|Me in new Spring blouse. Just out of shot are gambling rats and crows. Ahh, Spring...|
|Not currently stocked at M&S, apparently. Damn.|
Going back to the beginning, around the middle of the nineteenth century, the position of artists in society changed. Successful artists enjoyed prosperity and social position, and seemingly more people from prosperity and social position wanted to become artists. The influence of the 'artistic' began to spread, particularly in terms of interior decor and dress. I have one word for you: Morris.
|Mariana D G Rossetti|
|Jane Morris (1865)|
If you weren't sitting on his chair, or hanging his wallpaper, you may well have been considering dressing like his wife. Jane made her own dresses and the album of photographs owned by Rossetti show her in a sumptuous frock that hangs in a mass of folds and pleats. In some of the paintings he did of her, Rossetti shows her dress belted, but the waist is a natural one, uncorsetted.
|Elizabeth Siddal D G Rossetti|
It's easy to become used to the look of Pre-Raphaelite women when you look at them every day. My image of 1860s tends to look like the pictures above, rather than what was actually fashionable dress of the time, which was more like this...
|Last time I saw a dress like that, the doll on my Granny's loo roll was wearing it...|
|Choosing G F Watts|
|Ellen Terry (1870s)|
|Untitled (c.1870) Julia Margaret Cameron|
|Detail of A Private View at the Royal Academy (1881) W P Frith|
|Mary Constance Wyndham, Lady Elcho (1886) E J Poynter|
Patience, where the gentlemen were dressed like Oscar Wilde and the ladies wore gowns of liberty prints.
|Oscar, lolling artistically.|
|The Agate (The artist and his wife) 1911 Joseph Southall|
So, I think my path is clear. As I find myself somewhat more Alexa Wilding than Alexa Chung I must take up my needle and thread and sew myself an artistic wardrobe full of silks and embroidery. Mind you, Darling Oscar once said 'After all what is fashion? From the artistic point of view, it is usually a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months...'
M&S might be stocking aesthetic gowns by the end of the summer. Fingers crossed...