Tuesday, October 29, 2013

History's Runway: A Velvet Court Suit, 1899

Curiously, though fashions had changed considerably for daily attire by the late Nineteenth Century, "court suits" still resembled the type of clothes a late Eighteenth-Century gentleman might have worn. As the curators of the V&A describe court clothes, "They were cut in the style of fashionable 1790s men's dress, with waistcoat, tailcoat, knee-breeches worn with silk stockings, buckled shoes, a sword with a cut-steel hilt and a bicorne hat."

Thankfully for the men of the era, these uncomfortable suits were not worn very often. Court suits were worn for important cermonial occasions and at the Monarch's court.

This suit belonged to one Sydney Vacher who wore this court suit for the laying of the foundation stone of the Victoria and Albert Museum on May 17, 1899. Vacher presented the suit to the museum in 1918. He wrote, "It has just struck me would the Museum accept my Civic costume I wore at the laying of the foundation stone of the Museum. It is the ordinary civilian's black velvet with steel buttons ... I don't see that I shall have any further use for it. The material is English Silk Velvet and I had it made up for me."

This court suit is actually an example of the "new style" which had introduced in 1869. Though still very much Eighteenth-Century in look, the new style included a black velvet tailcoat which was worn open as opposed to the "old style" which consisted of a velvet frock coat with fronts sloping back from the waist, stand collar and black silk wig-bag.

No comments: