Costume for Vivien Leigh as Paola in “Duel of Angels”

M. Berman Ltd.


The role of Paola in Duel of Angels was created by the noted French actress Edwige Feuillère, for whom the celebrated couturier Christian Dior created the costumes. By 1958, when the play was presented in London, with Vivien Leigh as Paola, Dior was dead and so the costume was recreated by the London costume firm Bermans without the benefit of Dior’s overseeing. 

Dior cleverly retained the characteristics of the period in which the play was set - 1859 - while reinventing the period style in terms of his own New Look and the 1950s. There were indeed similarities between the looks, the fitted bodices and wide full skirts, but Dior incorporates touches that could only be of the 1950s - like box pleats in the skirt. Rather than create the tightwaisted look by full-length corseting or Dior’s ‘waspie’ corset, the shaping structure is built into the jacket itself, using interlined seaming and some light boning, so that the illusion of the corseting is maintained while leaving the actress in relative comfort.



Evening Dress 1860-62

The female silhouette of the middle of the 19th century consisted of a fitted corseted bodice and wide full skirts. The conical skirts developed between the 1830s, when the high waist of the Empire silhouette was lowered and the skirts became more bell shaped, to the late 1860s, when the fullness of the skirts were pulled to the back and the bustle developed. The flared skirts of the period gradually increased in size throughout and were supported by a number of methods. Originally support came from multiple layers of petticoats which, due to weight and discomfort, were supplanted by underskirts comprised of graduated hoops made from materials such as baleen, cane and metal. The fashions during this time allowed the textiles to stand out because of the vast surface areas of the skirt and a relatively minimal amount of excess trim.

Culture: American Medium: silk Dimensions: Length at CB: 58 in. (147.3 cm) Credit Line: Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. Willis McDonald, 1925 Accession Number:2009.300.2976


Costume Worn By Jean Simmons as Elizabeth in “Young Bess”

Walter Plunkett


Profiles in History

Fran Drescher stars as the wicked stepmother in “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella.”

(Source: tech-haus)


Gown, c. 1774 - 1775

This is a very rare example of the use of velvet in 18th-century women’s dress. Normally fabrics are printed after the weaving process. In the chiné technique, the warp threads are printed before, and during weaving the slight pulling of the threads gives the pattern a blurred effect, resembling a watercolour when finished. In this extraordinary example, the chiné process has been combined with velvet - a difficult technique that was produced only in a few places in France. The silk for this fabric is reputed to have cost 36 shillings a yard. With an average of 17 yards required for a gown and petticoat of this style, the fabric would today cost about £2,200.

Victoria and Albert Museum


GEORGIANS: Dress for polite society

25 January 2014 - 1 January 2015

“…it being absolutely necessary that propriety of dress should be observed at so polite an assembly as that at Bath”. Captain William Wade, Master of Ceremonies, New Assembly Rooms Bath 1771.

 The Fashion Museum’s special exhibition for 2014, GEORGIANS, celebrates the museum’s situation in the Georgian Assembly Rooms in Bath. The new exhibition will present a selection of the finest fashions worn by those attending Assemblies, and other glittering occasions of 18th century life.

 An Assembly was defined at the time as “a stated and general meeting of the polite persons of both sexes for the sake of conversation, gallantry, news and play”. As Bath grew in popularity in the 18th century, there was a need for a grand Assembly Room in the fashionable upper town, and in 1771 the New Rooms, designed by John Wood the Younger and financed by public subscription, opened to the public. Today, the New Rooms are known as the Assembly Rooms and are the location of the world-famous Fashion Museum.

GEORGIANS will include over 30 original 18th century outfits and ensembles from the museum’s world-class collection, including gowns made of colourful and richly patterned woven silks, as well as embroidered coats and waistcoats worn by Georgian gentlemen of fashion.

 A highlight of the exhibition will be a trio of wide-skirted Court dresses dating from the 1750s and 1760s (held out by cane supports known as panniers, from the French word for baskets), the early years of the reign of King George III.

 The Grand Finale of GEORGIANS will include 18th century-inspired fashions by five top fashion designers: Anna Sui, Meadham Kirchhoff, Vivienne Westwood, Stephen Jones, and AlexanderMcQueen. All are influenced by the 18th century aesthetic, and all (in different ways) show how the elegance and grace of Georgian dress continues to inspire fashion today.

Source +Picture Source


Costume “Burgundy Rococo”

Rococo inspired extravagant costume consisting of stays, a matching bolero jacket, a short hoop skirt and a long overskirt with drapery.

The stays are made from red and black brocade, decorated with satin ribbon, pleated border and a bow brooch attached to the center front.

The hoop skirt is made from the same brocade, trimmed with box pleats around the hem.
The overskirt and back drapery is made of burgundy taffeta, trimmed with small pleated brocade border. Furthermore it has an underskirt of burgundy organza trimmed with organza flounces.

The bolero jacket is also made from taffeta and features rococo inspired sleeves with organza flounces and is trimmed again with pleated brocade border. 

Royal Black Couture and Corsetry (x)