Depot visit – Gemeentemuseum Den Haag

The website ModeMuze brings together the fashion collections of several large Dutch museums. Aside from having an online collection of the items, they also write blog posts about items, and organize a lot of events! I went to one of them recently, where we got the chance to see some items in the Gemeentemuseum in the Hague up close, presented by the fashion curator Madelief Hohé.

In this post some pictures of the visit, as well as some of my own observations. This is a selection of the items, I’ll post these and some more on my Facebook page for who’s interested!

 

We saw a lot of 18th century things. Let’s start with this gorgeous blue silk Anglaise. Below is the museum’s picture, click to go to the collection page.

 

These are my pictures. This is a shot of the lining of the bodice. You can see the bodice was lined in linen, while the skirt is unlined. You can also see the stitching lines from the back, where the folded silk was stitched to the (unfolded) lining. You can also see the skirt is cartridge pleated onto the bodice, leaving quite a large allowance.

foto van Atelier Nostalgia.

A shot of the top of the bodice lining, also showing the robing (pleat over the shoulder). What I also liked was the little blue wool tapes attached to the shoulder corners for extra protection of the silk fabric. The little cord you see was in the neckline. Although the front closed with hooks & eyes, there was a little tunnel at the top for a cord to pull the dress close to the body.

foto van Atelier Nostalgia.

The dress closed center front, the center front flaps attached to the robings on either side. On top of the center front panels, these little horizontal strips ran, with the pleats on top, as you can see in the bottom left corner. They were lined as well, and closed with hooks & eyes. As you can see in the official museum image, the fichu would be worn on top of the dress, but underneath these flaps. I’ve seen this a lot on other Dutch jackets and gowns, so I believe this was most common in the Netherlands. The curator also mentioned that comparisons of collections show a relatively high amount of blue dresses in Dutch museums, which this is a gorgeous example of!

foto van Atelier Nostalgia.

The back of the dress! You can see the folded back pleats run into the skirt. They were very narrow. The back is heavily pleated with tiny pleats. If you look closely you can see that the threads running through the cartridge pleats actually extend a bit below the bodice to keep the pleats in place.

foto van Atelier Nostalgia.

An inside picture of the hem. The fabric was folded over for the hem, and on parts of the skirt this blue wool tape was attached to protect the fabric. I found it particularly interesting that it wasn’t actually attached all the way around on this particular dress!

foto van Atelier Nostalgia.

 

On to the next item, a stunning pair of stays in light blue. I couldn’t find an official, full image of these. The stays were continuously boned, but the stitching was covered both back and front. The tabs were covered separately, as you also often see in linings. The stays weren’t bound, as they were covered completely I think this wouldn’t have been needed.

foto van Atelier Nostalgia.

A view of the linen lining, stopping just before the eyelets. Again, the tabs are covered separately.

foto van Atelier Nostalgia.

The top, showing off the eyelets. I also love how tiny the tape is which covers the seams. It was super thin.

foto van Atelier Nostalgia.

 

More 18th century! This was a chintz jacket, below is the inventory picture, again, click the link for the official page.

My pictures. This one shows the back, and how the sleeves were actually cut on. I hadn’t seen this on 18th century garments before.

foto van Atelier Nostalgia.

The ‘skirt’ part of the jacket layed open (again, the jacket is on its back on the table). The whole jacket was lined in wool. I love how extremely wide it is. You can also see the deep pleat at the center back.

foto van Atelier Nostalgia.

The center front closed with hooks and eyes, but again also had a cord running through the neckline, you can see a tiny bit of gathering at the top. You can also see the stitches where the hooks & eyes are attached if you look carefully.

foto van Atelier Nostalgia.

The back pleat of the jacket, with a little stitching to protect the seam from ripping.

foto van Atelier Nostalgia.

 

Next up are two 18th century skirts, neither of which I could find a good full picture for.

First is a petticoat, made with matelasse, or ‘zaans stikwerk’. It’s quilted in a way, but through the little channels small cords would also be drawn to create the 3d effect.

foto van Atelier Nostalgia.

Showing the inside and hem. Again, a wool tape was attached on the inside. I found it interesting how the tape actually extends a couple of mm from the silk hem.

foto van Atelier Nostalgia.

The top of the petticoat wasn’t quilted, as this wouldn’t be seen anyway. Probably also to reduce some bulk. This is the front of the petticoat, which isn’t pleated.

foto van Atelier Nostalgia.

The back, however, is pleated to the waistband!

foto van Atelier Nostalgia.

 

Another skirt, this time in a glazed wool damask. Such a stunning fabric! The skirt is pleated to the waistband.

foto van Atelier Nostalgia.

A close-up of the fabric.

foto van Atelier Nostalgia.

The inside, showing the selvages are used for the main seams. No tape covering the hem this time, instead a narrow cord is stitched to the hem to protect it. You still see this method being used in some skirts of traditional Dutch costume!

foto van Atelier Nostalgia.

 

As a final step, we take a big leap from the 18th century to the 1840s. It’s the dress on the left of this image. Click the link for the official page.

This image shows that the center front point of the bodice isn’t actually attached to the skirt all the way. It’s definitely boned though! The point is finished with thin piping, and look how prettily the lines are matched!

foto van Atelier Nostalgia.

A slightly odd image, but it shows that the boning center front doesn’t actually extends all the way up, only to the fold in the fabric.

foto van Atelier Nostalgia.

This is the center back closure. The skirt is heavily pleated onto the bodice and actually consists of 2 layers! The top one is silk, and forms the top of the 2 flounces. The bottom layer is made of netting, but the bottom edge of the skirt is silk again to form the bottom flounce. Less need for the expensive silk! I also liked how there’s a small modesty placket beneath the eleyets, and how there’s a hook & eye closure at the bottom (& top, not in this image).

foto van Atelier Nostalgia.

The top of the back closure. Pretty lace at the top, and the neckline was finished in piping even tinier than around the bottom of the bodice. This was 1mm wide at the most! I also love how there is a small bit of flossing at the top of the bones in the back.

foto van Atelier Nostalgia.

Final image, showing the side back seam & sleeve insert, which is again piped. You can see how the seam isn’t a ‘normal’ seam. I was wondering how this was done, and the day after the visit saw a great blog post by the Fashionable past. She does it by cutting the fabric ‘bigger’ than necessary to the sides, folding the fabric over and stitching it down to create the effect of a seam. I suspect that on this dress though, the side back was actually cut separately instead. See how the lines match up perfectly? You can’t get that if you fold the fabric, it would shift slightly.

foto van Atelier Nostalgia.

Givenchy

The Gemeentemuseum in the Hague has a large fashion collection, which means they often have fashion exhibitions! I’m mostly interested in the ‘older’ collection, but as that’s also more vulnerable, they display their modern pieces more often. The past fashion topic was ‘From Audrey with Love’, an exhibition about Givenchy, and Audrey Hepburn. As that’s approaching the era I’m more interested in (’50s and older), I was curious to go.

I didn’t take loads of pictures, but I did photograph some of my favorites. It was interesting to see the changes through out the years, but I did notice (again) that I definitely favor the 50s and 60s pieces over the 70s, 80s and 90s. The skill and craftmanship remains clear, but I’m not a big fan of the bold colors and broad shoulders of the latter eras.

To start with: some back views! Some of the black evening gowns had the most gorgeous back details.

 

This was one of my favorites, this back was stunning.

IMG_9685_zps0tmqcz9l (400x600)

This one was also very nice, from Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

IMG_9686_zpsbsyw4xax (400x600)

 

This one is a little less my style, but I did like the nod to the 18th century Watteau pleats with the little cape.

IMG_9688_zpscewphht3 (400x600)

 

Generally, there was a lot of black, white and bold colors. This dress stood out a bit in it’s sweetness, but it was very pretty.

IMG_9687_zps9v7gkfhi (400x600)

 

The one below was one of my favorites. I’m not the biggest fan of the beading on the bodice, but the skirt is stunning.

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The final room was filled with wedding dresses. The one below was Audrey Hepburn’s first wedding dress. I had to get used to the size of the sleeves for a moment, but quite liked it after that.

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This one was a movie costume I believe, with stunning lace. The one in the background was Audrey’s second wedding dress, very different from the sweet innocence of the first!

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To end off, the top of a wedding dress with the most stunning flowers.

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Display matters

I love browsing through the internet looking for historical dresses. There’s such richness out there, so many gorgeous examples. I find that it’s also very important how a dress is presented though. I recently found some photos of dresses on the hanger, or laying flat, and it’s such a shame. Clothing is 3-dimensional, and not meant to lie flat. I often tend to skip over badly photographed items, which is actually a shame, because the dresses themselves can be quite gorgeous.

In this post, some images on how much presentation matters.

Dress, ca. 1810-1815

Dress, ca. 1810-1815

 

The same garment, one on the hanger, with bad lighting. The other on a proper mannequin, with studio light. Look at the difference this makes!

Some more regency examples:

 

Dress, ca. 1800-1810

Gown, ca. 1810

The same two gowns. The studio lighting does so much more for the fabrics!

 

Gown , ca. 1800-1810

Gown , ca. 1800-1810. The bow in the front adds so much!

 

While for these regency dresses the difference is big, it becomes even greater when considering other silhouettes. Regency dresses are supposed to fall straight, but when hoops and bustles and corsets come into play, the silhouette is very different.

Bodice, 1873/1874

So much prettier when it’s filled out!

 

1888/1888

The left dress is the same. Look at the difference a good bustle makes!

 

This post is mostly a note to myself: to not dismiss dresses just because they’re not photographed well. And let’s just hope that all museums will make good inventory images in the future!

 

 

Europeana Fashion

I think many people already heard about this initiative, but it’s so great I wanted to share it here.

Europeana Fashion is a new website which aims to bring together the fashion collections of different European partners. Basically, it’s a very large online museum collection database of 22 collections, all catered to fashion and fashion history. The great thing is that everything is in one place, and that many of the collections were not digitally accessible before! There’s info on every item, and often also a link to the original museum website.

The exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag about which I wrote a while back included many dresses which were not in the online collection. So I was pleasantly surprised when I found that they were participating in the project, and many of the dresses in the exhibition are now indexed and online! I was also surprised to see how many more dresses they actually had in the collection. The exhibition was quite large, but I don’t think they displayed even a third of what they have. It’s a shame there’s no permanent exhibition! Because of the difficult searching, I saved many dresses from the museum to a pinterest board. Only the ones which are photographed well are included though, many dresses only have bad photo’s, taken on a hanger. Dresses which should be worn over a hoop and corset don’t do so well on the hanger…

The only downside to the website is that you can’t search by year, and that many key-words are in their original language. This makes searching a bit difficult. It’s a great place to just browse and be inspired though.

In this post, some of my favorite dresses from the Gemeentemuseum, in pretty professional pictures. (I’ll probably do some follow-up posts with my detail shots from the exhibition included!)

Evening gown, with gorgeous embroidery on the hem

Silk striped dress, the top of the skirt is pieced together, and the ribbon here hides a horizontal strip of fabric for the ‘waistband’. Saving fabric!

I’m in love with this dress. So many gorgeous details of lace, pintucks and inserts.

Photo’s don’t do this justice. It’s black, velvet and lace, with bright orange detailing and loads of shiny beading.

1830’s wedding dress. I’m usually not a fan of this period, but I actually really love this dress. All those pleats in the sleeves!

Pink silk and lace. There’s something so elegant about this.

The details in the beading in this dress are gorgeous.

This was one of my favorite dresses in the exhibition, and it’s such a shame that it wasn’t displayed so well. It was near the end of a display, with dresses surrounding it, making it difficult to see details.

Mr. Darcy to Eline Vere -19th century fashion exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum

Back before the summer the Gemeentemuseum in the Hague announced a new exhibition on 19th century fashions. It’s named ‘Mr. Darcy to Eline Vere, Romantic fashion’ and has as subject the entire century of fashion. I was very exited, because although many Dutch museums have historical fashion, it’s rarely on display. The exhibit opened the beginning of October and I went to see it a couple of weeks later. There is also a lecture every Sunday on various topics, which is really nice. I took loads of pictures (it was allowed!), and I’d like to share some here. Some are a bit blurry, because photography conditions weren’t always great (too dark), but I hope the beauty of these pieces comes across. This museum does not have its full collection photographed and online, so there’s no option to see the dresses except for in the exhibition. I’ll probably go back at least once more while the dresses are still on display (it lasts till March, so plenty of chance). To everyone living close by enough I strongly recommend the exhibit. The pieces are beautiful, they are very prettily arranged and there’s lots of them! The dresses are mostly arranged by theme, which can be era, but also colour or purpose. For this reason, not all dresses are shown chronologically and I think that for people unfamiliar with the changes in silhouette that might be a bit confusing. For me the only downsides of the exhibit were that this chance in silhouette was not really shown off very well, and that some pieces could only be seen from the front. The set-ups were really well created though, with appropriate settings, beautiful back-drops and they even had a room of ball-gowns twirling around on moving pedestals. Especially great because you could see these dresses from all angles. There were also some movie costumes included, most noticeably costumes from the 1995 version of Pride & Prejudice.

In this post, I’ll start with the theme ‘white’. Some of the white and ivory dresses, along with my thoughts. I’ll probably do more posts in the future, but I’ll also try to upload all the images on my pinterest for anyone interested. By all means click through to see the full-scale images.

I’ll start with some Regency dresses. There were many beautiful examples, including some gorgeous white muslin dresses. I think this one was my favorite ‘little white dress’. The embroidery especially was lovely. The dress was made of very thin white cotton, the sheerness shows very well in the sleeves. The neckline seems to be gathered along a very thin cord tied in the front. The bodice is shaped with 3 small darts, and seems to have a waistband sown on the inside at the bottom. Maybe to strengthen the connection to the skirt? The darts also show in the waistband, so it doesn’t seem a separate strip of fabric. The sleeves are the classical puff with gathering on top of the shoulder, and they seem to again be gathered onto a cord at the arm-hole, though it’s difficult to see. The hem seems a couple of cm wide and is decorative, as the double fabric shows clearly due to its thinness. And of course, there’s more beautiful embroidery. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see the back of this dress to photograph it.

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Cotton dress 1805

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Cotton dress 1805 Bodice detail

 

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Cotton dress 1805 Bodice detail

 

 

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Cotton dress 1805 Hem detail

 

Next is another regency dress, but this time combined with an off-white spencer. The spencer is made out of a lovely textured fabric. I didn’t make a photo of the info tag, so I’m not sure of the fabric type. It closes in the front with hooks and eyes, and has a small collar. The spencer has at least two darts to give the shaping.The whole garment is decorated with corded strips, which run on the collar, on top of the closure, around the bottom, around the puff sleeves and around the lower sleeves. The sleeves have a faux-puff with a longer sleeve. The dress is again of thin white cotton with dotted embroidery all over, and an increase in dots around the hem. The skirt seems flat in front, but is gathered in the back and closes with strings in the back above a slit in the center-back of the dress.

 

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Empire dress & spencer

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Spencer detail

 

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Spencer, sleeve detail

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Spencer back

 

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Empire dress & spencer, back detail

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Empire dress hem detail

 

Aside from the muslin regency dresses, there was also a large collection of silk dresses in different colors. The next two are not pure-white, but so lovely I wanted to include them. These show the more luxury dresses, for grand balls and court occasions.

The first of these two was of a pale gold silk, an evening gown with train. The bodice has a square neckline gathered over a string with a ribon belt around the waistline. The sleeves are short puffs which are gathered and pleated along cords on three different points. I can’t work out the back closure exactly. The hem of the train is beautifully decorated with ribbon trim folded into triangles and pleated triangles.

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion. Evening dress (possible wedding-dress) ca. 1807-10  silk

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion. Evening dress (possible wedding-dress) ca. 1807-10  silk

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion. Evening dress (possible wedding-dress) ca. 1807-10  silk

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion. Evening dress (possible wedding-dress) ca. 1807-10  silk

 

Of this second dress I don’t have a good image of the front, but in a way that doens’t matter because this dress is all about the train. It’s a gorgeous silk ivory court dress, with a subtly patterned fabric. The godice laces in the back and is quite low. The sleeves are regular puffs, but with metalic trim and netting around the bottom. The skirt is gathered very narrowly at the back and flows out into a very long train. The train is embroidered around the hem with the most gorgeous metal (I think gold) trim. The embroidery is in a leaf pattern, and if done on netting which is again attached to the dress. This netting might be original, but I also saw that they restored some items before the exhibition and used netting to reinforce materials, so it might be a restoration effort. (I don’t know enough about period embroidery to decide this)

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion. Gala dress ca. 1810, silk & gilded silver applique

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion. Gala dress ca. 1810, silk & gilded silver applique

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion. Gala dress ca. 1810, silk & gilded silver applique

 

Although the majority of pale dresses were regency, there were some beautiful examples from other eras as well. From ivory regency, to Ivory mid-century.

This silk dress is 1850’s, with a three tiered skirt in a gauze fabric. At the bottom of each tier there is a swirly embroidery pattern. The sleeves are short, and a bit of a mystery to me. They seem to be made of several layers of swirly fabric. The bodice has a low v neckline and a deep v at the bottom front. In the center, there’s a pleated gauze pattern. I think it’s a lovely example of creating a visually narrow waist.

Gemeentemuseum the Hague, exhibition on 19th century fashion. 1850

Gemeentemuseum the Hague, exhibition on 19th century fashion. 1850

Gemeentemuseum the Hague, exhibition on 19th century fashion. 1850

 

Aside from Ivory, there was a slight blue/white theme in the mid-century dresses.

I believe this dress is late 1840’s early 1850’s, but I’m not entirely sure. It’s made of thin white cotton, and very interestingly seems to have a blue petticoat beneath the skirt. I don’t know if this is original, but it does make the skirt embroidery stand out in a lovely way. The front of the dress has an almost shawl-like effect, with the fabric being pleated over the chest and stitched down at the waist. The sleeves are 3/4 and unadorned. The skirt is two tiered and decorated with flower embroidery. I’m not sue of the closure as the back was hard to see, but it seems like there’s a little bow at the back on the waist.

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Victorian Dress

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Victorian Dress bodice detail

The second blue white dress is ca. 1855 and an evening dress. It has a two-tiered skirt with blue stripes and dots as decoration. The skirt is gathered in tiny pleats to the bodice. The sleeves are short and wide in 2 layers. The bodice comes to a point in the front and is piped along the edges. It seems to close with hooks and eyes. The bodice has two darts on each side, and what’s really interesting is that you can see the boning in the bodice through the sheer fabric. It seems to have boning along at least one of the darts, and in the center front.

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Victorian Dress ca 1855 cotton

 

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Victorian Dress ca. 1855 bodice detail

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Victorian Dress ca. 1855 back

 

To end this (long) post, I’ll jump to the end of the century, to one of my favorite dresses of this exhibition. It’s off-white, and has so many gorgeous details. The bodice center has a collar and flower applique onto sheer pleated fabric. Over this, a shawl-like construction is draped and pleated which ends in the waistband and has lace insets and borders. When looking from the side, the closure is just visible. The long sleeves have an upper and lower part, both with tiny pleats and more lace insets. The skirt has a solid base with lace insets and flower embroidery, and becomes more decorated towards the bottom. There’s curved lace insets, pleating, gathering, etc.  And yet despite everything going on, it’s still elegant.

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Edwardian Dress

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Edwardian Dress bodice detail

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Edwardian Dress bodice detail.

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Edwardian Dress sleeve detail

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Edwardian Dress skirt detail