Title: Loops, Buttons and Trim
Collection: The Regency Wardrobe
Garment: Woman’s pelisse
Materials: FSC accredited paper tablecloth, Japanese rice paper Mizuhiki chord
This piece is inspired by a pelisse held in the Museum of London, made for a trousseau in 1823. A pelisse was originally a short fur lined or fur trimmed military jacket. In the early 19th century the name was also applied to a fashionable style of coat worn by women. The pelisse or pelisse-coat could be made of any type of fabric from silk to fur. It was worn over a gown but sometimes looked like a gown itself.
Inspired by traditional rouleaux trim which is created using thin tubes of fabric, the rouleaux on this piece is formed from rolled paper; which has been hand sewn into the shapes of pendulous foliage down the length of the front and on the back.
By the 1820s the high 'Empire' waistline was starting to drop towards a natural waist again. ‘Vandyke’ or ‘saw tooth points’ were popular around the edges of garments. The three pointed, semi-leaf like, shapes that are layered on the mancherons and collar of this piece however nod toward the two pronged shapes that similarly decorate a spencer jacket from 1815, which is held at Chertsey Museum. A mancheron was a very short over-sleeve, worn with a day dress or long-sleeved outer garment, it was called an epaulette from the 1860s.
There is a single navy thread partly stitched into this piece in honour of Kathleen Sullivan (1936-2016). Kathleen was a seamstress in the East End of London in a time before mass imports, when clothes bought in the UK were mostly made by women doing piece work in the area of London known as Spitalfields. For over 250 years this area was home to an array of clothing manufacturing businesses (‘The Rag Trade’) many of which were started by the Huguenots, religious refugees from Eighteenth century France. Kathleen’s sewing machine was used to make this piece.
*Please note: Part of the concept of The Regency Wardrobe is that the colour of many of the pieces may change over time. This is to reflect:
- research done by The House of Embroidered Paper into Regency era garments and the observation that the colures of their surfaces have faded overtime (as evidenced by looking under seams and inside material crevices)
- how historical events and people fade in the collective memory
- how the power and prestige of civilizations and empires fades overtime
- how the surfaces of most items we find left to us from history have faded.
The white of this piece risks changing or becoming marked by age over-time, just as we all do.