19th Century Clothing Activity and Exhibition Analysis
19th Century Clothing Activity and Exhibition Analysis Descriptive Essay
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Updated: May 26th, 2022
In this paper, I will describe a work of art from an exhibition devoted to the fashion of the 19th century. The exhibition is entitled Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity, and it took place in the Metropolitan Museum of Art located at the Met Fifth Avenue, New York, in 2013. The theme of the exhibition is the fashion of the impressionist epoch and its reflection in the art of that time. The works of art presented in the exhibition include male and female garments that were popular in France in the 19th century and paintings of impressionist artists, such as Monet and Renoir. The viewer can see the most distinctive features of 19th-century fashion, which included corsets and bustles for women and frock coats and cylinder hats for men. While exhibited garments demonstrate the richness and charm of 19th-century fashion, the paintings show how this fashion was integrated into the everyday life of people living in that period. Further, I will describe a selected item presented at this exhibition.
The selected work of art is a day dress from the French culture of 1865-1867. This female garment creates a dome-like silhouette due to the tight-fitting bodice, separated from a long full skirt by a waist seam. Women achieved this silhouette by wearing a tight corset that made their waist look slim. Another element that helps to achieve such a silhouette is a bustle, which is a padded underpinning that was worn under the skirt. The bustle makes the back part of the dress jot out, which was a fashionable silhouette in the 19th century. The garment has a full skirt, which means that there are many petticoats underneath it. The dress also has long sleeves that are decorated with frills. The color of the day dress is grey without any patterns. The material of which the dress is made is a grey silk faille. The garment uses a vinous patterned shawl as an accessory, and women of the 19th century sometimes wore this piece of clothing instead of a cloak or a coat. Additionally, there is a white scarf tied around the neck, which also serves as an accessory.
I think that a person wearing this garment feels not comfortable. The main reason for this is a tight corset underneath the dress. I assume that women wearing such dresses felt sexually attractive and were pleased to hear compliments from men about their graceful posture. However, women must have experienced physical discomfort while wearing such garments. Gwen Raverat, for example, wrote that the ladies never seemed at ease. For their dresses were always made too tight, and the bodices wrinkled laterally from the strain; and their stays showed in a sharp ledge across the middle of their backs (as cited in Victoria and Albert Museum, n.d.). Indeed, although corsets give a graceful shape to the female body, this shape does not feel natural. When I tried to wear the tightest piece of clothing from my wardrobe, I felt uncomfortable. me from taking a deep breath and made my skin bulge in places that were not tightened by the garment. I also think that silk faille, of which the dress is made, is unfit for hot weather because it does not let perspiration evaporate off the skin.
Victoria and Albert Museum. (n.d.). Corsets and bustles from 1880-90 The move from over-structured opulence to the healthy corset. Web.
The Selected Garment
The Selected Garment
Title: Day Dress.
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