As I promised, here you are with the story why I, who wouldn‘t even wear skirts to my wedding, chose to create a female persona wearing 18th century dresses.
At the fair we met with a wonderful long-time costuming friend and with a wonderful new one. Both are very nice ladies and when we started talking about taking costumed strolls at the palace garden, the ladies started to chitter about making picnics and needleworking in public. I chittered as well, being an avid needleworker and loving to explain my craft. Then it dawned on me.
No 18th century gentleman would permit himself to publicly be seen with a knotting shuttle, creating buttons or sewing on some lace confection unless he was a professional in that craft. But then he wouldn‘t be invited to the palace gardens.
It took me a day or so to think of the role of the maid to Madame la Marquise, portrayed by my wife. My next though was that I wouldn‘t be happy with that. Me, who had spent hours and hours to hand-embroider my man‘s suit, in simple, little embellished clothing? Not a happy pairing, definitely not. While out on the internet in search of new knowledge and inspiration, I came across Colonial Williamsburg and their millinery shop.
A milliner, une Marchande de modes, that role suited me like no other, it would allow me to use all the various needlework techniques I knew, it would even require I trimmed my clothes to show off my craft. And considering the close relationship Marie Antoinette had to her Marchande de Modes, Madame Rose Bertin, it was plausible to have such a close relationship to Madame la Marquise that I could join the ladies on a picnic in the gardens,.
It didn‘t take long from there to creating the persona of Madame Juliette, Marchande de Modes at the ducal court of Ludwigsburg around 1770. I‘m still fleshing out the role with some background, but I already designed a trade card for her, based on extant samples from the 1770ies.
Madame, of course, has to be suitably dressed. Her very first gown will be an ensemble of blue and cream wool. Details to follow with my next blog.
Disclaimer: The persona is completely made up based on what is plausible, the address is pure fiction although a place by that name exists in modern-day Ludwigsburg.
Hi Julia! Alex hier, mit der ihr gestern in Tübingen nachmittags so viel gequatscht habt. 😀 Do imagine my surprise upon finding out you do not actually own a milliners‘ shop in Ludwigsburg after googling myself stupid to finally stumble upon your new blog and having found your old one from 2013 first; this persona of Madame Juliette explains a lot. And a wonderful idea too! You and your wife and your younger friend were so kind to me yesterday, your joy and passion really shines through your work, I have a ton of respect for your skills and your knowledge and I really look forward to what you come up with next. Thank you for letting me glimpse into your craft!
If you haven’t stumbled upon it already long ago, go check out http://www.townsends.us for their books (primary sources and secondary literature among them), clothing and cooking tools from the American 18th century; they worked with Colonial Williamsburg on several occasions and their cooking + life on the frontier youtube channel is a veritable treasure trove for the colonial 18th century research for North America. All the best of luck to you!
Lots of love,
Hey Alex, trank you for your compliments ans thanks for recommending townsends to me. If you need any assistance in your costuming Venture, don‘t hesitate to contact us, we gladly help.