I believe I can find inspiration anywhere . . . but, vintage textiles and garments are one of my favorite sources of inspiration. Perhaps it’s my love of Jane Austen novels, which conjure up fantasies of Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightley . . . or even my current fascination with Downton Abbey. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to spend time at museums in their archives or behind the scenes at their exhibits taking a close look at some truly amazing garments.
There’s nothing quite like seeing the garments and textiles in person, especially when I can look underneath and see how the garment was assembled. Unfortunately, museums are not something one can get to on a day-to-day basis. That’s why I thought sharing a few of my favorite websites for vintage textiles might be of interest to others. There are quite a few . . . but, what I love about these three are the images available for many of the garments that show the outfit from different angles . . . and even details of the craftsmanship in the construction and embellishments. I can easily indulge myself by wandering through the pages dreaming of what it must have been like to waltz in a Victorian ballroom while wearing a Worth ballgown . . . until I come to my senses and realize how grateful I am for not having to don a corset and wear layer upon layer of under garments.
I hope you enjoy some of the tidbits below as examples of what you can find at each of the three websites. If you know of others, please let me know . . . I’m always interested in inspiration wherever I can find it!
Vintage Textile – http://vintagetextile.com/
This is probably my all-time favorite website for vintage textiles. It’s frequently updated and the garments are organized into different categories. I usually go directly to the Victorian and Edwardian categories. I can easily peruse the garments and their descriptions . . . but, by clicking on the image, I am treated to a multitude of images of the garment showing me different angles and marvelous close-up images . . . and a write-up of it’s history. Some garments even have a lengthy provenance outlining the garment’s history . . . and even historical significance in some cases. Below are a few garments you can find there now.
The Frock – http://thefrock.com/
In addition to gorgeous vintage garments, The Frock also has some garments from celebrity wardrobes such as Mae West, Sophia Loren, Lucille Ball, and more.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Collection – http://www.metmuseum.org/collections/search-the-collections?ft=costume&noqs=true
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a costume collection with over 45,000 pieces available for review from the comfort of your computer. The above link is for the place on their website where you can enter your search criteria. I entered a few terms and here’s what I got:
- House of Balenciaga – 9,431 results
- House of Chanel – 9,359 results
- Charles Fredrick Worth -13,953 results
- Hand woven – 19, 440 results