbed so relentlessly and so loudly that I got the kind of angry stares usually reserved for those throwing popcorn at people's heads.

The artwork of Georges Barbier, costume designer and fashion illustrator (1882-1932).

Edwardian murder-mystery games

Death by Chocolate, Paul Lamond Games
The Silver Bullet, Paul Lamond Games (Sherlock Holmes themed)
What the Butler Saw, Murder A La Carte. (NB I don't think this game is produced anymore, but you should be able to find a copy on eBay

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