Monday, June 18, 2012

Museum Exhibition: Panniers, Stays and Jabots

I was lucky enough to be in Brussels this weekend, and even luckier still that their costume museum happened to be holding an exhibition on 18th-century clothing called, Panniers, Stays, and Jabots.  I was even luckier still when they told me I could take pictures (without flash, of course).  This naturally meant I went crazy taking as many pictures as I could for your viewing pleasure.  The quality isn't amazing but the clothing and their condition certainly is!

Just check out that gorgeous bow on the back!

Sparkly-edge sleeves

A purse, a familiar face, and a fan

The detail on some of the gentleman's clothing was fantastic


I had to wonder if the edging was original because of its pristine condition

Late 18th C shoes

Embroidered flower detail on the heel

These would slip on a delicate pair of heels to avoid muddying them

Perhaps my favorite garment in the show

A calash bonnet- a rare sight!

Ivory fan

I would buy a blouse like this now!

The back of said favorite dress

These fans needed labels so badly! A fan made entirely of feathers

Ostrich feather fan- again I need a date of origin so badly!


  1. Spectacular! I'm pleased to see these are so well-preserved. Thank you for the great photos! Although I can't say I really envy the women who wore those clothes...

  2. I live near Brussels and I still haven't visited the exhibition! I'm going to after my exams though. There is also a very nice exhibition at the Fashion Museum in Antwerp right now.

  3. Are those lace mantillas in the last few photos? Beautiful! Thank you so much-- I wish I could see it all in person!


  4. Gorgeous! Do you know what they used for the sparkles?

  5. I could swear I've seen the double of that first fan! So familiar.

    Generally, I've found that fans with feathers don't tend to be made before the 1850s, so I wonder if those two feathery ones might not be later.

    It's also my experience that fly fringe can stay in *amazing* condition, so I wouldn't be surprised if it were original!

  6. @Tasha, I don't! It looked like our modern plastic material, I had never seen anything like it. But I should see my fashion-based colleague later so I will ask and see if she knows

    @Cassidy, That's what I was thinking too, especially with the peacock fan which certainly seems 19th century.
    I think some of the fridges were in better condition than some of my clothes!!

  7. @Tasha, if sparkles are the same as spangles or the modern sequins, they were made of gold or silver, beaten very thin and then struck on a hollow stake. Maybe other metals were used in lower quality work.

  8. Wow, they are exquisite. My favourite has to be the shoes with the embroidery on the heels. How lovely.

  9. What a gorgeous exhibit. Wish I could visit it.

  10. This white blouse is divine as everything else.

  11. I loved everything except for the weird hat that looked like a pop up convertible. Wheee!

  12. Is that ruffley blouse a riding habit shirt?! I've only seen 19thc. examples of those, but we know they existed!

  13. I'm not sure, their description didn't say. I'm sure it could be though!

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