Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!


I saved the best for last. Every time I see this wig I am at a loss for words. Did the normal below-adequate model forget to come in so the poor intern was forced as a stand-in? Who knows.

In any case, I wrote a much more appropriate Halloween post last year about just how horrifying art in the 18th century could be. In the meantime, have fun, goons, and I'll be waiting for your 18th century costume pictures here.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Bad 18th Century Costume Halloween Countdown

Tomorrow is Halloween! I hope you have your costume ready. But, if not...

Did someone drown Cinderella? Or no, wait, this was the Ghost of Fashion Past that visited me one fateful night when I began to loose faith in Gautier. One thing I will give this costume, "Ghost of Marie Antoinette" is that it is, at least, original. However, the fact that there is only one view; and it doesn't show the front, probably means that the front isn't any better than the view we are allowed here.


They're bringing sexy back...

Many thanks to Fabulastic who thought this would be most-appreciated by many of the readers over here.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Put on Your Face

If anyone will be spending Halloween night decked in 18th century-wear, you must have the face that goes with it. There are a few makeup tutorials out on Youtube that some of you may find helpful:

I am a fan MissChievous' many makeup tutorials which are fun and easy to follow. Believe it or not, I have yet to try this one!

I've posted this video before in terms of hair but it also includes a makeup tutorial.

Sephora just released this short 'Get the Look' video to go along with their new Glamour Revolution Pallett that I will have a hard time NOT buying.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bad 18th Century Costume Halloween Countdown

Where did the time go?! Only 3 more days until Halloween!

Don't let this lady in as a prison-visitor! I have a feeling she might be hiding something.

Who knows what kind of crackie-wig designer came up with this "Marie Antoinette wig" but even the mannequin looks unimpressed. I think if, while leaning too close to a candle flame, this plastic atrocity caught on fire (a likely scenario, look at the height of that thing!) it would be a mercy killing. Many a foppish French hairdresser is rolling in his grave right now...he may just rise from eternal slumber just to give this wig an extra tease.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hunk Alert: William Beckford

GWM, Art Collector, Author, and Patron of the arts. Man of taste looking for a man of similar tastes.
Likes: Travel, art, architecture, gothic architecture, interior decorating, collecting, the exotic, young servants.

I like to remain a bit of a mysterious character due to some public scraps I've gotten into before, involving my personal life. I am happiest when I am renovating my massive homes or buying fabulous artworks, particularly from the Italian Renaissance or from the Orient. After a busy day of these enterprising projects, I like to write,walk among my large collection of animals, or find other means of relaxation inside the confines of my home.

I've been married before but am not exactly looking rush into another marriage again. A young man of the most refined tastes who also knows how to let loose would be the most interested in getting acquainted with me.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Georgian Couture

Both Angelina's Cafe and Portrait of a Lady have posted these gorgeous photos, but I had to share the wealth and enjoy them gracing my site as well. Plus it's nice to have some good modeling after all those bad Halloween costume pictures. Honestly, I am surprised I have missed these spreads before! These were from a photo shoot by Steven Meisel and appeared in Vogue Italia 2005. See more here and here. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Yay or Nay? Elijah Boardman

Last week, Duchess Elizabeth's aqua gown was not too much for you, although many felt the sleeves were a bit on the puffy side. This week let us critique one in the fashion industry himself, on his choice of outfit. But can a Yank hold his own with competition from the likes of European royalty?

Ralph Earl paints textile merchant, Elijah Boardman (1789) in his black and tan ensemble, complete with just a little flair in the form of buttons and buckles. Yay or Nay?

[Metropolitan Museum of Art]

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bad 18th Century Costume Halloween Countdown

Only one week to go until Halloween!

I don't know what I like more about this costume: the noble mien you would demand upon wearing it, or the fact that it was listed as George Washington Colonial Civil War Costume. Perhaps you can take off that blue atrocity of an overcoat and underneath is your rebel grays. How convenient, two wars in one! After all, we know, George Washington would have been so pleased to know that the country he worked so hard to form would be torn in two less than a century later.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Movie Review: Muppet Treasure Island

Based on Stevenson's classic novel, Muppet Treasure Island takes some liberties in veering from the original story. This is made up with the illustrious and star-studded cast which includes, Jennifer Saunders, Kermit the Frog, Billy Connolly, Miss Piggy, Tim Curry, Gonzo the Great, Kevin Bishop, Fozzie Bear, and the list goes on and on.

The story begins with the young and girly-voiced, Jim Hawkins (Bishop) who is an indentured servant for the sharpe-eared and husky, Mrs. Bluberidge (Saunders) who owns the local tavern. Hawkins craves adventure and after listening to regular, Billy Bones' (Connolly) pirate tale's of adventures, is even more keen to sail the high seas. Everything changes when the black spot is delivered to Billy one night at the tavern and the old pirate is struck with a heart-attack and in his final moments, bequeaths a treasure map to Jim. With his companions, Gonzo ans Rizzo, Jim leaves the tavern as it is being attacked by pirates and leaves Mrs. Bluberidge to defend it herself (she needs no aid). Soon Jim and his friends on a ship destined for the treasure where they meet Captain Smollett (Frog) and the ships cook, Long John Silver (Curry) whom they befriend. But when the crew finally arrive at the island it is discovered the whole crew was in fact pirates and that a lady from Captain Smollet's past resides on the island.

Believe it or not, this epic adventure-film is considered a comedy! It has both the elements of a musical or an oscar-worthy drama. Although many commended Kermit the Frog's performance I was most impressed with Tim Curry and Same Eagle. Miss Piggy should have been a shoe-in for best supporting actress in 1996. As for the costumes, they aren't always accurate but are still impressive. The music, being by the amazing Hans Zimmer makes for a great soundtrack. A must-see, especially for those in touch with their inner-child or perhaps those who have a child!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bad 18th Century Costume Halloween Countdown

There is 10 days left until Halloween!

This costume doesn't just fray at the edges constantly; it also doubles as a light beacon! Simply shine a light on it, and you will be radiating. Warning: don't wear before nightfall, could cause blindness or seizures. All this could be yours for a mere $87. Shipping and handling includes burn victim emergency kit. Whore wig sold separately.

[Disclaimer: If you have one of these costumes in your closet, never fear, Halloween is all about campy fun and so is this countdown. You better work that costume on 31 October as if it's Gucci!]


"I should not have selected, for so gentle and very amiable a man, a sister of the empress of fashion, nor a daughter of the goddess of wisdom."

-Horace Walpole, on Frederick Viscount Duncannon's marriage to Harriet Spencer

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bad 18th Century Costume Halloween Countdown

There is a mere 11 days left until Halloween, leaving you enough time to pick up a campy costume at your local shop. Let's look at some of our options.

This little number here is brought to you by HussyStore, which meets all your hussy needs. If your hussy needs mean you want to look like you pulled a Scarlet O'Hara and made the best out of your dear Greek grandmother's curtain remnants, then consider your costume search over. Many a gorgeous and slender lady at the Halloween party will gasp upon the discovery that the "Velvet Antoinette" costume they so yearned to find now graces you. "But, I thought it didn't exist!" they will say. Oh but it does, and you can get it at HussyStore!

[Disclaimer: If you have one of these costumes in your closet, never fear, Halloween is all about campy fun and so is this countdown. You better work that costume on 31 October as if it's Gucci!]

Monday, October 19, 2009

Perdita's Muffs

Mary Robinson, like Georgiana, was a giant fashion icon in the later part of the century. Like Lady G and her french counterpart, Perdita wearing anything would cause a demand for that article of clothing so the papers followed her every move, both in her personal and fashion life.

One of the rages Perdita began was for a series of muffs. Given, muffs had been around for quite a while and many people used them on cold days to warm their hands, but a muff Perdita used was more appealing to the masses. In the chilliness of March, 1782, The Morning Herald reported,
"The Cataract Muff is no sooner exhibited on the arm of Perdita than a rivalship in that article of dress was planned...At length a genius of the superior order produced the tablature muff..."
Perhaps having Romney immortalize her wearing a muff the year before confirmed her as an authority on the clothing article. So take a tip from Perdita, if you want to be a trendsetter, make sure you are seen and photographed often to get the credit you may or may not deserve.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Yay or Nay? Duchess Elisabeth of Württemberg

It was another split down the middle last week, with a final outcome of NAY for the unfortunate Caroline of Brunswick. Interestingly, most of the complaints were do to the "Daisy the Cow" hat (thanks Paul) or just the fact that the outfit was a bit too simple for a princess; and we know how that has gotten Marie Antoinette into trouble! This week we will be judging a royal pupil of the great Herr Mozart. Could some of this court composer's fashion sense rub off on German-born Duchess? Let us see.

Johann Baptist Lampi paints Elizabeth (1785) in her puffy, pearly, aqua ensemble. Yay or Nay?

[Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna]

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tart of the Week: Mary Read

Argh, we've never had a tart of the high seas so perhaps we must speak of Mary Read in true pirate-speak. Follow along as best you can, this entry separates the pirates from the aristocrats!

Mary Read be born in England, th' illegitimate lass o' a captain's widow. Mary had a half-brother from th' lass' mother's marriage who jus' happened t' be havin' somewhat o' an inheritance. When th' laddie sank t'Davy Jones' locker, th' lass' mother, worried about Mary's future an' th' lass' brother's inheritance, began dressin' Mary as a boy t' pass her off as her legitimate son so that Mary could inherit th' treasure. That be how Mary came t' be known as "Mark." However, Mary tookst th' lass' mother by surprise when she decided men's clothin' (an' lifestyle) be more t' th' lass' taste. Her' mother disowned th' lass' an' Mary/Mark ran away t' work on a ship an' then join th' army. T'would be thar that she would meet her husband.

After bein' a successful soldier Mary an' her husband tookst an early retirement an' opened up an inn called "The Three Horseshoes" in th' Netherlands. Mary seemed t' enjoy her role as an innkeeper's buxom beauty an' adopted lasses's clothin' which she had previously avoided. Sadly, th' lass' husband sank t'Davy Jones' locker an' Mary closed th' inn, became Mark again, an' joined a merchant ship. When th' ship be captured by seafarin' heartys, Mary convinced them t' let her become part o' th' crew an' th' rest be history.

Somewhere down th' line, Mary (in one o' them Pirates of the Caribbean-types o' seafarin' hearty community scenes, I imagine) met up wi' another lady-buccaneer by way o' Charleston in th' Colonies, Anne Bonny. Th' two serviced under Captain "Calico Jack" Rackham (Anne Bonny`s lover). Mary be still goin' as "Mark" at this time but when Anne developed a crush on th' lass', she revealed herself as a lass t' save Anne some embarrassment an' Captain Jack, th' trouble o' killin' th' lass' in a jealous rage. Anne an' Mary soon be inseparable an' terrorized th' high seas together.

Mary fell in love again, this time wi' a sea artist who be forced into Rackham`s crew. Th' forced crew-mate somehow managed t' rub another crew member the wrong way. Th' much more experienced seafarin' hearty challenged th' lad t' a duel. Mary, fearin' fer her lover, purposely began an argument wi' th' pirate which turned into a duel. When Mary's boy-toy showed up fer his impendin' duel he found his rival wouldna be arrivin' due t' havin' suddenly died.

But good times canna last ere. Mary an' Anne`s ship be captured an' only th' two ladies be determined t' swashbuckle. Sea dogs an' land lubbers else hid inside th' ship. This caused Mary t' fly into a rage an' shoot two jacks an' injure Captain Jack. T'would be o'er an hour before th' ladies could be captured. While in jail in Jamaica, th' ladies "pleaded the'r bellies" in order t' save they's self from a hangin'. Who knows if they really be pregnant. Th' plea may be havin' saved Mary fer th' time bein' but she would soon catch a bad feredurin' th' lass' imprisonment which be t' be th' fatal blow t' this tart o' th' sea.

[Thanks to PirateSpeak]

For the Landlubbers:
Mary had a half-brother from her mother's marriage who just happened to have somewhat of an inheritance. When the brother died, her mother, worried about Mary's future and her son's inheritance, began dressing Mary as a boy to pass him off as her legitimate son so that Mary could inherit the money. That is how Mary came to be known as 'Mark.' However, Mary took her mother by surprise when she decided men's clothing (and lifestyle) was more to her taste. Her mother disowned her and Mary/Mark ran away to work on a ship and then join the army. It was there that she would meet her husband.

After being a successful soldier Mary and her husband took an early retirement and opened up an inn called "The Three Horseshoes" in the Netherlands. Mary seemed to enjoy her role as an innkeeper's wife and adopted women's clothing which she had previously avoided. Sadly, her husband died and Mary closed the inn, became Mark again, and joined a merchant ship. When the ship was captured by pirates, Mary convinced them to let her become part of the crew and the rest is history.

Somewhere down the line, Mary (in one of those Pirates of the Caribbean-types of pirate community scenes, I imagine) met up with another lady-buccaneer by way of Charleston in the Colonies, Anne Bonny. The two serviced under Captain "Calico Jack" Rackham (Anne Bonny's lover). Mary was still going as "Mark" at this time but when Anne developed a crush on her, she revealed herself as a woman to save Anne some embarrassment and Captain Jack, the trouble of killing her in a jealous rage. Anne and Mary soon were inseparable and terrorized the high seas together.

Mary fell in love again, this time with a sea artist who was forced into Rackham's crew. The forced crew-mate somehow managed to rub another crew member another way. The much more experienced pirate challenged him to a duel. Mary, fearing for her lover, purposely began an argument with the pirate which turned into a duel. When Mary's boy-toy showed up for his impending duel he found his rival would not be arriving due to having suddenly died.

But good times can't last forever. Mary and Anne's ship was captured and only the two ladies were determined to fight. Everyone else hid inside the ship. This caused Mary to fly into a rage and shoot two sailors and injure Captain Jack. It was over an hour before the ladies could be captured. While in jail in Jamaica, the ladies "pleaded their bellies" in order to save themselves from a hanging. Who knows if they really were pregnant. The plea may have saved Mary for the time being but she would soon catch a bad fever during her imprisonment which was to be the fatal blow to this tart of the sea.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Okay, Enough with the Fs Already!

Anyone whose has had a glance at an 18th century newspaper, poster, or even book (or just about anything in Historic Williamsburg) may have noticed something a bit off. One of the most common letters in the alphabet is replaced by a different one. That is, just about every s is gone and replaced with an f. Now why would they go and do that?

The truth is those fs aren't actually fs at all! They are what was known as Long Ss. It's similar to what an italicized form of an s looks like. Orginally the grammatical rule deemed that the long s would be the s used in the middle of a word while the "normal" one would be used at the end, so mistress would come out like miftrefs. Of course since this was a silly rule to begin with, it was only followed loosely. Of course even though those fs are really a stretched out s, I'd be curious if you could truly explain the aesthetic difference to me, because the font definitely looks the same!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hunk Alert: Joseph Banks

SWM, Botanist, Naturalist, Explorer, and President of the Royal Society. Looking for a woman with a keen interest in gardening or other such Enlightening activities.
Likes: plants, sea voyages, the Histories and Sciences, and long walks in the park.

Some may describe me as a macaroni but I consider myself a man of science with a zest for adventure. I have just come back from seeing the wonders of the uncharted world with Captain Cook. This voyage has kept me very busy with the fascinating task of identifying and categorizing hundreds of flora that have never been seen in the western world. Despite my love for my job my long years on sea have brought me to realization that I miss the gentle companionship of a lady.

A woman who can appreciate the natural world is the lady for me. I don't need one with the same fervor for plants as I, but an appreciation is necessary. Otherwise, I would love to meet a lady who can discuss any good books, perferably on a long walk; be it on my estate or on the crowded streets of London.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Yay or Nay? Caroline of Brunswick

Have you no pity for those who do God's work?? Last week the heathens overhwhemingly voted Nay for Maria Maximiliana's creative spin on a habit. Oh well, perhaps it is something more casual you seek? Especially if they are of a sinful nature...

Thomas Lawrence paints Caroline of Brunswick (1798) in a casual muslin gown that looks very similar to our collared shirts of today. The princess adds a straw bonnet with flowers and a pale pink shall for a bit of colour. Yay or Nay?

[Victoria and Albert Museum]

Friday, October 9, 2009


Joshua Reynolds, Mrs. George Huddesford, 1776

Thursday, October 8, 2009

So what is a Piccadilly Anyway?

Piccadilly does not sound like the most English of words. So how did it come to be the centre of London? Truth be told, it really isn't an English word, but that is all part of the tale I am about to tell.

The history of this very busy street/circus all goes back to a tailor in the 17th century. Yes, we owe it to fashion. Robert Baker was a tailor living on Portugal Street, as it was then called, who specialized in making lace collars known as picadills or picadillies, which were all the rage. His mansion, which he bought with the massive wealth he acquired from selling these frills, was known as Pickadilly Hall. By 1743 the name stuck and Piccadilly came to be.

It also came to be the street where all the rich aristocrats came to build their rich London mansions. Its fashionable genesis also continued into a fashionable tradition, Piccadilly soon grew into a hub for shopping. If we went on the Underground and came up in 18th century we would see and hear much of the same traffic, only with carriages and less smog emissions. The sound of the numerous vehicles was deafening to country ears and frightening for any tourists (especially if trying to cross the street).

By 1811 the Prince of Wales put his interest into something other than mistresses and upsetting his parents. He commissioned John Nash, to come up with a new street that imposed some logic to the medieval street plans. Call it urban development! The result was Regent Street and in 1819 enough of it was built for it to be connected to Piccadilly. But how? The result was Piccadilly Circus. Now the traffic of Piccadilly had more tributaries to disperse, although it never did seem to decrease. That remains true to this day. Although little remains of the Georgian and Regency architecture, one thing from the 18th century does remain: the traffic.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Coming Soon

As if Pride and Prejudice and Zombies wasn't enough, two weeks from now Quirk Books will be releasing an heirloom edition to add a certain dignity to your bookshelf. This hardcover edition contains more colour illustrations the previous did not have (and more historically accurate, I might add!). I should hopefully have more info on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Deluxe Edition in the oncoming weeks to let any fans know any gruesome details!

Also out now from Quirk is Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters which I still haven't gotten my tentacles on but am still very eager to read. Are there any readers out there who can give their review of this latest Austen monster mash?

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Night at the Theatre

Going to a play was a much different affair than it is today. Without the simple convenience of nightly entertainment in the form of a television, the theatre was a one-stop shop for something to talk about for the rest of the month. So how would your night go?

The Afternoon-
Pick out your best outfit, do your hair, make sure makeup is immaculate. You only go to the theatre to be seen!

Around 5:00-6:00-
Arrive at the theatre of your choice. Mill about while the opening music plays. Check out who is the best dressed, make faces at those who are better dressed than yourself. See if your rival (political or otherwise) is there and make sure you act appropriately since all the papers will be talking about it tomorrow. Catch the eye of the woman or man you would like to become more intimate with. Is the royal family there tonight? Finally, when all those necessities are out of the way you can make your way to your box. Remember, this could be the most important part of your trip!

Bring on the Show!-
Of course, while you're in your box you should still be keeping your eye out for anything gossip-worthy. The play will begin, hopefully with the best and most fashionable actors of the time. In between acts there could be a comedy routine, singing, dancing, miming, juggling or acrobatics, and even a bit of a sideshow.

After the Play-
You aren't going home just yet! That is, unless you are a gent who has just caught the eye of one of the women working the playhouse! After the play, there is another event to stay in your seat for. Perhaps a little opera is on the menu or even a ballet. Your eyes should still be gracing over the crowd because some people show up just for the Afterpiece since it is half-priced.

The Exit-
By now you've been at the theatre for hours. It could be midnight or later. Perhaps it is time to go home or perhaps it's time for a card game or dinner with friends. After all, going to the theatre might just be the start to your night!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Yay or Nay? Princess-Abbess Maria Maximiliana von Stadion of Buchau

Although our mysterious lady from last week didn't seem too popular, she still managed a Yay. You guys must be feeling generous lately! But will the bitchy return of Michael Kors on Project Runway this week remind you of the joy of being nit-picky and critical? I can't wait to find out! This is an outfit I'm pretty excited about and had to sacrifice size in order to gain quality, so apologies about that.

Andreas Brugger permanently frescoes Maria Maximiliana on the walls of a church in her spin on a habit for a princess-abbess. Yay or Nay?

[Damenstift Buchau]

Thursday, October 1, 2009

It's October! You know What that Means

For those readers who have been around since last year, you might recall that my favourite holiday is Halloween. It could be the inner-18th century lady in me, but I just love a night of mischief at the masquerade. Last year I asked, and I will ask again now: who has an 18th century-related costume they might want to share? Any Duchesses of D out there? Queens of the Night? Marquises de Sade?

If you have an 18th century related costume planned for this year I want to know about it, even if you can't share your pictures! So what's everyone going to be?