Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015...5:42 pm

Fashion in Vienna

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Want the latest fashions for the 1820s? Just head to Vienna. I’ve seen fashion plates (and in the Ward Collection, costume plates of course) from Paris, but how did Ward manage to find fashion plates for the enlightened Viennese theater-goer?

TS 239.318.1.5

TS 239.318.1.5



Sure enough, newspapers like the Wiener Zeitschrift für Kunst, Literatur, Theater und Mode, and the Wiener Theater-Zeitung, included hand-colored engraved plates of the latest fashions, from the 1820s through the 1850s.

TS 239.318.1.21

TS 239.318.1.21

Just look at these fabulous gents about town! And who would not want to be seen lounging attractively in an outfit like this?

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TS 239.318.1.6

The plates show a marvelous variety of fashions through the decades, but I particularly enjoy the different props and activities shown: I’m reminded of the “glimpse of the future” segment in the 1939 movie, The Women, depicting a fashion show posing women in “rhythmic movement of everyday life.” (You’d have to watch the segment to understand my quotes there.)

TS 239.318.1.2

TS 239.318.1.2

Notice how easily and comfortably she is able to drink tea, and her friend looks so lovely practicing her singing (coincidentally showing the rear view of the same outfit). And these studly fellows below, taking the air in a park, using a spyglass to examine the local flora, or is it fauna? Who knew?

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TS 239.318.1.19

From riding …

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TS 239.318.1.3

To hunting …

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TS 239.318.1.7

To I’m not quite sure …

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TS 239.318.1.9

These plates show a wide variety of the activities of genteel theater-goers. There is even a rather ironic pair showing a new bride, and a woman in mourning, on the same plate.

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TS 239.318.1.11

But my favorite, particularly after the winter we’ve just endured, is this plate of a gentleman taking his family out to enjoy the snow. Check out the swan sled; I feel like I’ve wandered into Lohengrin! And the skates the boy is wearing, how adorable.

TS 239.318.1.12

TS 239.318.1.12

But best of all, I like the idea that by the early 1840s, the idea that a gentleman would take his family on an outing was already entrenched enough in the popular culture to be used as a selling point. So next time I think of fashion, I’m going to think of Vienna!

[Thanks to Andrea Cawelti, Ward Music Cataloger, for contributing this post.]

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