Saturday, January 12, 2013

History's Runway: The Exotic Bird Bodice, 1700-29

Bird Bodice
Eighteenth Century
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Women’s clothing of the Eighteenth Century was particularly complicated to put on and uncomfortable to wear for extended periods of time, yet, fashion and propriety dictated that, at formal events, a woman should be outfitted in a certain way.  Nevertheless, when at home, a woman could dress a little less uncomfortable and would often wear an informal bodice such as this one under a loose robe which was left open at the front. 

What we see here is only the front of a bodice.  The back has long since been lost to time.  

The yellow silk bodice is adorned with an embroidered pattern in colored silks of exotic birds, large blossoms and leaves rendered in a chinoiserie style. The background is cord quilted, a quilting technique wherein thin cords are inserted between parallel lines of stitching.

It was made between 1700-1729  by an unknown embroiderer.  

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