As some of you know, I love lolita fashion! Lolita is a Japanese street fashion loosely inspired by Victorian and rococo themes. It sprung up in the early 90's and has persisted through today! Large communities of men and women get dressed for meetups (as well as daily wear), and there are even bigger communities online!
Since moving to upstate New York, I have had the pleasure of joining an ever growing community of wonderful men and women who are passionate about the fashion and, honestly, just really great. So when they mentioned doing a meetup at the Art and History museum to see the Victorian gowns on display (another great love of mine!), I just HAD to attend!
I kept my coord rather casual, with a JSK from the indie brand Magic Potion, a simple Bodyline blouse, some indie accessories, and a large hat to balance out the volume in the skirt.
The gowns were absolutely lovely! This was the first time these particular gowns have been on display since entering their warehouse after being donated. Some of them were donated by families after people passed away, others by collectors. Our guide made a point to tell us that there were hundreds more still stored away, as well as a bunch of hats and accessories! When we asked why the hats weren't on display with their respective dresses, he said that the museum only wanted to display them together if they knew 100% for sure that they would have been worn together by the previous owner. And, since no photographs or written records existed for them to base their ideas and assumptions off of, they had no idea what went with what! I would have killed to see those gorgeous hats.
These dresses were all owned by this woman. Sadly I cant remember her name, but they were displayed in the first room when you walked into the exhibit. It was absolutely breathtaking! Seeing the designs and attention to detail in real life was astounding. The light blue dress with the points at the front of the bodice was definitely my favorite.
The next room was more focused on Christmas/holiday attire, featuring the only two children's outfits in the entire exhibit! Sadly it was hard to get photos of this set up, as we were all crammed into a rather small area.
From there we moved into a hall filled with wedding dresses! Something I did not know was that white wedding dresses weren't in fashion until the Victorian era. I had always assumed that the idea of a "pure" bride being clothed in white dated much farther back. How neat!
After viewing the wedding gowns, a lot of the group began to wander and roam as we pleased. I was especially drawn to this dark grey walking ensemble, which really inspired me to try whipping something up for a steampunk/victorian event coming up (not to mention the Victorian walks held in Saratoga and Troy every year!). While I enjoy extravagance and over-the-top detailing, I find myself always being drawn back to simpler designs. Probably because simpler designs take less effort to make but, ya know.
The last image in that gallery is actually a framed floral arrangement made entirely from HUMAN HAIR. How cool?! It was hung next to a beautiful half-mourning gown (the purple and black striped beauty). Sadly I forgot to take photos of the dress in its entirety, but I hope you can get a feel for it based on the back of the bodice.
Once we were satisfied with seeing these gorgeous dresses, we all made our way to Cheesecake factory and had ourselves some pretty okay American food while surrounded by weird faux-Grecian decor. Very... interesting design choices in Cheesecake Factory.
All in all, it was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon!