The Rag Meets: Berolinensis

berolinensis

The Costume Rag talks to Olga Jonarska, better known as Berolinensis on her popular Instagram feed. “My interest in the 19th and early 20th century culture started when I was a teenager (I think I was around 15-16) – I first got interested in literature and art of the period, and then my interest developed … Read more

Handmade Canes by Cavagnini

cavagnini

You would have thought that a handmade pewter-topped cane to your size would be expensive – especially if engraved with your initials. Think again. Robert Cavagnini is an artisan brand of walking canes established in 1999 that will make you a cane ready to dispatch in just two days for about 50 pounds plus postage. … Read more

Period-Authentic Confederate Customisation

confederate

Part of the pleasure of re-enactment is getting the clothes right. Yes, of course, there’s the materials (don’t even *think* modern alternatives), but then there’s how they’re made. Modern machines put too many stitches in too small a space. Period machines weren’t as efficient and couldn’t do as fine a job. Union uniforms were machine … Read more

How did Napoleon Change Fashion?

The Napoleonic Wars had a profound impact on European culture, not least in fashion. Britain experienced the ‘Regency’ almost simultaneously with France’s ‘Empire stye’. In Paris this could be seen in the adoption of Egyptian clothes and Prussian styles after the conquest at Austerlitz in 1807. During the French Revolution in the 1790s, the rise … Read more

Howard’s End: BBC Vs Merchant Ivory

Howard's End

While BBC dramas have yet to disappoint costume-wise it remains that the new Howard’s End series faced a difficult task in matching the iconic 1992 Merchant Ivory production. One couldn’t help but notice how this excellent adaption actually emulated the film as much as the original story. Helen’s character played by Philippa Coulthard visually resembled … Read more

Janet Arnold’s Incredible Pattern Books

Janet Arnold

Janet Arnold’s publications are some of the most popular guides in the costume world. Her drawings are taken from original garments in collections throughout Britain and are supplemented with details of their construction and laid out on grid paper with construction comments and fabric details. From wrapping gowns, riding habits, pelisses, and chemises to sack … Read more

Gems: Bond Stuntman’s Leather Uniform

graydon

That title does not deceive you as there really is an item of clothing that combines multiple levels of awesomeness. A black Victorian hussar uniform made in leather for the James Bond stuntman Richard Graydon in the 1975 film Royal Flash. The Jacket The 36″ jacket (I am thrilled to have the body of a … Read more

Five Edwardian Instagrammers to Follow

edwardian

Edwardian style often seems like an uncomfortable niche between the decline of the Victorian era and the sinking of the Titanic followed by the First World War before the roaring twenties made things better. However many still enjoy the extreme elegance of the period as a unique, brief aesthetic and way of life. Instagram has … Read more

Sartorial Death Metal?

death metal

Heavy metal is generally thought to be anything but dressy. But a few bands towards the extreme end of the metal spectrum have defied the stereotype of denim and corpse paint by opting for more tailored attire. Akercocke Blackened death metal legends Akerocke reformed last year and have since released a new album “Renaissance In … Read more

The Timeless Hussar Uniform

hussar uniform

From the Napoleonic Wars onwards the hussar uniform became the most opulent and decorative item of military style to have ever graced the blood and smoke of the battlefield. The eminent costume historian James Laver described the visual purposes of military uniform succinctly in his book ‘Modesty in Dress’ as: enhance the manly feeling of … Read more