Sometimes I wonder if I was born in the wrong century. The late part of the 1800s up to the end of 1930s is a time I favor the most. That was the time of straight-laced language and refined sensibilities, but I find that period full of modern energy as well. Innovations started to change the way people did things and if you watched Downton Abbey, you know those people had seen some good examples of innovations from the advent of telephone and electric light, to bread toaster, refrigerator and curling iron. With a little reluctance, they embraced the arrival of the technology and it was a non-stop of inventions from then on.
(Above: Bread Toaster circa 1890 by Landers, Frary & Clark)
(Above: Victorian sterling curling iron late 1800)
Various historical styles movements and exotic décors influenced the architecture at the end of 1800. The revivals of Greek, Gothic, and Renaissance designs were fused with contemporary engineering and adapted to the new technology. We all love the Art Nouveau of Victor Horta, a Belgium architect-designer whose designs were fluid, sensuous and in harmony with nature.
(Above: Victor Horta – Architect – Tassel House – Bruxelles)
Nature had become the main muse for all artists, they used flora and fauna in any ornaments. They brought all the natural shapes found in nature to embellish buildings and decorative arts.
The same fluidity was found in women fashion. From the Victorian time characterized by bustle skirts, sexy corsets, plumes and laces to the straight shorter dresses of 1920, fringes and cigarette holders. Women had a regal, elegant poise and even in the simplicity of some of their dresses they carried an aura of sophistication.
I like to go to the Dickens Fair every year before Christmas to feel that straight-laced language and refined sensibilities we have lost. It makes me feel happy being in the past for only one day. The comical part of dressing up with a ton of layered clothes is the moment a woman needs to go to the restroom. I am sure women of that period mastered their needs, but modern women still wonder how they did it.
Live performances on stage are true to the period, the actors in the isles of the compound act out pieces of street life as it would have been in old London, there are many shops to visit with rigorously Victorian style merchandise for sale, there is even period food, everyone working in the fair is trained to speak with old English expressions and I am happy. Yes, I know I have already lived in that time. Ciao,
Copyright © 2016 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved
Designer Valentina Cirasola is a creative master in the art of living who makes little distinction between work and play. She expresses her creativity in the homes she designs or decorates, in her book on the subject of colors, in the accessories and furniture she designs, in her cookery books and in the way her energy influences people around her. Do you need a special attire? She is ready to design an original piece for you whatever the occasion. Get a copy of her books here: