Victorian Miniatures Lecture at the New Haven Museum
Nemia-Rose, Pahl, and I in front of the rotunda at the New Haven Museum
(Nemia-Rose and I are wearing sweet style)
One of my favorite things to do to dress up to match the theme of events offered at various museums. The New Haven Museum is a museum dedicated to the history of the city of New Haven, CT from its colony founding as puritan village, through it's growth into a major industrial center, and now a thriving metropolitan area. The museum was founded in 1862 as the New Haven Colony Historical Society, whose goals have always been to collect, preserve, and make available research materials which document the history of the greater New Haven area. The current building on Whitney Avenue was built by J. Frederick Kelly, a notable colonial revival architect, in 1929. It's absolutely gorgeous inside the building, even on a rainy dreary overcast day!
The lecture that we attended in the Auditorium/Ballroom was called "Delight in the Diminutive: A History of the Victorian Doll House", by guest lecturer Eliza de Sola Mendes who is an independent decorative arts scholar from New York City. This particular lecture included a special tour of the New Haven Museum's own Victorian Doll House (located on the first floor), and a tea reception after the lecture as part of their "Free First Sunday" events. The lecture covered the history of antique doll houses and miniatures from the early Victorian period to the beginning of the Edwardian era. Eliza de Sola Mendes led us through various parts of a doll's house and how the miniatures reflected exactly what people living in the Victorian era would have put in their own real homes, just in the miniature. Early doll house furniture and furnishings did not spare any expense. The crystal is real. The silk is real. I had no idea the level of detail and attention to miniatures, nor realizing that the perfect image of Victorian life was to be found in depictions of doll houses---not photographs of the era!!!
Now I only subconsciously knew that my dress was the perfect choice for this lecture. I learned that many dollhouses included portraits just like the ones in the dress design. See, I've been doing a little research about elegant lolita fashion, and yes it IS influenced by the Rococo, Victorian, and Edwardian eras, but an elegant combination of its own making. The Victorian aspect is closely akin to what maybe Victorian children wore, which can also be seen in dolls and dollhouses of that time!
Myself and Eleanor modeling the same dress in different colorways
Now you shall know the story of how I ended up with this dress. Basically last time I saw Eleanor, she wore this dress to the tea party in July. My boyfriend thought I would look especially smashing in it, and wanted to know where Eleanor got it. It's called Portrait of A Little Lady from the Chinese Indie Brand Infanta. Eleanor assured us that they already sold out of the colorway she had, so we just picked a different one. Mine is more of a blue-gray with rose gold accents, while Eleanor's is more of a green-gray with burnished gold accents.
Now what's great is you can see how to style this dress in December vs July, which are two very different climates in Connecticut. For December (which is cold, rainy, overcast, and might be snowing), I paired mine with an apricot colored long sleeve stand collar blouse from Metamorphose, printed bow tights in pink grey from Red Maria, gold mary janes, and the head bow that matches the dress design. For July (which is humid, hot, sunny, maybe a little sticky), Eleanor paired it with a cotton short sleeve blouse with a peter pan collar. She is wearing over the knee socks in a crossing ribbon pattern (often seen on Victorian dolls), classic brown shoes, and a clever head piece that was literally a cup of tea with flowers and some ribbons. The hand fan was absolutely essential as well. Not just a prop.
Overall I had a wonderful time making all the connections between historical Victorian and modern Japanese street wear fashion. I also got tea twice in one day! I drank hot tea after the lecture, and bubble tea at The Whale Tea, which is a very good bubble tea shop also located on Whitney Ave (just on the other side and up the road a bit from the New Haven Museum).
I love EGL and alternative fashion and modeling. I am taking two of my favorite hobbies and making them into a story for you to read about.