Djcnor’s Weblog

People of the Future Will Think We Lived in an Age of Poverty

Posted on: March 12, 2009

This is not a political post. It’s more one about what’s happening in my life. The inspiration of today’s entry began with an e-mail notifying me that a book I’d had out of the library for some time was overdue and had to be returned.

I hated to return that book. It was Couture Sewing Techniques,

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1561584975/interactiveda3492-21

and I was savoring it slowly, imagining what it would be like to work as a fine hand sewer on clothing for which no expense is spared. (I also fantacize about working for the embroidery house LeSage

http://www.jeanfrancoislesage.com/english/history.htm 

and costuming for Cirque Du Soliel.) I love the heirloom-style hand sewing, the hand

http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/

embellishment.

Anyhow, the book had to be returned, so I figured as long as I was going to the library, I’d look in the section it came from for a substitute  book to inspire new dreams. And oh did I find one.

It’s Patterns of Fashion 4: The cut and construction of linen shirts, smocks, neckwear, headwear and accessories for men and women c. 1540-1660

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Patterns-Fashion-construction-neckwear-accessories/dp/0333570820

I know that such a book would not fascinate many people. But have you ever looked at a portrait of someone from that time period, or pretty much every time period up to around the 1930’s? Have you looked at the details of what they are wearing? The handmade lace, the variety of types of seams and pleats and gathers and such, the embroidery, the fabrics?

Even the most elaborately embellished modern couture gowns have nothing to compare to some of the chemises (basically, the undershirts!) of the time period this book covers.

Whenever I look at anything remaining from past times, I compare it with the contemporary version. I imagine someone standing in a hall of portraits covering other time periods and ours.

Will they possibly find what we wore exotic? Will there be anyone interested enough in our time period to want to dress up like us and pretend to live, if just for a weekend, as we did? Why would a person choose our time period over any of the ones that came before it?

Or will they look at our time period and wonder why we allowed our lives to be full of mass-produced plain goods? Will they think we lived in an age of poverty?

 

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