The Latest

Aug 14, 2013
Jul 16, 2013

Useful hat-decorating video, for future reference.

See part 2 here

An Edwardian Ascot
Jun 25, 2013 / 12 notes

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…
Jun 17, 2013 / 2 notes

"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
Jun 17, 2013 / 7 notes

Cecil Beaton’s Ascot - movie still from My Fair Lady

Jun 17, 2013

Shaw and the Kimono

  • [Doolittle hurries to the door, anxious to get away with his booty. When he opens it he is confronted with a dainty and exquisitely clean young Japanese lady in a simple blue cotton kimono printed cunningly with small white jasmine blossoms]
  • Doolittle: Beg pardon, miss.
  • The Japanese Lady: Garn! Dont you know your own daughter?
  • Doolittle: Bly me! it's Eliza!
  • Eliza: Dont I look silly?
Coat of sable illustrated in Journal des Dames et des Modes, 1912
Jun 17, 2013 / 1 note

Coat of sable illustrated in Journal des Dames et des Modes, 1912

Jun 17, 2013 / 6 notes

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. 

The Western fashion industry is aggressive, posits itself as active, and more knowledgable than Asia. Most importantly, the West wills its version of the “truth” about Orientals into being. Chinoiserie is more than a transformation and reinterpretation of the Orient, it is the creation of the Orient that is amenable to imperialist mentality…the West has fashioned, so to speak, an Oriental that is emasculated primitive in its timelessness, colonized.
Mina Kim Park, 1997
Jun 17, 2013 / 1 note
Jun 16, 2013

Resources:

Chinatowns in a transnational world : myths and realities of an urban phenomenon / edited by Vanessa Künnemann, Ruth Mayer.

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
http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/Collections-Research/Collections-online/object.aspx?objectID=object-292467&start=0&rows=1
Jun 16, 2013 / 44 notes

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

http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/Collections-Research/Collections-online/object.aspx?objectID=object-292467&start=0&rows=1

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.
Jun 16, 2013 / 2 notes

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.

Jun 16, 2013 / 49 notes

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

The picture [Thomas Burke’s Limehouse Nights] presented of the social co-habitation of whites and Chinese in the slums of Limehouse undermined utterly the foundations of English culture by destabilizing the Englishness of its institutions. Burke’s portrayal of a hybrid East End where teenaged Cockney girls eat Chow Mein and Chop Suey with chopsticks in the local caffs, blithely gamble their house-keeping money at Puck-a-Pu and Fan Tan, burn joss-sticks in their bedrooms, and ritualistically prepare opium pipes in the corner pub, was the reason for the ban by Boots and W.H. Smith, whose policy was not to stock books that were salacious or corrupting.
Anne Witchard, 2004
Jun 16, 2013
[Limehouse’s Chinatown] was a troubling space by virtue of the perception that it compromised the sacred binary divisions of East and West, and jumbled the centre and the extreme peripheries of the Empire together, “so that what had been remote was now inwrought…the Orient’s signature was found in the very blueprint of a London neighborhood, in all its architecture and arrangement” (Case 2002:22)
Jon Burrows, "A Vague Chinese Quarter Elsewhere": Limehouse in the Cinema 1914-36, 2009
Jun 16, 2013