Art / History / Museums / Netherlands

Notes from Mr Darcy meets Eline Vere at Gementee Museum, Den Haag

 

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Entrance to Romantische Mode (photo taken by author)

 

I was very happy to learn that the exhibition of 19th Century fashion, Mr Darcy meets Eline Vere, Romantische Mode has finally taken place. Apart from history books and films, you don’t get to see attires like these close and personal.

Entering the exhibition we were greeted by a video loop of history of fashion in the 19th Century and several attire displayed on mannequins before we enter halls filled with delightful costumes.

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There is one thing we immediately realised as we walked through the exhibit. That is  the smaller size of people two Centuries ago, even compared to my Asian figure. I suspect these attires would fit youth of 13-14 years old today. That goes to say our physical form of the 21st Centurian may very well have better nutritions that builds our larger figure.

Below is two photos that immediately caught my attention. As someone who is learning horse riding, I can’t help but notice the seating position of the lady on the horse, the attire itself and her hairstyle!. They all look ladylike and great attire. Not to mention the waist chincer (or known as the Waspie) they wear underneath the attire. These are strong women bearing so much physical strain back then for the sake of being accepted as lady in the society.

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The materials of these attires were made before we made polyester (polyester was developed in the 20th Century), so in the exhibition you will see pure silk, cotton, wool weaving which to my eyes, they are truly a delight to see and even examine closely.

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My favourite piece displayed in the exhibition is this cream and blue embroidery attire. It looks light, airy and has an ancient Greek impression it.

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I was a little disappointed to see Downton Abbey costumes that were displayed in the exhibition. The reason is because, while they look very good on television, the real attire seemed made up rashly compared to the real worn attires (and these attires have lasted more than 100 years now!)

Display wise, I wasn’t very happy. I think, it is such a shame that they place the mannequins on a relatively tall pedestal. The pedestal gave too much of a distance with the audience to really feel what it was like for these people wearing these clothes back then. I really like part of the exhibition where they place these attires in a social setting, like dinner and a ball.  But not so much when the attires was lined up straight against a backdrop.

But alas, I am overall quite happy about this exhibition. I shall leave you with this image of a poster that surely will put a smile on your face.

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