FOUNDATIONS REVEALED COMPETITION ENTRY
Outline the story …
Entry inspired by Hérodiade by Stéphane Mallarmé. The Yellow Book of the 1890s was a periodical that published poetry and stories that was lavishly illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley. The Aesthetic movement was captured both in the writing and design of the publication. In researching I found Aesthetes and Decadents of the 1890s it is an anthology of poetry including many from The Yellow Book. Hérodiade by Stéphane Mallarmé was my character inspiration. The fictionalized version of Herodias the wife of Herod the Great. She was characterized as the goddess of witchcraft in the Medieval era. The ancient and medieval influence on the Aesthetic movement inspired my design. I researched the smocked dresses produced by Liberty & Co. I also researched the reform dresses worn by the Pre-Raphaelites and members of the Arts and Crafts movement during the 1860s and 1870s. The original clothing was of a slightly different silhouette than what was eventually commercially sold. I wanted both of these styles to influence my finished look instead of making a Liberty & Co. replica. I free form drew organic embroidery designs to give that Aubrey Beardsley feel that is both modern and Medieval feeling. I wanted to capture the feeling of reading poetry and becoming the character. From Hérodiade “A voice from the distant past, an evocation, Is it not mine prepared for incantation? In the yellow folds of thought, still unexhumed, Lingering, and like an antique cloth perfumed”
Outline the construction…
The pattern is created using simple rectangles. I made a smocking sample to deduce how the fabric was needed. The fabric needed 4.25 times the finished smocked section to reduce correctly. I needed more length and ended up adding a hem band to compensate. This ended up with one of my favorite design details. To make the armscye and sleeve cap shape I used a raglan sleeve dress pattern I previously drafted. I traced these onto my pre cut linen rectangles. The dress is decorated with a heavy silk twist. The embroidery for the collar, cuffs, and hem was all done using a satin and stem stitch on a frame. I used the Pricilla Smocking guide from 1916 to teach myself how to smock. It took trial and error and sampling to get to the desired look. All the sections of the dress were pleated using a pleater machine before being stitched together. I kept all the pleating threads extra long so I could sew first. After the seams were completed the threads were pulled to create tight pleats. The smocking stitches were sewn strategically to control the fullness. Once all the smocking was done, I could finally remove the pleating threads. A waist tape keeps the smocking tight around the waist fitted over a corset. The back is finished with a placket that closes with snaps and decorative embroidered buttons. The embroidered elements were added last.