Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Victorian Aesthetic

Last week I attended The Cult of Beauty: The Victorian Avant-Garde 1860–1900 exhibit at the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.  

The event closes on June 17th, and if you are in the area, I would highly recommend stopping by – it will absolutely be worth your time.  I know that the Gaultier event over at the de Young has been getting all of the attention, but this exhibit is truly spectacular.

As I have mentioned before, I was completely obsessed with the Pre-Raphaelites in high school.  But I did not realize the full extent of the Aesthetic Movement.  It is not all loose flowing robes, Titian hair, and knights in shining armor.  

Whistler, Tissot, Morris – they are all a part of the Victorian Avant Garde, and a part of this exhibit.

I had plans to sew up a long, romantic looking dress for the occasion, but I got lazy and the cut fabric is folded and sitting in a pile in the sewing room (bad, bad girl).  This dress would certainly have fit the mood of the exhibition, but for some reason, I decided against it. 

Instead, this turquoise suit (you guessed it, a Vintage Vogue Reproduction, originally printed in 1949) came out to play for a day at the museum.

The main portion of the exhibit is downstairs, but upstairs are some exquisite antique gowns and costumes along with an ode to Oscar Wilde.  In a glass case is the most exquisite tea gown I have ever had the privilege to look at.  Hmm . . . I wonder if I could get away with a Victorian gown complete with train at the office?  

I absolutely adored my day at a museum.

One afternoon was not nearly enough to fully appreciate this collection, but it is a start . . .

Suit:  Made by me, Vogue 2476
Hat:  Made by me, Vogue 8052
Shoes:  Franco Sarto
Necklace:  Banana Republic
Brooch:  Gift
Earrings:  Kohls
Fishnets:  Simply Vera


  1. That sounds like its the same exhibition we had at the V&A a while back. It was lovely and interesting ( as is your blue suit!)

    1. Yes! That's the one! Someday I will get to the V&A . . .

  2. Such a sublimely sophisticated look. Long skirted vintage suits are a definite favourite of mine, and I adore it when they're done in unexpected hues like this endlessly cheerful, gorgeous blue.

    ♥ Jessica

  3. That is one super nice suit! It looks so well made too. I especially love the shape of the jacket. And the lapels. The colour is also gorgeous, too. It's such a very well put together ensemble, I love it!

  4. Nice lines on that jacket, and the fabric you used is a wonderful color and texture. Perfect for a spring afternoon of viewing fashion exhibits.

  5. When I was in San Fran I really wanted to see this show! As well as visit the Legion of Honor since it was one of the locations in Vertigo. But I simply didn't have the time. LOVE your suit too. That fabric and color is too beautiful!

    1. Oh Janey, I wish you had seen it. There just aren't enough hours in the day, are there!

      Next time you are in town, you will have to stop by, even if the museum is closed - the area is just too lovely for words. And the Sea Cliff homes are to die for!

  6. Wow! What a lovely suit!!!! Love the shape of the jacket and the color is perfect. I really hope to be able to do this kind of thing myself one day, perhaps...

  7. Back in the 1950's when I was a girl, this would have been called a 'costume'. In fact, it would have been called a beautiful costume.

  8. Thanks for your advice to me in helping me complete this suit a few months ago, it's because of yours I made mine in the first place. Yeah go ahead, wear a Victorian dress to work what's the worst that can happen?

  9. The suit is fabulous. Love the fabric. Your craftsmanship is always inspiring!

  10. Terrific suit! Would kill for your necklace. :P