Trying to put my thoughts & ideas down somewhere and give another outlet to my creativity. It's all connected, so I can't say it's a blog about just this or just that. Dolls. Fashion. Art. A little bit on travel, whatever... let's take it wherever it goes...


Films, magazines and more of a hundred years ago!

Arte, the franco-german cultural TV channel often has themed days or weekends on which they show films and documentaries on just one theme. Coinciding with this years' 100th anniversary of the breakout of World War I, they are this weekend celebrating the Belle Epoque - the glittering era leading up to 1914 and WWI.
Most of their programmes can be watched online for 7 days after their initial showing on TV, and there are several that are definitely worth a look!

A round up of all the programmes with this theme can be seen here:

"24 hours in 1913" is a documentary collage of film footage shot before 1914. As you can see from the women's fashions, it's not all just 1913, some of it is defnitely a few years earlier. There are snippes from news reels, some showing just ordinary life, and some from movies of the time. There are even some amazing color shots! I have found the commentary ultra-interesting too, it's all about life at the time, from simple farm folk to the rich and famous.

If you want to see more fashion, check out this amazing documentary on Paul Poiret: The absolute eye candy are dresses from the collection of the Musée des Art decoratifs that they show, as well as the many beautiful perfume bottles he designed for his perfumes.

I've posted the links here to the French versions of the films, if you would rather watch them in German, just hover your mouse over the film's window, go to the button "Version" and click "Version allemande".

If you want to experience a bit of this era "live", the town of Kandersteg hosts a Belle Epoque Week every winter, with all kinds of events like balls, ski races, ice hockey games, train rides etc. with people all dressed up in the style. You can check out photos of last year's event here:

Watching all this has inspired me to write a little more about this. Coincidentally, about a month ago I bought three issues of Weldon's Ladies' Journal from 1914 and 1915 at an antiques market. You know I love old magazines and old ads, but the extra argument for these was that they contained sewing patterns! Yes, you've read right - sewing patterns. Like all of these magazines, most of the patterns had to be ordered by mail, they would just show the illustration and description in the magazine, but some were actually included, with sewing instructions and pre-cut pattern pieces! I am still amazed by these. What I find no less fascinating either that even these three magazines show how fashions (and the world) changed in the span of only a year! Of course there are also recipes, handicraft ideas, all sorts of good advice for the housewife...

June 1914
The cover shows the included patterns - a coat, a dress, a jacket, a lacy blouse, a vest and "tango knickers"!
 Fabulous ads!

 Hats you can make yourself!
Fashions of today - smart fashions from Paris and new sleeves and collars for blouses. All available as patterns.

 How to cut and make a summer blouse.
 It's june - a wedding dress is a must, of course!

 "For the woman of forty summers" - oh dear!
Summer lingerie for your trousseau!
Instructions on how to make the garments that the patterns are included for. These are not only in Englis, but French, German and Spanish too, as well as a several pages of descriptions of all the patterns shown too at the end of the magazine.

The actual patterns! Still factory folded by the look of it.

Embroidery patterns - and a complete wedding luncheon for 20 guests!
And here's the transfer sheet for the embroidery - it's still there a 100 years later. How amazing is this?

August 1915
 Just look how the skirt shape and length changed - into something a lot more practical!

Interesting - there's an ad for Swiss embroideries - one of our big textile exports at the time! And of course you would have needed the kind of thing to trim and decorate dresses like these.
Hats to make yourself.

 Fashions for the matron - and of course, "dainty undies".

The patterns (the descriptions and instructions for which were now of course only in English, French and Spanish - no more German for sure!), and another embroidery transfer sheet.
September 1915

"The new blouse: in filet brodé! A blouse made of filet net, embroidered with cotton, and finished with crochet beding and edging, is very novel and handsome" (and a lot of work!). Beautiful!
 Colgate tooth paste and Nestlé ads.

Some of those hats look like they're ready to fly away!

"Wonder cures" abound...
The 24 hours in 1913 film actually shows how women had their hair cut to have these wigs made, and how the wigs and hairpieces were made.

Again - patterns and an embroidery transfer sheet. I continue to be amazed by these...

And now, if you want more... here's a VFG treasury with items from the time as well!

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