Category Archives: Reemergence of Styles

Exploring Construction of the Elusive Bicorne.

Analysis of Inner Structure of a Chapeau de Bras Bicorne - worn by ZiZi Bleu.

Analysis of Inner Structure of a Chapeau de Bras Bicorne – worn by ZiZi Bleu.

With gilded lips, golden soulful eyes, and her cheeks rouged blue – Zizi Bleu models a miniature toile for the inner structure of The Elusive Bicorne – or, in this case – The Elusive Chapeau de Bras.

A kind Blue Bonnet and her son, schooled in the construction of chapeaus de bras, helpfully directed my attention to the Robert J. Moore, Jr. and Michael Haynes book – Lewis and Clark:  Tailor Made, Trail Worn – Army Life, Clothing, and Weapons of the Corps of Discovery.  I saw therein a chapeau de bras, unfolded and freed to reveal the inner hat (which rests within its taco-shell-like facade).

Yet to be discovered – whether the inner cap should be cut separately, or if it is possible to cut the hat as two large pieces:  front and half-cap, back and half-cap.  According to Tailor Made, Trail Worn – the actual parts are:  crown (cap or fez), cock (front), and fan (back)… with the back “fan” crescent cut slightly taller than the front crescent.

Chapeau de Bras Interesting Fact – examining Chapeau Bras (generally from militia officers) within museum collections, average dimensions are these:  15.5-inches to 23-inches wide – lower tip to tip – and 7.5-inches to 13.5-inches from hatband to fan-peak.  (pp.168,169)

See more Zizi Bleu moments in posts at the blogs Toile La La and Art Fashion Creation.  See here a recent Art Fashion Creation post – and hat – inspired by Diana Vreeland’s eye for something-never-seen-before.

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Dresses and Hats – more.

desktop note:

“When not in…

I am to be found at

Art Fashion Creation or

Toile La La or

Worn Written Drawn.”

but, in retrospect, here are Five dresses, hats, or dresses and hats posts:

The Mia Dress.

The Edwardian Dress.

A Klimt, Bakst, Delaunay Moment.

Headlong into Hats:  Millinery Adventures.

Head Full of Art and Hats.

Your comments, I always look forward to receiving – your suggestions, your tips… Speak Your Mind , my loves.

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The Eighteenth Century Calash Bonnet.

The November 2012 Vogue issue includes an interesting Bidding Farewell essay by Hamish Bowles, giving account of his love for artful objects and the process of downsizing / refining his collection via a Bonhams auction.

Bowles says: “I feel that I can confidently say that I may well have been the only nine-year-old in the country who knew what a calash was – let alone possessed one.”  We can probably agree with him.

For some time though, the calash has fascinated me with its similarity to the folding canopy of wagons of that time – and also for its similarity to hoop or crinoline skirts.  Ribbed, the calash – or caleche (“carriage” in French) – bonnet was collapsible and worn to protect elaborate, towering and / or large hairstyles of the eighteenth century.

It is interesting to note that within the same magazine is a very pretty Chanel advertisement, with a bonnet looking quite like a calash:


Chanel advertisement with bonnet quite like a calash or caleche. November 2012 Vogue.

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Tracing the Origin of Fashion Trends.

Analyzing fashion trends, one must wear many hats – so to speak.  Pinpointing the birth of fashion trend phenomena requires the keen observation skills of the anthropologist, the historian, and the detective –  the keen eye of an artist – a finely-honed memory – and an aptitude for research. 

Tracing  fashion trend footprints back to their origin often leads to not just one, but many sources.

Today’s world, with its media archives, museums, vast libraries, and digital sources – presents infinite design inspiration.   Compare this to fashion design of the distant past – which referenced and mimicked dress of the nobility, for instance, or new developments in textiles, or architectural silhouettes.  

Now, we frequently see the reemergence of fashion trends and of style silhouettes – sometimes with no divergence from the original – if it is at all possible to pinpoint “the” original. 

One might be justified in saying the trends resulting from certain social climates and cultural conditions will likely reoccur when similar social climates and cultural condition exist.  However, even keen observation of these conditions may overlook “trend pockets” or fashion subcultures (goth, steampunk, or cosplay enthusiasts for example).

Whether it is possible to accurately forecast fashion trends years ahead of time – is a question that arises.   It is possible to assess social conditions, popular culture, market analyses, textile, technological, and production innovations… (to name a few determinant factors), and then make an informed prediction.  

Ultimately, without literally seeing into the future – without knowing the events, iconic personalities, or innovations of the future – we cannot give a definitive forecast.

However, here are three ways we can view the evolution of fashion trends:

  1. We can view the development of fashion trends of the recent past.
  2. We can see the development of fashion trends in the near future.
  3. We can observe the often prescient view of the future through the eyes of film visionaries, and we can expect to see at least a few trends occur as a direct result of these films.

How Fashion Reflects The TimesThe Origin of Trends – an Art Fashion Creation link to a scholarly paper analyzing  the development of fashion trends in the recent past.  Written in the ’90s –  viewing the development of trends to that point and predicting trends for the year 2000.

Predicting Future Fashion TrendsCostume Design in Futuristic Films, an August 27 2012 article by Katarina Gligorijevic – published at Toronto Film Scene.

Predicting Future Fashion, Doe Deere Blogazine December 15 interview with fashion trend forecaster Glendy Del Cid.

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Clever Vintage Blouse Construction…and a Grand Bell Hat: VPLL.

If fashions of the past make your heart thump a little faster, don’t miss out on Vintage Pattern Lending Library’s great design collections. Earlier in the year I’d learned of VPLL’s Titanic project, which involves recreating 1912 fashions from La Mode Illustree – a major turn-of-the-century sartorial arbiter. As a project volunteer, I test-sewed a hat, two women’s blouses, and a child’s apron.

Test-sewing the hat was an unusual experience for me – as I’d never created a hat with a wire armature. However, the Ladies’ Spring Hat depicted a frame… so I produced a small-scale practice model. As life goes, other responsibilities began to demand my time – but I still like to check VPLL’s Titanic progress… and was ecstatic to discover a new hat pattern there tonight!

Check this link to see the beautiful hat project – this time it’s a Bell Hat (much like the ones Marc Jacobs presented in his Fall 2012 Louis Vuitton collection!) You’ll see this hat is also based on a wire armature – but, using a stiffer fabric, one might avoid the necessity for the framework structure.

Louis Vuitton Fall 2012 by Marc Jacobs. Runway collections image at

Now, the other thing that may excite you (especially if you sew) – is this 1912 La Mode Illustree blouse design, which is fabulously engineered so that the side-body and sleeve are in one piece. You just have to see it to understand, so don’t miss the link directly above.

Small-scale toile created to test La Mode Illustree 1912 Blouse 0219. Toile La La toile and photo.

VPLL has recently announced they have a sufficiency of volunteers, but don’t fret… you can still investigate the website to see the great work of VPLL’s testers, view vintage fashion illustrations, and look for great sewing patterns!

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