Monday, March 26, 2007

Fashions of 1909

I had been meaning to post some images from Damske modni listy, but now that BibliOdyssey has put up Hungarian fashions of the 1870s, I think I should cease procrastinating. Not that my hover-over-the-desk photography of these exactly rivals the Hungarians' high-quality reproductions and that special BibliOdyssey knack for removing stains and gunk, but all the same the two posts do sort of go together.
My excuse for examining Damske modni listy in the first place was that I had a reference to it in one of my sources. After all, the obsessive dissertation writer does not wish to clutter the final product with too many "quoted in" and "cited in" footnotes.
To my surprise and dismay, the bound volume was missing precisely the issue I wanted, but I think we might say that it more than compensated with its wealth of representations of French fashion available to the interested Czech female.

The more I looked, the more it hit me that this was good research, not just eye-candy (although it is unquestionably that).

The surrealists (both French and Czech) often used imagery from their childhoods in collages and related works. While Max Ernst was perhaps the pioneer in this arena, Toyen also made use of imagery taken from and reflecting this time period. She was seven years old when these came out.

Aren't these skirts-without-bodies a bit surreal? They certainly seem more so than the photos of skirts-without-bodies I recall from the Sears and Montgomery Wards catalogs I used to cut up when I was seven.

The hats are quite remarkable in their own way, but what about those bodices?

After a certain amount of exposure to the girls in this publication, it becomes clear why Toyen put girls with jumpropes into her work. Girls with hoops show up equally often in the magazine, but I think Toyen must not have been much inclined to play with hoops. Not surprising. The jumprope has endured, the hoop rapidly became something of a curiosity.

I confess I do find it difficult to imagine Toyen wearing one of these hats even at the age of seven.

Unrelated to surrealist imagery, these last few are costumes, in case it is not obvious.

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Anonymous Swobodin said...

Fashion of the middle age (Panská móda)

March 27, 2007 1:46 AM  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

these costumes at the end are amusing, but i think i like the hats and bodices best--thanks for posting this!

March 27, 2007 8:13 PM  
Blogger P'tit-Loup said...

I remember cutting up catalogs too to make my own paper dolls! Something my mom encouraged as it kept me out of trouble for several hours.

My brother who designs costume for theater and films has a collection of reproductions of antique catalogs that we used to love to look at together and laugh at some of the claims and drawings.

March 27, 2007 8:17 PM  
Blogger Karla said...

While I should post some medieval costume at some point, I am sure it is unlikely to come with the phrase "panská moda" so conveniently placed.

Catalogs made great paper dolls. I had a whole floor full of them for awhile. I'm not sure whether children now get quite the same thrill out of cutting up Land's End catalogs or whatever it is people get these days.

I should indeed post more costume stuff if I can get myself to go through some of what I've photographed...

March 27, 2007 11:28 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Oh yeah--love those disembodied skirts!

March 28, 2007 12:26 AM  
Anonymous Swobodin said...

My comment was not serious, just click on the link to see the picture I took in Olomouc :-)

March 28, 2007 5:10 AM  
Blogger pk said...

They're quite lovely thanks Karla.

I think the disembodied skirts belong to a woman named Morticia Addams.

And your photography is fine - you flattered me about the wrong post for I didn't do any restorative work to the Hungarian images -- I started to have a go but would still be cleaning even now to make it look unobtrusive. I leave artifact tweaking to those times when a small amount of effort gives a decent aesthetic result. (I usually indicate when I've modified them at all)

March 28, 2007 2:09 PM  
Blogger Karla said...

Oh, but the photograph from Olomouc was very amusing.

I wonder whether Morticia Addams was able to separate the skirt-wearing portion of herself from the bodice-wearing portion? Sort of like Cousin Ophelia's ability to sing in harmony with herself... I saw (was it over Christmas?) that the actress who played the rival Mrs. Munster has died, but while the Munsters were not bad, they certainly could not be compared to the splendid family of Gomez and Morticia Addams.

As for the retouching, as is so often the case I unintentionally made two things sound related. The part about retouching referred to general success in that area, not about the Hungarian fashions, but of course I did not state that clearly.

And discontent with my own photos of library materials relates mainly to my being apparently unable to get anything really square. It's partly having to use the wide-angle a lot and getting distortion, and partly because pages tend not to lie flat. That's not getting into issues of shiny paper and such, which were not a problem with the 1909 Czech fashions (sometimes I get glare problems with paper that is fairly matte, but not here).

March 28, 2007 9:27 PM  

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