Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Grand Plan

Jens Juel, Augusta Louise zu Stolberg, 1780.
Since I'm just getting started on this blog, I thought I should spend some time detailing what it is, exactly, that I'm hoping to accomplish with this project.

There's the simple answer: Finish my master's! ;)

And then there's the more nuanced answer: I'd like to eventually publish my research and study of the Manchester gown, along with a scale pattern and construction notes, a'la Janet Arnold's seminal Patterns of Fashion books. Ok, maybe not on that scale, per se, but along those lines.

Why, do you ask? Well, it hasn't been done yet!  There's a lot of academic research floating around in the ether that deals with aspects of this particular garment, but much of the research is based entirely on twentieth century sources that are pulling from Victorian filtering of eighteenth century history.  As I get further into detailing my research here, you should come to understand the monumental undertaking this has become.  What started out as a whim on my part, to understand how these so-called scandalous gowns were constructed, and what made them so dang scandalous in the first place, has turned into a twisting, weaving, convoluted and highly fascinating journey through gender politics, race politics, political politics, and the economics of late eighteenth century France.  And hardly anyone has really stopped to tie all of these disparate concepts together to make sense of one particular garment... A garment that, as we shall come to see, changed so much about what was considered appropriate for women to wear, and created a legacy which still influences fashion today.


  1. Excellent. About time someone tackled this. Looking forward to hearing more!

    Very best,


  2. This is going to be so interesting!