An Edwardian Ascot
"Blue silk dress from 1912-14 with embroidery in bright colours. The cut of the dress is ‘Western’ but parts of Chinese clothing were used. The skirt seems to be made from a type called the ‘hundred-pleats skirt’, fashionable in China from the 1860s. This skirt with its many sewn-down pleats would originally have been worn as part of an ensemble that included a long jacket-type robe." - The Museum of London online catalogue
I first encountered this dress while searching through the Museum of London’s online databases, and was instantly intrigued by the way that this dress effortlessly combines East and West into a single garment. The dress is made out of a traditional Qing garment, cunningly tailored to conform with Edwardian fashion, and it makes me wonder whether this was worn by a British woman or an Asian immigrant…
Cecil Beaton’s Ascot - movie still from My Fair Lady
Coat of sable illustrated in Journal des Dames et des Modes, 1912
Ralph Lauren Spring 2008 RTW Collection
Pictures from Style.com - Photographed by Marcio Madeira.
It’s quite clear to me that Ralph Lauren took inspiration from Cecil Beaton’s designs from the movie My Fair Lady when creating these designs. I love how effortlessly modern they look, while still hearkening back to the clothes that would have been worn at Ascot in the 1900’s.
Contents: Introduction: a “bit of orient set down in the heart of a western metropolis” : the Chinatown in the United States and Europe / Ruth Mayer — New York after Chinatown: Canal Street and the “new world order” / John Kuo Wei Tchen — “Chinese quarters” : maritime labor, Chinese migration, and local imagination in Rotterdam and Hamburg, 1900-1950 / Lars Amenda — Cosmopolitan lifestyles and “yellow quarters” : traces of Chinese life in Germany, 1921-1941 / Dagmar Yu-Dembski — Rehabilitating chinatown at mid-century : Chinese Americans, race, and us cultural diplomacy / Mary Lui — “Curious kisses” : theChinatown fantasies of Thomas Burke / Anne Witchard — “The greatest novelty of the age” : Fu-Manchu, Chinatown, and the global city / Ruth Mayer — The Donaldina Cameron myth and the rescue of America, 1910-2002 / Kirsten Twelbeck — “Showing what it is to be Chinese” : China/town authenticity and hybridity in Pearl S. Buck’s kinfolk / Vanessa Künnemann — “Food town” :Chinatown and the American journey of Chinese food / Yong Chen — London’s Chinatown and the changing shape of Chinese diaspora / Rosemary Sales with Panos Hatziprokopiou, Alessio D’Angelo and Xia Lin — Chinatowns in transition : between ethnic enclave and global emblem / Flemming Christiansen.
Indian suffragettes on the Women’s Coronation Procession of 17 June 1911. The small Indian contingent was organised by Mrs Jane Fisher Unwin (the daughter of Richard Cobden). She and other representatives of the WSPU contacted Indian women living in the UK in the weeks leading up to the procession, whilst organising the decorations and the collection of subscriptions for the elephant banner that cost between £4 & £5. The India procession was part of the ‘Imperial Contingent’ and was intended to show the strength of support for women’s suffrage throughout the Empire. All corners of the empire were represented and divided into 6 sections – New Zealand, Australia, Canada, South Africa, India and Crown Colonies & Protectorates. Annie Besant also took part in the India procession.
Source: Museum of London
It is unclear at what date this photo was taken, but it’s fascinating to see the way in which Sorabji has chosen express her own identity by adding a sari-like shawl to her otherwise standard late-Victorian dress. From the photograph, it seems that the shawl was carefully chosen to match the fabric of her skirt, and is pinned into her coiffure to prevent it from slipping. The high collar is decorated with intricate beading, and the lace overlay in the front of the blouse adds an elegant touch to an otherwise simple gown. It would have been really interesting to find out more about this garment, and whether she retained the sari even while working as a lawyer.
Cornelia Sorabji (1866-1954), Barrister and Social Reformer
Sitter in 2 portraits
In 1886 Sorabji received a first-class degree from Deccan College, Poona. She was the first woman to be a admitted to the college, but because of her gender she was unable to take up a scholarship to a British university. Instead she taught at Gujarat College, but in 1888 she went to Somerville Hall, Oxford. She read the Bachelor of Civil Law and in 1892 became the first woman to sit for the examination. Although it was not possible for women to become barristers until 1919, she continued to read law with a solicitors’ firm at Lincoln’s Inn, until she was called to the bar in 1922. Her publications included India Calling (1934) and India Recalled (1936) and helped edit Queen Mary`s Book for India (1943).
Source: National Gallery Website