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Full text of "Woman as decoration."

WOMAN AS DECORATION 



PLATE I 




Sketched for "Woman as Decoration" by Thelma Cudlipp 

Mme. Geraldine Farrar in 
Greek Costume as Thais 



WOMAN AS DECORATION 



BY 



EMILY BURBANK 



ILLUSTRATED 




NEW YORK 

DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY 
1917 



COPYRIGHT, 1917, 
By DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY, INC. 



DEDICATED 
TO 

V. B. G. 



39R3RR 



FOREWORD 

WOMAN AS DECORATION is intended as a sequel 
to The Art of Interior Decoration (Grace 
Wood and Emily Burbank). 

Having assisted in setting the stage for woman, 
the next logical step is the consideration of 
woman, herself, as an important factor in the 
decprative scheme of any setting, the vital 
spark to animate all interior decoration, private 
or public. The book in hand is intended as a 
brief guide for the woman who would under- 
stand her own type, make the most of it, and 
know how simple a matter it is to be decorative 
if she will but master the few rules underlying 
all successful dressing. As the costuming of 
woman is an art, the history of that art must be 
known to a certain extent by one who would 
be an intelligent student of our subject. With 
the assistance of thirty- three illustrations to 
throw light upon the text, we have tried to tell 
the beguiling story of decorative woman, as she 
appears in frescoes and bas reliefs of Ancient 



XI 



xii FOREWORD 

Egypt, on Greek vases, the Gothic woman in 
tapestry and stained glass, woman in painting, 
stucco and tapestry of the Renaissance, seven- 
teenth, eighteenth and nineteenth century woman 
in portraits. 

Contemporary woman's costume is considered, 
not as fashion, but as decorative line and colour, 
a distinct contribution to the interior decoration 
of her own home or other setting. In this de- 
partment, woman is given suggestions as to the 
costuming of herself, beautifully and appropri- 
ately, in the ball-room, at the opera, in her bou- 
doir, sun-room or on her shaded porch; in her 
garden ; when driving her own car; by the sea, or 
on the ice. 

Woman as Decoration has been planned, in 
part, also to fill a need very generally expressed 
for a handbook to serve as guide for be- 
ginners in getting up costumes for fancy- 
dress balls, amateur theatricals, or the profes- 
sional stage. 

We have tried to shed light upon period cos- 
tumes and point out ways of making any costume 
effective. 

Costume books abound, but so far as we know, 



FOREWORD xiii 

this is the first attempt to confine the vast and 
perplexing subject within the dimensions of a 
small, accessible volume devoted to the prin- 
ciples underlying the planning of all costumes, 
regardless of period. 

The author does not advocate the preening of 
her feathers as woman's sole occupation, in any 
age, much less at this crisis in the making of 
world history; but she does lay great emphasis 
on the fact that a woman owes it to herself, her 
family and the public in general, to be as decora- 
tive in any setting, as her knowledge of the art 
of dressing admits. This knowledge implies an 
understanding of line, colour, fitness, back- 
ground, and above all, one's own type. To 
know one's type, and to have some knowledge 
of the principles underlying all good dressing, 
is of serious economic value ; it means a saving 
of time, vitality and money. 

The watchword of to-day is efficiency, and the 
keynote to modern costuming, appropriateness. 
And so the spirit of the time records itself in 
the interesting and charming subdivision of 
woman's attire. 

One may follow Woman Decorative in the 



xiy FOREWORD 

Orient on vase, fan, screen and kakemono; as 
she struts in the stiff manner of Egyptian has 
reliefs, across walls of ancient ruins, or sits in 
angular serenity, gazing into the future through 
the narrow slits of Egyptian eyes, oblivious of 
time; woman, beautiful in the European sense, 
and decorative to the superlative degree, on 
Greek vase and sculptured wall. Here in 
rhythmic curves, she dandles lovely Cupid on 
her toe; serves as vestal virgin at a woodland 
shrine; wears the bronze helmet of Minerva; 
makes laws, or as Penelope, the wife, wearily 
awaits her roving lord. She moves in august 
majesty, a sore-tried queen, and leaps in merry 
laughter as a care-free slave; pipes, sings and 
plies the distaff. Sauntering on, down through 
Gothic Europe, Tudor England, the adolescent 
Renaissance, Bourbon France, into the pictur- 
esque changes of the eighteenth century, we 
ask, can one possibly escape our theme Woman 
as Decoration? No, for she is carved in wood 
and stone; as Mother of God and Queen of 
Heaven gleams in the jeweled windows of the 
church, looks down in placid serenity on lighted 
altar; is woven in tapestry, in fact dominates 



FOREWORD xv 

all art, painting, stucco or marble, throughout 
the ages. 

If one would know the story of Woman's evo- 
lution and retrogression that rising and falling 
tide in civilisation we commend a study of her 
as she is presented in Art. A knowledge of her 
costume frequently throws light upon her age; 
a thorough knowledge of her age will throw 
light upon her costume. 

A study of the essentials of any costume, of 
any period, trains the eye and mind to be expert 
in planning costumes for every-day use. One 
learns quickly to discriminate between details 
which are ornaments, because they have mean- 
ing, and those which are only illiterate super- 
fluities; and one learns to master many other 
points. 

It is not within the province of this book to 
dwell at length upon national costume, but 
rather to follow costume as it developed with 
and reflected caste, after human society ceased 
to be all alike as to occupation, diversion and 
interest. 

In the world of caste, costume has gradually 
evolved until it aims through appropriateness, 



xvi FOREWORD 

at assisting woman to fulfil her role. With 
peasants who know only the traditional costume 
of their province, the task must often be done 
in spite of the costume, which is picturesque or 
grotesque, inconvenient, even impossible; but 
long may it linger to divert the eye! Russia, 
Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Poland, Scan- 
dinavia, all have an endless variety of cos- 
tumes, rich in souvenirs of folk history, rain- 
bows of colour and bizarre in line, but it is cos- 
tuming the woman of fashion which claims our 
attention. 

The succeeding chapters will treat of woman, 
the vital spark which gives meaning to any set- 
ting indoors, out of doors, at the opera, in the 
ball-room, on the ice where you will. Each 
chapter has to do with modern woman and the 
historical paragraphs are given primarily to shed 
light upon her costume. 

It is shown that woman's decorative appear- 
ance affects her psychology, and that woman's 
psychology affects her decorative appearance. 

Some chapters may, at first glance, seem 
irrelevant, but those who have seriously studied 
any art, and then undertaken to tell its story 



FOREWORD xvii 

briefly in simple, direct language, with the hope 
of quickly putting audience or reader in touch 
with the vital links in the chain of evidence, will 
understand the author's claim that no detour 
which illustrates the subject can in justice be 
termed irrelevant. In the detours often lie in- 
valuable data, for one with a mind for research 
whether author or reader. This is especially 
true in connection with our present task, which 
involves unravelling some of the threads from 
the tangled skein of religion, dancing, music, 
sculpture and painting that mass of bright and 
sombre colour, of gold and silver threads, strung 
with pearls and glittering gems strangely broken 
by age which tells the epic-lyric tale of civili- 
sation. 

While we state that it is not our aim to make 
a point of fashion as such, some of our illustra- 
tions show contemporary woman as she appears 
in our homes, on our streets, at the play, in her 
garden, etc. We have taken examples of 
women's costumes which are pre-eminently 
characteristic of the moment in which we write, 
and as we believe, illustrate those laws upon 
which we base our deductions concerning 



xviii FOREWORD 

woman as decoration. These laws are: appro- 
priateness of her costume to the occasion; con- 
sideration of the type of wearer; background 
against which costume is to be worn; and all 
decoration (which includes jewels), as detail 
with raison d'etre. The body should be carried 
with form (in the sporting sense), to assist in 
giving line to the costume. 

The chic woman is the one who understands 
the art of elimination in costumes. Wear your 
costumes with conviction by which we mean 
decide what picture you will make of yourself, 
make it and then enjoy it! It is only by letting 
your personality animate your costume that you 
make yourself superior to the lay figure or the 
sawdust doll. 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER FACE 

FOREWORD xi 

I A FEW HINTS FOR THE NOVICE WHO 

WOULD PLAN HER COSTUMES . . i 

Rules having economic value while aiming at 
decorativeness. Lines and colouring emphasised 
or modified by costuming. Temperaments af- 
fect carriage of the body. Line of body affects 
costume. Technique of controlling the physique. 
The highly sensitised woman. Costuming an 
art. Studying types. Starring one's own good 
points. Beauty not so fleeting as is supposed 
if costume is adapted to its changing aspects. 
Masters in art of costuming often discover and 
star previously unrecognised beauty. Estab- 
lishing the habit of those lines and colours in 
gowns, hats, gloves, parasols, sticks, fans and 
jewels which are your own. The intelligent 
purchaser. The best dressed women. Value of 
understanding one's background. Learning the 
art of understanding one's background. Learn- 
ing the art of costuming from masters of the 
art. How to proceed with this study. Success- 
ful costuming not dependent upon amount of 
money spent upon it. An example 

II THE LAWS UNDERLYING ALL COSTUMING 

OF WOMAN ... -23 

Appropriateness keynote of costuming to-day. 
Five salient points to be borne in mind when 
planning a costume. Where English, French, 
and American women excel in art of costuming. 
Feeling for line. To make our points clear 
constant reference to the stage is necessary. 
Bakst and Poiret. Turning to the Orient for 
line and colour. Keeping costume in same key 
as its settings. How to know your period ; its 
line, colours and characteristic details. Study- 
ing costumes in Gothic illuminations 
xix 



xx CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGB 

III How TO DRESS YOUR TYPE . . . .46 

A FEW POINTS APPLYING TO ALL COSTUMES. 
Background. Line and colour of costumes to 
bring out the individuality of wearer. The chic 
woman defined. Intelligent expressing of self 
in mise-en-scene. Selecting one's colour scheme 

IV THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CLOTHES ... 54 

Effect of clothes upon manners. The natural 
instinct for costuming, "clothes sense." Cos- 
tuming affecting psychology of wearer. Clothes 
may liberate or shackle the spirit of women, be 
a tyrant or magician's wand. Follow colour 
instinct in clothes as well as housefurnishings 

V ESTABLISH HABITS OF CARRIAGE WHICH 

CREATE GOOD LINE . . . . ' * 66 

Woman's line result of habits of a mind con- 
trolled by observations, conventions, experiences 
and attitudes which make her personality. 
Training lines of physique from childhood; an 
example. A knowledge of how to dress appro- 
priately leads to efficiency 

VI COLOUR IN WOMAN'S COSTUME . . . 74 

Colour hallmark of to-day. Bakst, Rhein- 
hardt and Granville Barker, teachers of the new 
colour vocabulary. PORTABLE BACKGROUNDS 

VII FOOTWEAR .85 

Importance of carefully considering extremi- 
ties, What constitutes a costume. Importance 
of learning how to buy, put on and wear each 
detail of costume if one would be a decorative 
picture. Spats. Stockings. Slippers. Buckles 

VIII JEWELRY AS DECORATION . . . . 94 

Considered as colour and line not with regard 
to intrinsic worth. To complete a costume or 
furnish keynote upon which to build a costume. 
Distinguished jewels with historic associations 
worn artistically; examples. Know what 
jewels are your affair as to colour, size, and 



CONTENTS xxi 

CHAPTER PAGE 

shape. To know what one can and cannot 
wear in all departments of costuming prepares 
one to grasp and make use of expert suggestions. 
How fashions come into being. One of the rules 
as to how jewels should be worn. Gems and 
paste 

IX WOMAN DECORATIVE IN HER BOUDOIR . in 

Negligee or tea-gown belongs to this intimate 
setting. Fortuny the artist designer of tea- 
gowns. Sibyl Sanderson. The decorative value 
of a long string of beads. Beauty which is the 
result of conscious effort. Bien soint a hall- 
mark of our period 

X WOMAN DECORATIVE IN HER SUN-ROOM . 116 

Since a winter sun-room is planned to give 
the illusion of summer, one's costuming for it 
should carry out the same idea. The sun-room 
provides a means for using up last summer's 
costumes. The hat, if worn, should suggest 
repose, not action. The age and habits of those 
occupying a sun-room dictate the exact type 
of costume to be worn. Colour scheme 

XI i. WOMAN DECORATIVE IN HER GARDEN 124 

In the garden the costume should have a 
decorative outline but simple colour scheme 
which harmonises with background of flowers. 
White, grey, or one note of colour prefer- 
able. The flowers furnish variety and colour. 
Lady de Bathe (Mrs. Langtry) in her garden 
at Newmarket, England. 

ii. WOMAN DECORATIVE ON THE LAWN 

One may be a flower or a bunch of flowers 
for colour against the unbroken sweep of green 
underfoot and background of shrubs and trees. 
Chic outline and interesting detail, as well as 
colour, of distinct value in a costume for lawn. 
How to cultivate an unerring instinct for 
what is a successful costume for any given occa- 
sion 

in. WOMAN DECORATIVE ON THE BEACH 

If one would be a contribution to the picture, 
figure as white or vivid colour on beach, 
deck of steamer or yacht 



xxii CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

XII WOMAN AS DECORATION WHEN SKATING 134 

Line of the body all important. The neces- 
sity of mastering form to gain efficiency in any 
line; examples. The traditional skating cos- 
tume has the lead 

XIII WOMAN DECORATIVE IN HER MOTOR CAR . 145 

The colour of one's car inside and out impor- 
tant factor in effect produced by one's care- 
fully chosen costume 

XIV How TO Go ABOUT PLANNING A PERIOD 

COSTUME 154 

Period. Background. Outline. Materials. 
Colour scheme. Detail with meaning. Author- 
ities. Consulting portraits by great masters. 
Geraldine Farrar. Distinguished collection of 
costume plates. One result of planning period 
costumes is the opening up of vistas in history. 
Every detail of a period costume has its fas- 
cinating story worth the knowing. Brief his- 
toric outline to serve as key to the rich store- 
house of important volumes on costumes and 
the distinguished textless books of costume 
plates. Period of fashions in costumes devel- 
oping without nationality. Nationality declared 
in artistry of workmanship and the modification 
or exaggeration of an essential detail accord- 
ing to national or individual temperament. 
Evolution of woman's costume. Assyria. 
Egypt. Byzantium/ Greece. Rome. Gothic 
Europe. Europe of the Renaissance, seven- 
teenth, eighteenth and nineteenth century 
through Mid-Victorian period. Cord tied about 
waist origin of costumes for women and men 

XV THE STORY OF PERIOD COSTUMES . .172 
A RESUME. 

Woman as seen in Egyptian sculpture-relief; 
on Greek vase; in Gothic stained glass; carved 
stone; tapestry; stucco; and painting of the 
Renaissance; eighteenth and nineteenth century 
portraits. Art throughout the ages reflects 
woman in every role; as companion, ruler, 



CONTENTS 



XXlll 



CHAPTER 



slave, saint, plaything, teacher, and voluntary 
worker. Evolution of outline of woman's cos- 
tume, including change in neck; shoulder; 
evolution of sleeve; girdle; hair; head-dress; 
waist line; petticoat. Gradual disappearance 
of long, flowing lines characteristic of Greek 
and Gothic periods. Demoralisation of Nature's 
shoulder and hip-line culminates in the Velas- 
quez edition of Spanish fashion and the Marie 
Antoinette extravaganzas 



XVI DEVELOPMENT OF GOTHIC COSTUME . .192 

Gothic outline first seen as early as fourth 
century. Costume of Roman-Christian women. 
Ninth century. The Gothic cape of twelfth, 
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries made 
familiar on the Virgin and saints in sacred 
art. The tunic. Restraint in line, colour, and 
detail gradually disappear with increased circu- 
lation of wealth until in fifteenth century we 
see humanity over-weighted with rich brocades, 
laces, massive jewels, etc. 

THE VIRGIN IN ART 

Late Middle Ages. Sovereignty of the Virgin 
as explained in "The Cathedrals of Mont St. 
Michel and Chatres," by Henry Adams. 
Woman as the Virgin dominates art of twelfth, 
thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries. The gir- 
dle. The round neck. The necklace, etc. 

XVII THE RENAISSANCE 214 

SIXTEENTH AND SEVENTEENTH CENTURIES 

Pointed and other head-dresses with floating 
veils. Neck low off shoulders. Skirts part as 
waist-line over petticoat. Wealth of Roman 
Empire through new trade channels had led to 
importation of richly coloured Oriental stuffs. 
Same wealth led to establishing looms in 
Europe. Clothes of man like his over-ornate 
furniture show debauched and vulgar taste. 
The good Gothic lines live on in costumes of 
nuns and priests. The Davanzati Palace col- 
lection, Florence, Italy. Long pointed shoes 
of the Middle Ages give way to broad square 
ones. Gorgeous materials. Hats. Hair. 



XXIV 



CONTENTS 



Sleeves. Skirts. Crinolines. Coats. Over- 
skirts draped to develop into panniers of Marie 
Antoinette's time. Directoire reaction to sim- 
ple lines and materials 



XVII EIGHTEENTH CENTURY . . . .233 

Political upheavals. Scientific discoveries. 
Mechanical inventions. Chemical achievements. 
Chintz or stamped linens of Jouy near Ver- 
sailles. Painted wall-papers after the Chinese. 
Simplicity in costuming of woman and man 

XIX WOMAN IN THE VICTORIAN PERIOD . .241 

First seventy years of nineteenth century. 
" Historic Dress in America " by Elizabeth Mc- 
Clellan. Hoops, wigs, absurdly furbished head- 
dresses, paper-soled shoes, bonnets enormous, 
laces of cobweb, shawls from India, rouge and 
hair-grease, patches and powder, laced waists, 
and " vapours." Man still decorative 

XX SEX IN COSTUMING . . . . . 244 

"European dress." Progenitor of costume 
worn by modern men. The time when no dis- 
tinction was made between materials used for 
man and woman. Velvets, silks, satins, laces, 
elaborate cuffs and collars, embroidery, jewels 
and plumes as much his as hers 

XXI LINE AND COLOUR OF COSTUMES IN 

HUNGARY v . 252 

In a sense colour a sign of virility. Ex- 
amples. Studying line and colour in Magyar 
Land. In Krakau, Poland, A highly decora- 
tive Polish peasant and her setting 

XXII STUDYING LINE AND COLOUR IN RUSSIA . 265 

Kiev our headquarters. Slav temperament 
an integral part of Russian nature expressed 
in costuming as well as folk songs and dances 
of the people. Russian woman of the fashion- 
able world. The Russian pilgrims as we saw 
them tramping over the frozen roads to the 
shrines of Kiev, the Holy City and ancient 



CONTENTS 



XXV 



CHAPTER 



capital of Russia at the close of the Lenten 
season. Their costumes and their psychology 



XXIII MARK TWAIN'S LOVE OF COLOUR IN ALL 
COSTUMING 

Wrapped in a crimson silk dressing-gown 
on a balcony of his Italian villa in Connecti- 
cut, Mark Twain dilated on the value of bril- 
liant colour in man's costuming. His creative, 
picturing-making mind in action. Other themes 
followed 



XXIV THE ARTIST AND His COSTUME . 



A God-given sense of the beautiful. The 
artist nature has always assumed poetic license 
in the matter of dress. Many so-called affec- 
tations have raison d'etre. Responding to tex- 
ture, colour and line as some do to music and 
scenery. How Japanese actors train them- 
selves to act women's parts by wearing woman's 
costumes off the stage. This cultivates the re- 
quired feeling for the costumes. The woman 
devotee to sports when costumed. Richard 
Wagner's responsiveness to colour and texture. 
Clyde Fitch's sensitiveness to the same. 
The wearing of jewels by men. King Edward 
VII. A remarkable topaz worn by a Spaniard. 
Its undoing as a decorative object through 
its resetting 

XXV IDIOSYNCRASIES IN COSTUME 

Fashions in dress all powerful because they 
seize upon the public mind. They become the 
symbol of manners and affect human psychol- 
ogy. Affectations of the youth of Athens. 
Les Merveilleux, Les Encroyables, the Illumi- 
nati. Schiller during the Storm and Stress 
Period. Venetian belles of the sixteenth cen- 
tury. The Cavalier Servente of the seventeenth 
century. Mme. Recamier scandalised London 
in eighteenth century by appearing costumed 
a la Greque. Mme. Jerome Bonaparte, a Bal- 
timore belle, followed suit in Philadelphia. 
Hour-glass waist-line and attendant "vapours" 
were thought to be in the role of a high-born 



276 



. 283 



292 



XXVI 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER 

Victorian miss. Appropriateness the contribu- 
tion of our day to the story of woman's cos- 
tuming 

XXVI NATIONALITY IN COSTUME .... 

When seen with perspective the costumes of 
various periods appear as distinct types though 
to the man or woman of any particular period 
the variations of the type are bewildering and 
misleading. Having followed the evolution of 
the costume of woman of fashion which comes 
under the general head of European dress, be- 
fore closing we turn to quite another field, that 
of national costumes. Progress levels national 
differences, therefore the student must make the 
most of opportunities to observe. Experiences 
in Hungary 

XXVII MODELS . 

Historical interest attaches to fashions in 
woman's costuming. One of the missions of 
art is to make subtle the obvious. Examples as 
seen in 1917 



PAGE 



296 



306 



XXVIII WOMAN COSTUMED FOR HER WAR JOB . 313 

The Pageant of Life shows that woman has 
played opposite man with consistency and suc- 
cess throughout the ages. Apropos of this, we 
quote from Philadelphia Public Ledger, for 
March 25, 1917, an impression of a woman of 
to-day costumed appropriately to get efficiency 
in her war work 



IN CONCLUSION 

A brief review of the chief points to be kept 
in mind by those interested in the costuming 
of woman so that she figures as a decorative 
contribution to any setting 



324 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

I MME. GERALDINE FARRAR IN GREEK COS- 
TUME AS THAIS (Frontispiece) vi 
Sketched by Thelma Cudlipp 

PAGE 

II WOMAN IN ANCIENT EGYPTIAN SCULPTURE- 
RELIEF 9 

III WOMAN IN GREEK ART 19 

IV WOMAN ON GREEK VASE 29 

V WOMAN IN GOTHIC ART .... 39 
Portrait Showing Pointed Head-dress 

VI WOMAN IN ART OF THE RENAISSANCE . . 49 
Sculpture-relief in Terra-cotta: The 
Virgin 

VII WOMAN IN ART OF THE RENAISSANCE . . 59 
Sulpture-relief in Terra-cotta: Holy 
Women 

VIII TUDOR ENGLAND 69 

Portrait of Queen Elizabeth 

IX SPAIN VELASQUEZ PORTRAIT . . . 79 

X EIGHTEENTH CENTURY ENGLAND ... 89 
Portrait by Thomas Gainsborough 

XI BOURBON FRANCE 99 

Portrait of Marie Antoinette by Madame 
Vigee Le Brun 

XII COSTUME OF EMPIRE PERIOD .... 109 
An English Portrait 

XIII EIGHTEENTH CENTURY COSTUME . . .119 
Portrait by Gilbert Stuart 
xxvii. 



XXV111 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



XIV VICTORIAN PERIOD (ABOUT 1840) . 
Mme. Adeline Genee in Costume 

XV LATE NINETEENTH CENTURY . Y , 
(ABOUT 1890) 
A Portrait by John S. Sargent 

XVI A MODERN PORTRAIT 

By John W. Alexander 

XVII A PORTRAIT OF MRS. PHILIP M. LYDIG 
By I. Zuloaga 

XVIII MRS. LANGTRY (LADY DE BATHE) IN 
EVENING WRAP 

XIX MRS. COND NAST IN STREET DRESS 
Photograph by Baron de Meyer 

XX MRS. CONDE NAST IN EVENING DRESS . 
XXI MRS. CONDE NAST IN GARDEN COSTUME 

XXII MRS. CONDE NAST IN FORTUNY TEA 
GOWN . . . '; ... 

XXIII MRS. VERNON CASTLE IN BALL COSTUME 

XXIV MRS. VERNON CASTLE IN AFTERNOON 

COSTUME WINTER . . 

XXV MRS. VERNON CASTLE IN AFTERNOON 
COSTUME SUMMER 

XXVI MRS. VERNON CASTLE COSTUMED A LA 
GUERRE FOR A WALK . 

XXVII MRS. VERNON CASTLE A FANTASY 

XXVIII MODERN SKATING COSTUME 1917 

Winner of Amateur Championship of 
Fancy Skating 

XXIX A MODERN SILHOUETTE- 1917 . 
TAILOR-MADE 

Drawn from Life by Elisabeth Searcy 



FACE 
129 

139 



149 



159 



179 

I8 9 
199 

2O9 
219 

229 

239 

249 

259 
269 

279 



ILLUSTRATIONS xxix 

PAGE 

XXX TAPP^'S CREATIONS . . . . 289 

Sketched for Woman as Decoration 
by Thelma Cudlipp 

XXXI Miss ELSIE DE WOLFE IN COSTUME OF 

RED CROSS NURSE 299 

XXXII MME. GERALDINE FARRAR IN SPANISH 

COSTUME AS CARMEN .... 309 
From Photograph by Courtesy of 
Vanity Fair 

XXXIII MME. GERALDINE FARRAR IN JAPANESE 

COSTUME AS MADAME BUTTERFLY . 319 
Sketched by Thelma Cudlipp 



" The Communion of men upon earth abhors 
identity more than nature does a vacuum. Nothing 
so shocks and repels the living soul as a row of 
exactly similar things, whether it consists of modern 
houses or of modern people, and nothing so delights 
and edifies as distinction." 

COVENTRY PATMORE. 

" Whatever piece of dress conceals a woman's 
figure, is bound, in justice, to do so in a picturesque 
way." 

From an Early Victorian Fashion Paper. 

" When was that * simple time of our fathers ' 
when people were too sensible to care for fashions ? 
It certainly was before the Pharaohs, and perhaps 
before the Glacial Epoch." 

W. G. SUMNER, in Folkways. 



WOMAN AS DECORATION 



WOMAN AS 
DECORATION 

CHAPTER I 

A FEW HINTS FOR THE NOVICE WHO WOULD 
PLAN HER COSTUMES 

|HERE are a few rules with regard to 
the costuming of woman which if 
understood put one a long way on the 
road toward that desirable goal decorativeness, 
and have economic value as well. They are 
simple rules deduced by those who have made 
a study of woman's lines and colouring, and 
how to emphasise or modify them by dress. 

Temperaments are seriously considered by ex- 
perts in this art, for the carriage of a woman 
and her manner of wearing her clothes depends 
in part upon her temperament. Some women 
instinctively feel line and are graceful in con- 




2 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

sequence, as we have said, but where one is not 
born with this instinct, it is possible to become 
so thoroughly schooled in the technique of con- 
trolling the physique poise of the body, car- 
riage of the head, movement of the limbs, use of 
feet and hands, that a sense of line is acquired. 
Study portraits by great masters, the movements 
of those on the stage, the carriage and positions 
natural to graceful women. A graceful woman 
is invariably a woman highly sensitised, but re- 
member that " alive to the finger tips " or toe 
tips, may be true of the woman with few ges- 
tures, a quiet voice and measured words, as well 
as the intensely active type. 

The highly sensitised woman is the one who 
will wear her clothes with individuality, whether 
she be rounded or slender. To dress well is an 
art, and requires concentration as any other art 
does. You know the old story of the boy, who 
when asked why his necktie was always more 
neatly tied than those of his companions, an- 
swered: " I put my whole mind on it." There 
you have it! The woman who puts her whole 
mind on the costuming of herself is naturally 
going to look better than the woman who does 



A FEW HINTS FOR THE NOVICE 3 

not, and having carefully studied her type, she 
will know her strong points and her weak ones, 
and by accentuating the former, draw attention 
from the latter. There is a great difference, 
however, between concentrating on dress until 
an effect is achieved, and then turning the mind 
to other subjects, and that tiresome dawdling, 
indefinite, fruitless way, to arrive at no convic- 
tions. This variety of woman never gets dress 
off her chest. 

The catechism of good dressing might be 
given in some such form as this: Are you fat? 
If so, never try to look thin by compressing your 
figure or confining your clothes in such a way 
as to clearly outline the figure. Take a chance 
from your size. Aim at long lines, and what 
dressmakers call an " easy fit," and the use of 
solid colours. Stripes, checks, plaids, spots and 
figures of any kind draw attention to dimen- 
sions; a very fat woman looks larger if her sur- 
face is marked off into many spaces. Likewise 
a very thin woman looks thinner if her body 
on the imagination of the public subtracting 
is marked off into spaces absurdly few in num- 
ber. A beautifully proportioned and rounded 



4 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

figure is the one to indulge in striped, checked, 
spotted or flowered materials or any parti-col- 
oured costumes. 

Never try to make a thin woman look any- 
thing but thin. Often by accentuating her thin- 
ness, a woman can make an effect as type, which 
gives her distinction. If she were foolish enough 
to try to look fatter, her lines would be lost with- 
out attaining the contour of the rounded type. 
There are of course fashions in types; pale ash 
blonds, red-haired types (auburn or golden 
red with shell pink complexions), dark haired 
types with pale white skin, etc., and fash- 
ions in figures are as many and as fleet- 
ing. 

Artists are sometimes responsible for these 
vogues. One hears of the Rubens type, or the 
Sir Joshua Reynolds, Hauptner, Burne-Jones, 
Greuse, Henner, Zuloaga, and others. The artist 
selects the type and paints it, the attention of the 
public is attracted to it and thereafter singles 
it out. We may prefer soft, round blonds with 
dimpled smiles, but that does not mean that such 
indisputable loveliness can challenge the attrac- 



A FEW HINTS FOR THE NOVICE 5 

tions of a slender serpentine tragedy-queen, if 
the latter has established the vogue of her type 
through the medium of the stage or painter's 
brush. 

A woman well known in the world of fashion 
both sides of the Atlantic, slender and very tall, 
has at times deliberately increased that height 
with a small high-crowned hat, surmounted by 
a still higher feather. She attained distinction 
without becoming a caricature, by reason of her 
obvious breeding and reserve. Here is an im- 
portant point. A woman of quiet and what we 
call conservative type, can afford to wear con- 
spicuous clothes if she wishes, whereas a con- 
spicuous type must be reserved in her dress. By 
following this rule the overblown rose often 
makes herself beautiful. Study all types of 
woman. Beauty is a wonderful and precious 
thing, and not so fleeting either as one is told. 
The point is, to take note, not of beauty's de- 
parture, but its gradually changing aspect, and 
adapt costume, line and colour, to the demands 
of each year's alterations in the individual. 
Make the most of grey hair; as you lose your 
colour, soften your tones. 



6 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

Always star your points. If you happen to 
have an unusual amount of hair, make it count, 
even though the fashion be to wear but little. We 
recall the beautiful and unique Madame X. of 
Paris, blessed by the gods with hair like bronze, 
heavy, long, silken and straight. She wore it 
wrapped about her head and finally coiled into 
a French twist on the top, the effect closely re- 
sembling an old Roman helmet. This was de- 
sign, not chance, and her well-modeled features 
were the sort to stand the severe coiffure, 
Madame's husband, always at her side that 
season on Lake Lucerne, was curator of the 
Louvre. We often wondered whether the 
idea was his or hers. She invariably wore 
white, not a note of colour, save her hair; 
even her well-bred fox terrier was snowy 
white. 

Worth has given distinction to more than one 
woman by recognising her possibilities, if kept 
to white, black, greys and mauves. A beautiful 
Englishwoman dressed by this establishment, 
always a marked figure at whatever embassy her 
husband happens to be posted, has never been 
seen wearing anything in the evening but black, 



PLATE II 



Woman in ancient Egyptian sculpture-relief about 

IOOO B.C. 

We have here a husband and wife. (Metropolitan 
Museum.) 




Metropolitan Museum of Art 

Woman in Ancient Egyp- 
tian Sculpture-Relief 



A FEW HINTS FOR THE NOVICE 11 

or white, with very simple lines, cut low and 
having a narrow train. 

It may take courage on the part of dressmaker, 
as well as the woman in question, but granted 
you have a distinct style of your own, and under- 
stand it, it is the part of wisdom to establish 
the habit of those lines and colours which are 
yours, and then to avoid experiments with outre 
lines and shades. They are almost sure to prove 
failures. Taking on a colour and its variants is 
an economic, as well as an artistic measure. 
Some women have so systematised their cos- 
tuming in order to be decorative, at the least 
possible expenditure of vitality and time (these 
are the women who dress to live, not live to 
dress), that they know at a glance, if dress mate- 
rials, hats, gloves, jewels, colour of stones and 
style of setting, are for them. It is really a joy 
to shop with this kind of woman. She has 
definitely fixed in her mind the colours and 
lines of her rooms, all her habitual settings, and 
the clothes and accessories best for her. And 
with the eye of an artist, she passes swiftly by 
the most alluring bargains, calculated to under- 
mine firm resolution. In fact one should not 



12 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

say that this woman shops; she buys. What is 
more, she never wastes money, though she may 
spend it lavishly. 

Some of the best dressed women (by which 
we always mean women dressed fittingly for 
the occasion, and with reference to their own 
particular types) are those with decidedly lim- 
ited incomes. 

There are women who suggest chiffon and 
others brocade; women who call for satin, and' 
others for silk; women for sheer muslins, and 
others for heavy linen weaves; women for 
straight brims, and others for those that droop; 
women for leghorns, and those they do not suit; 
women for white furs, and others for tawny 
shades. A woman with red in her hair is the 
one to wear red fox. 

If you cannot see for yourself what line and 
colour do to you, surely you have some friend 
who can tell you. In any case, there is always 
the possibility of paying an expert for advice. 
Allow yourself -to be guided in the reaching of 
some decision about yourself and your limita- 
tions, as well as possibilities. You will by this 
means increase your decorativeness, and what is 



A FEW HINTS FOR THE NOVICE 13 

of more serious importance, your economic 
value. 

A marked example of woman decorative was 
seen on the recent occasion when Miss Isadora 
Duncan danced at the Metropolitan Opera 
House, for the benefit of French artists and their 
families, victims of the present war. Miss Dun- 
can was herself so marvelous that afternoon, as 
she poured her art, aglow and vibrant with 
genius, into the mould of one classic pose after 
another, that most of her audience had little 
interest in any other personality, or effect. Some 
of us, however, when scanning the house between 
the acts, had our attention caught and held by 
a charmingly decorative woman occupying one 
of the boxes, a quaint outline in silver-grey 
taffeta, exactly matching the shade of the 
woman's hair, which was cut in Florentine 
fashion forming an aureole about her small head, 
a becoming frame for her fine, highly sensi- 
tive face. The deep red curtains and uphol- 
stery in the box threw her into relief, a lovely 
miniature, as seen from a distance. There were 
no doubt other charming costumes in the boxes 
and stalls that afternoon, but none so successful 



i 4 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

in registering a distinct decorative effect. The 
one we refer to was suitable, becoming, indi- 
vidual, and reflected personality in a way to 
indicate an extraordinary sensitiveness to values, 
that subtle instinct which makes the artist. 

With very young women it is easy to be deco- 
rative under most conditions. Almost all of 
them are decorative, as seen in our present fash- 
ions, but to produce an effect in an opera box is to 
understand the carrying power of colour and 
line. The woman in the opera box has the same 
problem to solve as the woman on the stage: her 
costume must be effective at a distance. Such a 
costume may be white, black and any colour; 
gold, silver, steel or jet; lace, chiffon what you 
will provided the fact be kept in mind that 
your outline be striking and the colour an agree- 
able contrast against the lining of the box. 
Here, outline is of chief importance, the silhou- 
ette must be definite; hair, ornaments, fan, cut 
of gown, calculated to register against the back- 
ground. In the stalls, colour and outline of any 
single costume become a part of the mass of 
colour and black and white of the audience. It 
is difficult to be a decorative factor under these 



A FEW HINTS FOR THE NOVICE 15 

conditions, yet we can all recall women of every 
age, who so costume themselves as to make an 
artistic, memorable impression, not only when 
entering opera, theatre or concert hall, but when 
seated. These are the women who understand 
the value of elimination, restraint, colour har- 
mony and that chic which results in part from 
faultless grooming. To-day it is not enough to 
possess hair which curls ideally: it must, willy 
nilly, curl conventionally! 

If it is necessary, prudent or wise that your 
purchases for each season include not more than 
six new gowns, take the advice of an actress 
of international reputation, who is famous for 
her good dressing in private life, and make a 
point of adding one new gown to each of the 
six departments of your wardrobe. Then have 
the cleverness to appear in these costumes when- 
ever on view, making what you have fill in be- 
tween times. 

To be clear, we would say, try always to begin 
a season with one distinguished evening gown, 
one smart tailor suit, one charming house gown, 
one tea gown, one negligee and one sport suit. 
If you are needing many dancing frocks, which 



1 6 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

have hard wear, get a simple, becoming model, 
which your little dressmaker, seamstress or maid 
can copy in inexpensive but becoming colours. 
You can do this in Summer and Winter alike, 
and with dancing frocks, tea gowns, negligees 
and even sport suits. That is, if you have smart, 
up-to-date models to copy. 

One woman we know bought the finest qual- 
ity jersey cloth by the yard, and had a little 
dressmaker copy exactly a very expensive skirt 
and sweater. It seems incredible, but she saved 
on a ready made suit exactly like it forty dol- 
lars, and on one made to measure by an exclu- 
sive house, one hundred dollars! Remember, 
however, that there was an artist back of it all 
and someone had to pay for that perfect model, 
to start with. In the case we cite, the woman 
had herself bought the original sport suit from 
an importer who is always in advance with Paris 
models. 

If you cannot buy the designs and workman- 
ship of artists, take anvantage of all opportuni- 
ties to see them; hats and gowns shown at open- 
ings, or when your richer friends are ordering. 
In this way you will get ideas to make use of 



PLATE III 



A Greek vase. Dionysiac scenes about 460 B.C. In- 
teresting costumes. (Metropolitan Museum.) 



18 




Metropolitan Museum of Art 

Woman on Greek Vase 



A FEW HINTS FOR THE NOVICE 21 

and you will avoid looking home-made, than 
which, no more damning phrase can be applied 
to any costume. As a matter of fact it implies 
a hat or gown lacking an artist's touch and de- 
scribes many a one turned out by long-estab- 
lished and largely patronised firms. 

The only satisfactory copy of a Fortuny tea 
gown we have ever seen accomplished away 
from the supervision of Fortuny himself, was 
the exquisite hand-work of a young American 
woman who lives in New York, and makes her 
own gowns and hats, because her interest and 
talent happen to be in that direction. She told 
a group of friends the other day, to whom she 
was showing a dainty chiffon gown, posed on a 
form, that to her, the planning and making of a 
lovely costume had the same thrilling excite- 
ment that the painting of a picture had for the 
artist in the field of paint and canvas. This 
same young woman has worked constantly since 
the European war began, both in London and 
New York, on the shapeless surgical shirts used 
by the wounded soldiers. In this, does she out- 
rank her less accomplished sisters? Yes, for the 
technique she has achieved by making her own 



22 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

costumes makes her swift and economical, both 
in the cutting of her material and in the actual 
sewing and she is invaluable as a buyer of ma- 
terials. 




CHAPTER II 

THE LAWS UNDERLYING ALL COSTUMING OF 
WOMAN 

[AT every costume is either right or 
wrong is not a matter of general 
knowledge. " It will do," or " It is 
near enough " are verdicts responsible for 
beauty hidden and interest destroyed. Who has 
not witnessed the mad mental confusion of 
women and men put to it to decide upon cos- 
tumes for some fancy-dress ball, and the appall- 
ing ignorance displayed when, at the costumer's, 
they vaguely grope among battered-looking gar- 
ments, accepting those proffered, not really 
knowing how the costume they ask for should 
look? 

Absurd mistakes in period costumes are to be 
taken more or less seriously according to tem- 
perament. But where is the fair woman who 
will say that a failure to emege from a dress- 
maker's hands in a successful costume is not a 

23 



24 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

tragedy? Yet we know that the average woman, 
more often than not, stands stupefied before the 
infinite variety of materials and colours of our 
twentieth century, and unless guided by an 
expert, rarely presents the figure, chez-elle, or 
when on view in public places, which she would 
or could, if in possession of the few rules under- 
lying all successful dressing, whatever the cen- 
tury or circumstances. 

Six salient points are to be borne in mind 
when planning a costume, whether for a fancy- 
dress ball or to be worn as one goes about one's 
daily life : 

First, appropriateness to occasion, station and 
age; 

Second, character of background you are to 
appear against (your setting) ; 

Third, what outline you wish to present to 
observers (the period of costume) ; 

Fourth, what materials of those in use during 
period selected you will choose; 

Fifth, what colours of those characteristic of 
period you will use ; 

Sixth, the distinction between those details 



COSTUMING OF WOMAN 25 

which are obvious contributions to the costume, 
and those which are superfluous, because mean- 
ingless or line-destroying. 

Let us remind our reader that the woman who 
dresses in perfect taste often spends far less 
money than she who has contracted the habit 
of indefiniteness as to what she wants, what she 
should want, and how to wear what she gets. 

Where one woman has used her mind and 
learned beyond all wavering what she can and 
what she cannot wear, thousands fill the streets 
by day and places of amusement by night, who 
blithely carry upon their persons costumes 
which hide their good points and accentuate 
their bad ones. 

The rara avis among women is she who al- 
ways presents a fashionable outline, but so subtly 
adapted to her own type that the impression 
made is one of distinct individuality. 

One knows very well how little the average 
costume counts in a theatre, opera house or ball- 
room. It is a question of background again. 
Also you will observe that the costume which 
counts most individually, is the one in a key 



26 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

higher or lower than the average, as with a voice 
in a crowded room. 

The chief contribution of our day to the art 
of making woman decorative is the quality of 
appropriateness. I refer of course to the woman 
who lives her life in the meshes of civilisation. 
We have defined the smart woman as she who 
wears the costume best suited to each occasion 
when that occasion presents itself. Accepting 
this definition, we must all agree that beyond 
question the smartest women, as a nation, are 
English women, who are so fundamentally con- 
vinced as to the invincible law of appropriate- 
ness that from the cradle to the grave, with them 
evening means an evening gown ; country clothes 
are suited to country uses and a tea-gown is not 
a bedroom negligee. Not even in Rome can 
they be prevailed upon " to do as the Romans 
do." 

Apropos of this we recall an experience in 
Scotland. A house party had gathered for the 
shooting, English men and women. Among 
the guests were two Americans; done to a turn 
by Redfern. It really turned out to be a trag- 
edy, as they saw it, for though their cloth skirts 



PLATE IV 



27 



Greek Kylix. Signed by Hieron, about 40x3 B.C. 
Athenian. The woman wears one of the gowns For- 
tuny (Paris) has reproduced as a modern tea gown. It 
is in two pieces. The characteristic short tunic reaches 
just below waist line in front and hangs in long, fine 
pleats (sometimes cascaded folds) under the arms, the ends 
of which reach below knees. The material is not cut to 
form sleeves; instead two oblong pieces of material are 
held together by small fastenings at short intervals, show- 
ing upper arm through intervening spaces. The result 
in appearance is similar to a kimono sleeve. (Metropoli- 
tan Museum.) 




Metropolitan Museum of Art 

Woman in Greek Art about 
400 B.C. 



COSTUMING OF WOMAN 31 

were short, they were silk-lined; outing shirts 
were of crepe not flannel; tan boots, but 
thinly soled; hats most chic, but the sort that 
drooped in a mist. Well, those two American 
girls had to choose between long days alone, 
while the rest tramped the moors, or to being 
togged out in borrowed tweeds, flannel shirts 
and thick-soled boots. 

That was some years back. We are a match 
for England to-day, in the open, but have a long 
way to go before we wear with equal conviction, 
and therefore easy grace, tea-gown and evening 
dress. Both how and when still annoy us as a 
nation. On the street we are supreme when 
tailleur. In carriage attire the French woman 
is supreme, by reason of that innate Latin co- 
quetry which makes her feel line and its signifi- 
cance. The ideal pose for any hat is a French 
secret. 

The average woman is partially aware that if 
she would be a decorative being, she must grasp 
conclusively two points: first, the limitations 
of her natural outline ; secondly, a knowledge of 
how nearly she can approach the outline de- 
manded by fashion without appearing a cari- 



32 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

cature, which is another way of saying that each 
woman should learn to recognise her own type. 
The discussion of silhouette has become a pop- 
ular theme. In fact it would be difficult to find 
a maker of women's costumes so remote and un- 
read as not to have seized and imbedded deep 
in her vocabulary that mystic word. 

To make our points clear, constant reference 
to the stage is necessary; for from stage effects 
we are one and all free to enjoy and learn. No- 
where else can the woman see so clearly pre- 
sented the value of having what she wears har- 
monise with the room she wears it in, and the 
occasion for which it is worn. 

Not all plays depicting contemporary life are 
plays of social life, staged and costumed in a 
chic manner. What is taught by the modern 
stage, as shown by Bakst, Reinhardt, Barker, 
Urban, Jones, the Portmanteau Theatre and 
Washington Square Players, is values, as the 
artist uses the term not fashions; the relative 
importance of background, outline, colour, tex- 
ture of material and how to produce harmonious 
effects by the judicious combination of furnish- 
ings and costumes. 



COSTUMING OF WOMAN 33 

To-day, when we want to say that a costume 
or the interior decoration of a house is the last 
word in modern line and colour, we are apt to 
call it a la Bakst, meaning of course Leon Bakst, 
whose American " poster " was the Russian 
Ballet. If you have not done so already, buy 
or borrow the wonderful Bakst book, showing 
reproductions in their colours of his extraordi- 
nary drawings, the originals of which are owned 
by private individuals or museums, in Paris, 
Petrograd, London, and New York. They are 
outre to a degree, yet each one suggests the 
whole or parts of costumes for modern woman 
adorable lines, unbelievable combinations of 
colour! No wonder Poiret, the Paris dress- 
maker, seized upon Bakst as designer (or was it 
Bakst who seized upon Poiret?). 

Bakst got his inspiration in the Orient. As 
a bit of proof, for your own satisfaction, there 
is a book entitled Six Monuments of Chinese 
Sculpture, by Edward Chauvannes, published 
in 1914, by G. Van Oest & Cie., of Brussels and 
Paris. The author, with a highly commendable 
desire to perpetuate for students a record of 
the most ancient speciments of Chinese sculp- 



34 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

ture, brought to Paris and sold there, from time 
to time, to art-collectors, from all over the world; 
selected six fine speciments as theme of text and 
for illustrations. 

Plate 23 in this collection shows a woman 
whose costume in outline might have been taken 
from Bakst or even Vogue. But put it the other 
way round : the Vogue artist to-day we use the 
word as a generic term finds inspiration 
through museums and such works as the above. 
This is particularly true as our little hand-book 
goes into print, for the reason that the great 
war between the Central Powers and the Entente 
has to a certain extent checked the invention and 
material output of Europe, and driven designers 
of and dealers in costumes for women, to China 
and Japan. 

Our great-great-grandmothers here in Amer- 
ica wore Paris fashions shown on the imported 
fashion dolls and made up in brocades from 
China, by the Colonial mantua makers. So we 
are but repeating history. 

To-day, war, which means horror, ugliness, 
loss of ideals and illusions, holds most of the 
world in its grasp, and we find creative artists 



COSTUMING OF WOMAN 35 

apostles of the Beautiful, seeking the Orient be- 
cause it is remote from the great world struggle. 
We hear that Edmund Dulac (who has shown 
in a superlative manner, woman decorative, 
when illustrating the Arabian Nights and other 
well-known books), is planning a flight to the 
Orient. He says that he longs to bury himself 
far from carnage, in the hope of wooing back 
his muse. 

If this subject of background, line and colour, 
in relation to costuming of woman, interests 
you, there are many ways of getting valuable 
points. One of them, as we have said, is to walk 
through galleries looking at pictures only as 
decorations ; that is, colour and line against the 
painter's background. 

Fashions change, in dress, arrangement of 
hair, jewels, etc., but this does not affect values. 
It is la ligne, the grand gesture, or line fraught 
with meaning and balance and harmony of 
colour. 

The reader knows the colour scheme of her 
own rooms and the character of gowns she is 
planning, and for suggestions as to interesting 
colour against colour, she can have no higher 



36 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

authority than the experience of recognised 
painters. Some develop rapidly in this study of 
values. 

If your rooms are so-called period rooms, 
you need not of necessity dress in period cos- 
tumes, but what is extremely important, if you 
would not spoil your period room, nor fail to 
be a decorative contribution when in it, is that 
you make a point of having the colour and tex- 
ture of your house gowns in the same key as the 
hangings and upholstery of your room. White 
is safe in any room, black is at times too strong. 
It depends in part upon the size of your room. 
If it is small and in soft tones, delicate harmon- 
ising shades will not obtrude themselves as 
black can and so reduce the effect of space. 
This is the case not only with black, but with 
emerald green, decided shades of red, royal 
blue, and purple or deep yellows. If artistic 
creations, these colours are all decorative in a 
room done in light tones, provided the room is 
large. 

A Louis XVI salon is far more beautiful if 
the costumes are kept in Louis XVI colouring 
and all details, such as lace, jewelry, fans, etc,, 



PLATE V 



37 



Example of the pointed head-dress, carefully concealed 
hair (in certain countries at certain periods of history, a 
sign of modesty), round necklace and very long close 
sleeves characteristic of fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. 

Observe angle at which head-dress is worn. 




Metropolitan Museum of Art 

W oman in Gothic Art 
Portrait showing pointed 
head-dress 



COSTUMING OF WOMAN 41 

kept strictly within the picture ; fine in design, 
delicate in colouring, workmanship and quality 
of material. Beyond these points one may fol- 
low the outline demanded by the fashion of the 
moment, if desired. But remember that a beau- 
tiful, interesting room, furnished with works of 
art, demands a beautiful, interesting costume, if 
the woman in question would sustain the im- 
pression made by her rooms, to the arranging 
of which she has given thought, time and vital- 
ity, to say nothing of financial outlay; she 
must take her own decorative appearance 
seriously. 

The writer has passed wonderful hours exam- 
ining rare illuminated manuscripts of the Mid- 
dle Ages (twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth and 
fifteen centuries), missals, " Hours " of the Vir- 
gin, and Breviaries, for the sole purpose of 
studying woman's costumes, their colour, line 
and details, as depicted by the old artists. Gothic 
costumes in Gothic interiors, and Early Renais- 
sance costumes in Renaissance interiors. 

The art of moderns in various media, has 
taken from these creations of mediaeval genius, 
more than is generally realized. We were look- 



42 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

ing at a rare illuminated Gothic manuscript re- 
cently, from which William Morris drew in- 
spirations and ideas for the books he made. It 
is a monumental achievement of the twelfth 
century, a mass book, written and illuminated 
in Flanders ; at one time in the possession of a 
Cistercian monastery, but now one of the treas- 
ures in the noted private collection made by the 
late J. Pierpont Morgan. The pages are of 
vellum and the illuminations show the figures 
of saints in jewel-like colours on backgrounds of 
pure gold leaf. The binding of this book, sides 
of wood, held together by heavy white vellum, 
hand-tooled with clasps of thin silver, is the 
work of Morris himself and very characteristic 
of his manner. He patterned his hand-made 
books after these great models, just as he worked 
years to duplicate some wonderful old piece of 
furniture, realising so well the magic which 
lies in consecrated labour, that labour which 
takes no account of time, nor pay, but is led on 
by the vision of perfection possessing the artist's 
soul. 

We know women who have copied the line, 
colour and material of costumes depicted in 



COSTUMING OF WOMAN 43 

Gothic illuminations that they might be in har- 
mony with their own Gothic rooms. One 
woman familiar with this art, has planned a 
frankly modern room, covering her walls with 
gold Japanese fibre, gilding her wood-work 
and doors, using the brilliant blues, purples and 
greens of the old illuminations in her hangings, 
upholstery and cushions, and as a striking con- 
tribution to the decorative scheme, costumes 
herself in white, some soft, clinging material 
such as crepe de chine, liberty satin or chiffon 
velvet, which take the mediaeval lines, in long 
folds. She wears a silver girdle formed of the 
hand-made clasps of old religious books, and 
her rings, neck chains and earrings are all of 
hand-wrought silver, with precious stones cut 
in the ancient way and irregularly set. This 
woman got her idea of the effectiveness of 
white against gold from an ancient missal in 
a famous private collection, which shows the 
saints all clad in marvellous white against gold 
leaf. 

Whistler's house at 2 Cheyne Road, London, 
had a room the dado and doors of which were 
done in gold, on which he and two of his pupils 



44 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

painted the scattered petals of white and pink 
chrysanthemums. Possibly a Persian or Jap- 
anese effect, as Whistler leaned that way, but 
one sees the same idea in an illumination of the 
early sixteenth century; "Hours" of the Vir- 
gin and Breviary, made for Eleanor of Portu- 
gal, Queen of John II. The decorations here 
are in the style of the Renaissance, not Gothic, 
and some think Memling had a hand in the 
work. The borders of the illumination, char- 
acteristic of the Bruges School, are gold leaf on 
which is painted, in the most realistic way, an 
immense variety of single flowers, small roses, 
pansies, violets, daisies, etc., and among them 
butterflies and insects. This border surrounds 
the pictures which illustrate the text. Always 
the marvellous colour, the astounding skill in 
laying it on to the vellum pages, an unforget- 
able lesson in the possibility of colour applied 
effectively to costumes, when background is kept 
in mind. This Breviary was bound in green 
velvet and clasped with hand-wrought silver, 
for Cardinal Rodrigue de Castro (1520-1600) 
of Spain. It is now in the private collection 
of Mr. Morgan. The cover alone gives one 



COSTUMING OF WOMAN 45 

great emotion, genuine ancient velvet of the six- 
teenth century, to imitate which taxes the in- 
genuity of the most skilful of modern manufac- 
turers. 



CHAPTER III 

HOW TO DRESS YOUR TYPE 
A Few Points Applying to All Costumes 

IEDLESS to say, when considering 




woman's costumes, for ordinary use, 
in their relation to background, un- 
less some chameleon-like material be invented 
to take on the colour of any background, one 
must be content with the consideration of one's 
own rooms, porches, garden, opera-box or 
automobile, etc. For a gown to be worn when 
away from home, when lunching, at recep- 
tions or dinners, the first consideration must 
be becomingness, a careful selection of line 
and colour that bring out the individuality of 
the wearer. When away from one's own set- 
ting, personality is one of the chief assets of 
every woman. Remember, Individuality is 
nature's gift to each human being. Some are 

more markedly different than others, but we 

4 6 



PLATE VI 



47 



Fifteenth-century costume. " Virgin and Child " in 
painted terra-cotta. 

It is by Andrea Verrocchio, and now in Metropolitan 
Museum. We have here an illustration of the costume, 
so often shown on the person of the Virgin in the art of 
the Middle Ages. 




Metropolitan Museum of Art 

Woman in Art of the 
Renaissance Sculpture-Relief 
in Terra-Cotta; The Fir gin 






HOW TO DRESS YOUR TYPE 51 

have all seen a so-called colourless woman 
transformed into surprising loveliness when 
dressed by an artist's instinct. A delicate type 
of blond, with fair hair, quiet eyes and faint 
shell-pink complexion, can be snuffed out by 
too strong colours. Remember that your 
ethereal blond is invariably at her best in 
white, black (never white and black in com- 
bination unless black with soft white collars 
and frills) and delicate pastel shades. 

The richly-toned brunette comes into her 
own in reds, yellows and low-tones of strong 
blue. 

Colourless jewels should adorn your per- 
fect blond, colourful gems your glowing bru- 
nette. 

What of those betwixt and between? In 
such cases let complexion and colour of eyes 
act as guide in the choice of colours. 

One is familiar with various trite rules 
such as match the eyes, carry out the general 
scheme of your colouring, by which is meant, 
if you are a yellow blond, go in for yellows, 
if your hair is ash-brown, your eyes but a 
shade deeper, and your skin inclined to be 



52 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

lifeless in tone, wear beaver browns and con- 
tent yourself with making a record in har- 
mony, with no contrasting note. 

Just here let us say that the woman in ques- 
tion must at the very outset decide whethef 
she would look pretty or chic, sacrificing the 
one for the other, or if she insists upon both, 
carefully arrange a compromise. As for ex- 
ample, combine a semi-picture hat with a semi- 
tailored dress. 

/ The strictly chic woman of our day goes in 
'for appropriateness; the lines of the latest 
fashion, but adapted to bring out her own best 
points, while concealing her bad ones, and an 
insistance upon a colour and a shade of col- 
our, sufficiently definite to impress the be- 
holder at a glance. This type of woman as a 
rule keeps to a few colours, possibly one or 
two and their varieties, and prefers gowns of 
one material rather than combinations of ma- 
terials. Though she possess both style and 
beauty, she elects to emphasise style, j 

In the case of the other woman, who would 
star her face at the expense of her tout en- 
semble, colour is her first consideration, mul- 



HOW TO DRESS YOUR TYPE 53 

tiplication of detail and intelligent expressing 
of herself in her mise-en-scene. Seduisant, 
instead of chic is the word for this woman. 

Your black-haired woman with white skin 
and dark, brilliant eyes, is the one who can 
best wear emerald green and other strong 
colours. The now fashionable mustard, sage 
green, and bright magentas are also the affaire 
of this woman with clear skin, brilliant colour 
and sparkling eyes. 

These same colours, if subdued, are lovely 
on the middle-aged woman with black hair, 
quiet eyes and pale complexion, but if her 
hair is grey or white, mustard and sage green 
are not for her, and the magenta must be the 
deep purplish sort, which combines with her 
violets and mauves, or delicate pinks and 
faded blues. She will be at her best in shades 
of grey which tone with her hair. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CLOTHES 




AS the reader ever observed the effect 
of clothes upon manners? It is amaz- 
ing, and only proves how patheti- 
cally childlike human nature is. 

Put any woman into a Marie Antoinette cos- 
tume and see how, during an evening she will 
gradually take on the mannerisms of that time. 
This very point was brought up recently in con- 
versation with an artist, who in referring to one 
of the most successful costume balls ever given 
in New York the crinoline ball at the old Astor 
House-spoke of howourunromanticWall Street 
men fell to the spell of stocks, ruffled shirts and 
knickerbockers, and as the evening advanced, 
were quite themselves in the minuette and polka, 
bowing low in solemn rigidity, leading their 
lady with high arched arm, grasping her 
pinched-in waist, and swinging her beruffled, 
crinolined form in quite the 1860 manner, 

54 



THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CLOTHES 55 

Some women, even girls of tender years, have 
a natural instinct for costuming themselves, so 
that they contribute in a decorative way to any 
setting which chance makes theirs. Watch chil- 
dren " dressing up " and see how among a large 
number, perhaps not more than one of them will 
have this gift for effects. It will be she who 
knows at a glance which of the available .odds 
and ends she wants for herself, and with a sure, 
swift hand will wrap a bright shawl about her, 
tie a flaming bit of silk about her dark head, and 
with an assumed manner, born of her garb, cast 
a magic spell over the small band which she 
leads on, to that which, without her intense con- 
viction and their susceptibility to her mental 
attitude toward the masquerade, could never be 
done. 

This illustrates the point we would make as to 
the effect of clothes upon psychology. The ac- 
tor's costume affects the real actor's psychology 
as much or more than it does that of his audi- 
ence. He is the man he has made himself ap- 
pear. The writer had the experience of seeing 
a well-known opera singer, when a victim to a 
bad case of the grippe, leave her hotel voiceless, 



5 6 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

facing a matinee of Juliet. Arrived in her dress- 
ing-room at the opera, she proceeded to change 
into the costume for the first act. Under the 
spell of her role, that prima donna seemed liter- 
ally to shed her malady with her ordinary gar- 
ments, and to take on health and vitality 
with her Juliet robes. Even in the Waltz 
song her voice did not betray her, and ap- 
parently no critic detected that she was in- 
disposed. 

In speaking of periods in furniture, we said 
that their story was one of waves of types which 
repeated themselves, reflecting the ages in which 
they prevailed. With clothes we find it is the 
same thing: the scarlet, and silver and gold of 
the early Jacobeans, is followed by the drabs 
and greys of the Commonwealth ; the marvellous 
colour of the Church, where Beauty was en- 
throned, was stamped out by the iron will of 
Cromwell who, in setting up his standard of 
revolt, wrapped soul and body of the new Faith 
in penal shades. 

New England was conceived in this spirit and 
as mind had affected the colour of the Puritans' 
clothes, so in turn the drab clothes, prescribed 



PLATE VII 



57 



Fifteenth-century costumes on the Holy Women at the 
Tomb of our Lord. 

The sculpture relief is enamelled terra-cotta in white, 
blue, green, yellow and manganese colours. It bears the 
date 1487. 

Note character of head-dresses, arrangement of hair, 
capes and gowns which are Early Renaissance. (Metro- 
politan Museum.) 



THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CLOTHES 61 

by their new creed, helped to remove colour 
from the New England mind and nature. 

But observe how, as prosperity follows priva- 
tion, the mind expands, reaching out for what 
the changed psychology demands. It is the old 
story of Rome grown rich and gay in mood and 
dress. There were of course, villains in Puritan 
drab and Grecian white, but the child in every 
man takes symbol for fact. So it is that to-day, 
some shudder with the belief that Beauty, re- 
enthroned in all her gorgeous modern hues, 
means near disaster. The progressives claim 
that into the world has come a new hope; that 
beneath our lovely clothes of rainbow tints, and 
within our homes where Beauty surely reigns, 
a new psychology is born to radiate colour from 
within. 

Our advice to the woman not born with clothes 
sense, is: employ experts until you acquire a 
mental picture of your possibilities and limita- 
tions, or buy as you can afford to, good French 
models, under expert supervision. You may 
never turn out to be an artist in the treatment of 
your appearance, instinctively knowing how a 
prevailing fashion in line and colour may be 



62 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

adapted to you, but you can be taught what your 
own type is, what your strong points are, your 
weak ones, and how, while accentuating the for- 
mer, you may obliterate the latter. 

There are two types of women familiar to all 
of us: the one gains in vital charm and abandon 
of spirit from the consciousness that she is fault- 
lessly gowned; the other succumbs to self-con- 
sciousness and is pitifully unable to extricate her 
mood from her material trappings. 

For the darling of the gods who walks through 
life on clouds, head up and spirit-free, who 
knows she is perfectly turned out and lets it go 
at that, we have only grateful applause. She 
it is who carries every occasion she graces in- 
doors, out-of-doors, at home, abroad. May her 
kind be multiplied! 

But to the other type, she who droops under 
her silks and gold tissue, whose pearls are chains 
indeed, we would throw out a lifeline. Sub- 
merged by clothes, the more she struggles to rise 
above them the more her spirit flags. The case is 
this: the woman's mind is wrong; her clothes 
are right lovely as ever seen; her jewels gems; 
her house and car and dog the best. It is her 



THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CLOTHES 63 

mind that is wrong; it is turned in, instead of 
out. 

Now this intense and soul-, as well as line- 
destroying self-consciousness, may be prenatal, 
and it may result from the Puritan attitude to- 
ward beauty; that old New England point of 
view that the beautiful and the vicious are akin. 
Every young child needs to have cultivated a 
certain degree of self-reliance. To know that 
one's appearance is pleasing, to put it mildly, 
is of inestimable value when it comes to meeting 
the world. Every child, if normal, has its good 
points hair, eyes, teeth, complexion or figure; 
and we all know that many a stage beauty has 
been built up on even two of these attributes. 
Star your good points, clothes will help you. 
Be a winner in your own setting, but avoid the 
fatal error of damning your clothes by the spirit 
within you. 

The writer has in mind a woman of distin- 
guished appearance, beauty, great wealth, few 
cares, wonderful clothes and jewels, palatial 
homes; and yet an envious unrest poisons her 
soul. She would look differently, be different 
and has not the wisdom to shake off her fetters. 



64 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

Her perfect dressing helps this woman; you 
would not be conscious of her otherwise, but 
with her natural equipment, granted that she 
concentrated upon flashing her spirit instead of 
her wealth, she would be a leader in a fine sense. 
The Beauty Doctor can do much, but show us 
one who can put a gleam in the eye, tighten the 
grasp, teach one that ineffable grace which en- 
ables woman, young or old, to wear her cloths 
as if an integral part of herself. This quality 
belongs to the woman who knows, though she 
may not have thought it out, that clothes can 
make one a success, but not a success in the en- 
during sense. Dress is a tyrant if you take it as 
your god, but on the other hand dress becomes 
a magician's wand when dominated by a clever 
brain. Gown yourself as beautifully as you can 
afford, but with judgment. What we do, and 
how we do it, is often seriously and strangely 
affected by what we have on. The writer has 
in mind a literary woman who says she can never 
talk business except in a linen collar! Mark 
Twain, in his last days, insisted that he wrote 
more easily in his night-shirt. Richard Wagner 
deliberately put on certain rich materials in col- 



THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CLOTHES 65 

ours and hung his room with them when com- 
posing the music of The Ring. Chopin says 
in a letter to a friend: "After working at the 
piano all day, I find that nothing rests me so 
much as to get into the evening dress which I 
wear on formal occasions." In monarchies based 
on militarism, royal princes, as soon as they can 
walk, are put into military uniforms. It culti- 
vates in them the desired military spirit. We 
all associate certain duties with certain costumes, 
and the extraordinary response to colour is fa- 
miliar to all. We talk about feeling colour and 
say that we can or cannot live in green, blue, 
violet or red. It is well to follow this colour in- 
stinct in clothes as well as in furnishing. You 
will find you are at your best in the colours and 
lines most sympathetic to you. 

We know a woman who is an unusual beauty 
and has distinction, in fact is noted for her chic 
when in white, black or the combination. She 
once ventured a cerise hat and instantly dropped 
to the ranks of the commonplace. Fine eyes, 
hair, skin, teeth, colour and carriage were still 
hers, but her effectiveness was lessened as that 
of a pearl might be if set in a coral circle. 




CHAPTER V 

ESTABLISH HABITS OF CARRIAGE WHICH CREATE 
GOOD LINE 

IMAN'S line is the result of her (Tos- 
tume, in part only. Far more is 
woman's costume affected by her line. 
By this we mean the line she habitually falls into, 
the pose of torso, the line of her legs in action, 
and when seated, her arms and hands in repose 
and gesture, the poise of her head. It is woman's 
line resulting from her habit of mind and the 
control which her mind has over her body, a 
thing quite apart from the way God made her, 
and the expression her body would have had if 
left to itself, ungoverned by a mind stocked with 
observations, conventions, experience and atti- 
tudes. We call this the physical expression of 
woman's personality; this personality moulds her 
bodily lines and if properly directed determines 
the character of the clothes she wears ; determines 
also whether she be a decorative object which 

66 



PLATE VIII 



Queen Elizabeth in the absurdly elaborate costume of 
the late Renaissance. Then crinoline, gaudy materials, 
and ornamentations without meaning reached their high- 
water mark in the costuming of women. 




Metropolitan Museum of Art 



Tudor England Portrait 
of Queen Eliz abeth 



ESTABLISH HABITS OF CARRIAGE 71 

says something in line and colour, or an undeco- 
rative object which says nothing. 

Woman to be decorative, should train the car- 
riage of her body from childhood, by wearing 
appropriate clothing for various daily roles. 
There is more in this than at first appears. The 
criticism by foreigners that Americans, both men 
and women, never appear really at home in eve- 
ning clothes, that they look as if they felt dressed, 
is true of the average man and woman of our 
country and results from the lax standards of a 
new and composite social structure. America 
as a whole, lacks traditions and still embodies the 
pioneer spirit, equally characteristic of Australia 
and other offshoots from the old world. 

The little American girl who is brought up 
from babyhood to change for the evening, even 
though she have a nursery tea, and be allowed 
only a brief good-night visit to the grown-ups, 
is still the exception rather than the rule. A wee 
English maiden we know, created a good deal 
of amused comment because, on several occa- 
sions, when passing rainy afternoons indoors, 
with some affluent little New York friends, 
whose luxurious nurseries and marvellous me- 



72 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

chanical toys were a delight, always insisted 
upon returning home, a block distant, to 
change into white before partaking of milk 
toast and jam, at the nursery table, the Ameri- 
can children keeping on their pink and blue 
linens of the afternoon. The fact of white or 
pink is unimportant, but our point is made 
when we have said that the mother of the 
American children constantly remarked on the 
unconscious grace of the English tot, whether 
in her white muslin and pink ribbons, her rid- 
ing clothes, or accordion-plaited dancing frock. 
The English woman-child was acquiring deco- 
rative lines by wearing the correct costume for 
each occasion, as naturally as a bird wears its 
feathers. This is one way of obviating self- 
consciousness. 

The Eton boy masters his stick and topper 
in the same way, when young, and so more easily 
passes through the formless stage conspicuous in 
the American youth. 

Call it technique, or call it efficiency, the ob- 
ject of our modern life is to excel, to be the best 
of our kind, and appropriate dress is a means to 
that end, for it helps to liberate the spirit. We 



ESTABLISH HABITS OF CARRIAGE 73 

of to-day make no claim to consistency or logic. 
Some of us wear too high heels, even with 
strictly tailored suits, which demand in the name 
of consistency a sensible shoe. Also our sensible 
skirt may be far too narrow for comfort. But 
on the whole, women have made great strides in 
the matter of costuming with a view to appro- 
priateness and efficiency. 



CHAPTER VI 

COLOUR IN WOMAN'S COSTUME 




OLOUR is the hall-mark of our day, 
and woman dccoratively costumed, and 
as decorator, will be largely responsi- 



ble for recording this age as one of distinct im- 
portance a transition period in decoration. 

Colour is the most marked expression of the 
spirit of the times; colour in woman's clothes; 
colour in house furnishing; colour on the stage 
and in its setting; colour in prose and verse. 

Speaking of colour in verse, Rudyard Kip- 
ling says (we quote from an editorial in the 
Philadelphia Public Ledger, Jan. 7, 1917) : 

" Several songs written by Tommy and the 
Poilu at the front, celebrate the glories of camp 
life in such vivid colors they could not be re- 
produced in cold, black, leaden type." 

It is no mere chance, this use of vivid colour. 
Man's psychology to-day craves it. A revolution 
is on. Did not the strong red, green, and blue 

74 



COLOUR IN WOMAN'S COSTUME 75 

of Napoleon's time follow the delicate sky-blues, 
rose and sunset-yellows of the Louis? 

Colour pulses on every side, strong, clean, clear 
rainbow colour, as if our magicians of brush and 
dye-pot held a prism to the sun-beam; violet, 
orange and green, magentas and strong blue 
against backgrounds of black and cold grey. 

We had come to think of colour as vice and 
had grown so conservative in its use, that it had 
all but disappeared from our persons, our homes, 
our gardens, our music and our literature. More 
than this, from our point of view! The reaction 
was bound to come by reason of eternal prece- 
r dent. 

Half-tones, antique effects, and general mo- 
notony, the material expression of complacent 
minds, has been cast aside, and the blase man of 
ten years ago is as keen as any child with his first 
linen picture book, and for the same reason. 

Colour, as we see it to-day, came out of the 
East via Persia. Bakst in Russia translated it 
into terms of art, and made the Ballet Russe an 
amazing, enthralling vision! Then Poiret, 
wizard among French couturieres, assisted by 
Bakst, adapted this Oriental colour and line to 



76 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

woman's uses in private life. This supple- 
mented the good work of le Gazette du Bon Ton 
of Paris, that effete fashion sheet, devoted to 
the decoration of woman, whose staff included 
many of the most gifted French artists, masters 
of brush and pen. Always irregular, no issue 
of the Bon Ton has appeared of late. It is held 
up by the war. The men who made it so fasci- 
nating a guide to woman " who would be deco- 
rative," are at the front, painting scenery for 
the battlefield literally that: making mock 
trees and rocks, grass and hedges and earth, to 
mislead the fire of the enemy, and doubtless the 
kindred Munich art has been diverted into simi- 
lar channels. 

This Oriental colour has made its way across 
Europe like some gorgeous bird of the tropics, 
and since the war has checked the output of 
Europe's factories, another channel has supplied 
the same wonderful colours in silks and gauze. 
They come to us by way of the Pacific, from 
China and from Japan. There is no escaping 
the colour spell. Writers from the front tell 
us that it is as if the gods made sport with fate's 
anvil, for even the blackened dome of the war 



PLATE IX 



77 



A Velasquez portrait of the Renaissance, when the 
human form counted only as a rack on which was heaped 
crinoline and stiff brocades and chains and gems and wigs 
and every manner of elaborate adornment, making moun- 
tains of poor tottering human forms, all but lost beneath. 




Vienna Hofmuseum 

Spain-Velasquez Portrait 



COLOUR IN WOMAN'S COSTUME 81 

zone is lurid by night, with sparks of purple, 
red, green, yellow and blue; the flare of the 
world-destroying projectiles. 

The present costuming of woman, when she 
treats herself as decoration, owes much to the 
prophets of the " new " theatre and their colour 
scale. These men have demonstrated, in an un- 
forgettable manner, the value of colour; the 
dependence of every decorative object upon 
background; shown how fraught with mean- 
ing can be an uncompromising outline, and 
the suggestiveness of really significant de- 
tail. 

Bakst, Rheinhardt and Granville Barker have 
taught us the new colour vocabulary. Gordon 
Craig was perhaps the first to show us the stage 
made suggestive by insisting on the importance 
of clever lighting to produce atmosphere and 
elimination of unessential objects, the argu- 
ment of his school being that the too detailed 
reproducing of Nature (on the stage) acts as a 
check to the imagination, whereas by the judi- 
cious selection of harmonics, the imagination is 
stimulated to its utmost creative capacity. One 
detects this creed to-day in certain styles of home 



82 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

decoration (woman's background), as well as 
in woman's costumes. 

Portable Backgrounds 

The staging of a recent play showed more 
plainly than any words, the importance of back- 
ground. In one of the scenes, beautiful, artistic 
gowns in delicate shades were set off by a room 
with wonderful green walls and woodwork 
(mignonette). Now, so long as the characters 
moved about the room, they were thrown into 
relief most charmingly, but the moment the 
women seated themselves on a very light col- 
oured and characterless chintz sofa, they lost 
their decorative value. It was lacking in har- 
mony and contrast. The two black sofa cush- 
ions intended possibly to serve as background, 
being small, instantly disappeared behind the 
seated women. 

A sofa of contrasting colour, or black, would 
have looked better in the room, and served as 
immediate background for gowns. It might 
have been covered in dark chintz, a silk damask 
in one or several tones, or a solid colour, since 
the gowns were of delicate indefinite shades. 



COLOUR IN WOMAN'S COSTUME 83 

One of the sofas did have a dark Chinese coat 
thrown over the back, with the intent, no doubt, 
of serving as effective background, but the point 
seemed to escape the daintily gowned young 
woman who poured tea, for she failed to take 
advantage of it, occupying the opposite end of 
the sofa. A modern addition to a woman's toilet 
is a large square of chiffon, edged with narrow 
metal or crystal fringe, or a gold or silver flexi- 
ble cord. This scarf is always in beguiling con- 
trast to the costume, and when not being worn, * 
is thrown over the chair or end of sofa against 
which our lady reclines. To a certain degree, 
this portable background makes a woman deco- 
rative when the wrong colour on a chair might 
convert her lovely gown into an eyesore. 

One woman we know, who has an Empire 
room, admires the lines of her sofa as furniture, 
but feels it ineffective unless one reclines a la 
Mme. Recamier. To obviate this difficulty, she 
has had made a square (one and a half yards), 
of lovely soft mauve silk damask, lined with 
satin charmeuse of the same shade, and weighted 
by long, heavy tassels, at the corners; this she 
throws over the Empire roll and a part of the 



84 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

seat, which are done in antique green velvet. 
Now the woman seated for conversation with 
arm and elbow resting on the head, looks at 
ease, a part of the composition. The square 
of soft, lined silk serves at other times as a 
couvrepied. 




CHAPTER VII 

FOOTWEAR 

TWEAR points the costume ; every 
child should be taught this. 

Give most careful attention to your 
extremities, shoes, gloves and hats. The gen- 
ius of fashion's greatest artist counts for naught 
if his costume may not include hat, gloves, shoes, 
and we would add, umbrella, parasol, stick, 
fan, jewels; in fact every detail. 

If you have the good sense to go to one who 
deservedly ranks as an authority on line and 
colour in woman's costume, have also the wis- 
dom to get from this man or woman not merely 
your raiment; go farther, and grasp as far as 
you are able the principles underlying his or 
her creations. Common sense tells one that 
there must be principles which underlie the 
planning of every hat and gown, serious rea- 
sons why certain lines, colours and details are 
employed. 

85 



86 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

Principles have evolved and clarified them- 
selves in the long journey which textiles, col- 
ours and lines have made, travelling down 
through the ages. A great cathedral, a beauti- 
ful house, a perfect piece of furniture, a portrait 
by a master, sculpture which is an object of art, 
a costume proclaimed as a success; all are the 
results of knowing and following laws. The 
clever woman of slender means may rival her 
friends with munition incomes, if only she will 
go to an expert with open mind, and through 
the thoughtful purchase of a completed cos- 
tume, hat, gown and all accessories, learn an 
artist-modiste's point of view. Then, and we 
would put it in italics ; take seriously, with con- 
viction, all his or her instructions as to the way 
to wear your clothes. Anyone can buy costumes, 
many can, perhaps own far more than you, but 
it is quite possible that no one can more surely 
be a picture a delightfully decorative object 
on every occasion, than you, who knows instinct- 
ively (or has been taught), beyond all shadow 
of doubt, how to put on and then how to sit or 
walk in, your one tailored suit, your one tea 
gown, your one sport suit or ball gown. 



PLATE X 



An ideal example of the typical costume of fashionable 
England in the eighteenth century, when picturesqueness, 
not appropriateness, was the demand of the times. 

This picture is known as THE MORNING PROMENADE : 
SQUIRE HALLET WITH His LADY. Painted by Thomas 
Gainsborough and now in the private collection of Lord 
Rothschild, London. 




Courtesy of Braun d Co., New York, London & Paris 

Eighteenth Century Eng- 
land Portrait by Thomas 
Gainsborough 



FOOTWEAR 91 

If you want to wear light spats, stop and think 
whether your heavy ankles will not look more 
trim in boots with light, glove-fitting tops and 
black vamps. 

We have seen women with such slender ankles 
and shapely insteps, that white slippers or low 
shoes might be worn with black or coloured 
stockings. But it is playing safe to have your 
stockings match your slippers or shoes. 

Buckles and bows on slippers and pumps can 
destroy the line of a shoe and hence a foot, or 
continue and accentuate line. There are fash- 
ions in buckles and bows, but unless you bend 
the fashion until it allows nature's work to ap- 
pear at its best, it will destroy artistic intention. 

Some people buy footwear as they buy fruit; 
they like what they see, so they get it! You 
know so many women, young and old, who do 
this, that our advice is, try to recall those who 
do not. Yes, now you see what we aim at; the 
women you have in mind always continue the 
line of their gowns with their feet. You can 
see with your mind's eye how the slender black 
satin slippers, one of which always protrudes 
from the black evening gown, carry to its elo- 



92 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

quent finish the line from her head through 
torso, hip to knee, and knee down through in- 
step to toe, a line so frequently obstructed by 
senseless trimmings, lineless hats, and footwear 
wrong in colour and line. 

If your gown is white and your object to 
create line, can you see how you defeat your 
purpose by wearing anything but white slippers 
or shoes? 

At a recent dinner one of the young women 
who had sufficient good taste to wear an exquisite 
gown of silk and silver gauze, showing a pale 
magenta ground with silver roses, continued the 
colour scheme of her designer with silver slip- 
pers, tapering as Cinderella's, but spoiled the 
picture she might have made by breaking her 
line and enlarging her ankles and instep with 
magenta stockings. This could have been 
avoided by the use of silver stockings or ma- 
genta slippers with magenta stockings. 

When brocades, in several colours, are chosen 
for slippers, keep in mind that the ground of 
the silk must absolutely match your costume. 
It is not enough that in the figure of brocade is 
the colour of the dress. Because so distorting 






FOOTWEAR 93 

to line, figured silks and coloured brocades for 
footwear are seldom a wise choice. 

To those who cannot own a match in slippers 
for each gown, we would suggest that the num- 
ber of colours used in gowns be but few, getting 
the desired variety by varying shades of a col- 
our, and then using slippers a trifle higher in 
shade than the general colour selected. 




CHAPTER VIII 

JEWELRY AS DECORATION 

jHE use of jewelry as colour and line 
has really nothing to do with its in- 
trinsic worth. Just as when furnish- 
ing a house, one selects pictures for certain 
rooms with regard to their decorative quality 
alone, their colour with relation to the colour 
scheme of the room (The Art of Interior Deco- 
ration), so jewels should be selected either to 
complete costumes, or to give the keynote upon 
which a costume is built. A woman whose ar- 
tist-dressmaker turns out for her a marvellous 
green gown, would far better carry out the col- 
our scheme with some semi-precious stones than 
insist upon wearing her priceless rubies. 

On the other hand, granted one owns rubies 
and they are becoming, then plan a gown en- 
tirely with reference to them, noting not merely 
the shade of their colour, but the character of 
their setting, should it be distinctive. 

94 



JEWELRY AS DECORATION 95 

One of the most picturesque public events in 
Vienna each year, is a bazaar held for the bene- 
fit of a charity under court patronage. To draw 
the crowds and induce them to give up their 
money, it has always been the custom to adver- 
tise widely that the ladies of the Austro-Hun- 
garian court would conduct the sale of articles 
at the various booths and that the said noble 
ladies would wear their family jewels. Also, 
that there be no danger of confusing the various 
celebrities, the names of those selling at each 
booth would be posted in plain lettering over 
it. Programmes are sold, which also inform 
patrons as to the name and station of each lovely 
vendor of flowers and sweets. It is an extraor- 
dinary occasion, and well worth witnessing 
once. The jewels worn are as amazing and fas- 
cinating as is Hungarian music. There is a bar- 
baric sumptuousness about them, an elemental 
quality conveyed by the Oriental combining of 
stones, which to the western European and 
American, seem incongruous. Enormous pearls, 
regular and irregular, are set together in com- 
pany with huge sapphires, emeralds, rubies and 
'diamonds, cut in the antique way. Looking 



96 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

about, one feels in an Arabian Nights' dream. 
On the particular occasion to which we refer, 
the most beautiful woman present was the Prin- 
cess Metternich, and in her jewels decorative 
as any woman ever seen. 

The women of the Austrian court, especially 
the Hungarian women, are notably beautiful 
and fascinating as well. It is the Magyar elan, 
that abandon which prompts a woman to toss 
her jewelled bangle to a Gypsy leader of the 
orchestra, when his violin moans and flashes 
out a czardas. 

But the rule remains the same whether your 
jewels are inherited and rich in souvenirs of 
European courts, or the last work of Cartier. 
They must be a harmonious part of a carefully 
designed costume, or used with discretion against 
a background of costumes planned with refer- 
ence to making them count as the sole decora- 
tion. 

We recall a Spanish beauty, representative of 
several noble strains, who was an artist in the 
combining of her gems as to their class and col- 
our. Hers was that rare gift, infallible good 
taste, which led her to contribute an individual 



PLATE XI 



97 



MARIE ANTOINETTE IN A PORTRAIT BY MADAME 
VIGEE LE BRUN, one of the greatest portrait painters of 
the eighteenth century. Here we see the lovely queen 
of Louis XVI in the type of costume she made her own 
which is still referred to as the Marie Antoinette style. 

This portrait is in the Musee National, Versailles. 




Courtesy of Braun d Co., New York, London d Paris 

Bourbon France 
Marie Antoinette Portrait 
by Madame Vlgee Le Brun 



JEWELRY AS DECORATION 101 

quality to her temporary possessions. She 
counted in Madrid, not only as a beautiful and 
brilliant woman, but as a decorative contribu- 
tion to any room she entered. It was not un- 
common to meet her at dinner, wearing some 
very chic blue gown, often of velvet, the sole 
decoration of which would be her sapphires, 
stones rare in themselves, famous for their col- 
our, their matching, the manner in which they 
were cut, and their setting, the unique hand- 
work of some goldsmith of genius. It is impos- 
sible to forget her distinguished appearance as 
she entered the room in a princess gown, made 
to show the outline of her faultless figure, and 
cut very low. Against the background of her 
white neck and the simple lines of her blue 
gown, the sapphires became decoration with 
artistic restraint, though they gleamed from a 
coronet in her soft, black hair, encircled her 
neck many times and fell below her waist line, 
clasped her arms and were suspended from her 
ears in long, graceful pendants. They adorned 
her fingers and they composed a girdle of in- 
describable beauty. 
Later, the same night, one would meet this 



102 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

woman at a ball, and discover that she had made 
a complete change of costume and was as ele- 
gant as before, but now all in red, a gown of 
deep red velvet or some wonderful soft satin, 
unadorned save by her rubies, as numerous and 
as unique as her sapphires had been. 

There were other women in Madrid wearing 
wonderful jewels, one of them when going to 
court functions always had a carriage follow 
hers, in which were detectives. How strange 
this seems to Americans! But this particular 
woman in no way illustrated the point we would 
make, for she had lost control of her own lines, 
had no knowledge of line and colour in costume, 
and when wearing her jewels, looked very much 
like the show case of a jeweller's shop. 

Jewelry must be worn to make lines, continue 
or terminate lines, accentuate a good physical 
point, or hide a bad one. Remember that a 
jewel like any other object d'art, is an ornament, 
and unless it is ornamental, and an added attrac- 
tion to the wearer, it is valueless in a decorative 
way. For this reason it is well to discover, by 
experimenting, what jewelry is your affair, 
what kind of rings for example, are best suited 



JEWELRY AS DECORATION 103 

to your kind of hands. It may be that small 
rings of delicate workmanship, set with colour- 
less gems, will suit your hands; while your 
friend will look better in the larger, heavier 
sort, set with stones of deeper tones. 

This finding out what one can and cannot 
wear, from shoe leather to a feather in the hat 
(and the inventory includes even width of hem 
on a linen handkerchief), is by no means a 
frivolous, fruitless waste of time; it is a wise 
preparedness, which in the end saves time, 
vitality and money. And if it does not make 
one independent of expert advice (and why 
should one expect to be that, since technique in 
any art should improve with practice?) it cer- 
tainly prepares one to grasp and make use of, 
expert suggestions. 

We have often been told, and by those whose 
business it is to know such things, that the models 
created by great Paris dressmakers are not al- 
ways flashes of genius which come in the night, 
nor the wilful perversion of an existing fashion, 
to force the world of women into discarding, 
and buying everything new. It may look sus- 
piciously like it when we see a mere swing of 



104 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

the pendulum carrying the straight sheath out 
to the ten-yard limit of crinoline skirts. 

As a matter of fact, decorative woman rules 
the fashions, and if decorative woman makes 
up her mind to retain a line or a limit, she does 
it. The open secret is that every great Paris 
house has its chic clientele, which in returning 
from the Riviera Europe's Peacock Alley 
is full of knowledge as to how the last fashions 
(line and colour), succeeded in scoring in the 
role designated. Those points found to be de- 
sirable, becoming, beautiful, comfortable, ap- 
propriate, sedulsant what you will are taken 
as the foundation of the next wardrobe order, 
and with this inside information from women 
who know (know the subtle distinction between 
daring lines and colours, which are good form, 
and those which are not), the men or women 
who give their lives to creating costumes pro- 
ceed to build. These are the fashions for the 
exclusive few this year, for the whole world 
the next year. 

In conclusion, to reduce one of the rules as to 
how jewels should be worn to its simplest form, 
never use imitation pearl trimming if you are 



JEWELRY AS DECORATION 105 

wearing a necklace and other ornaments of real 
pearls. The pearl trimming may be very charm- 
ing in itself, but it lessens the distinction of 
your real pearls. 

In the same way rhinestones may be decidedly 
decorative, but only a woman with an artist's 
instinct can use her diamonds at the same time. 
It can be done, by keeping the rhinestones off 
the bodice. An artist can conceive and work 
out a perfect adjustment of what in the mind 
and hand of the inexperienced is not to be at- 
tempted. Your French dressmaker combines 
real and imitation laces in a fascinating manner. 
That same artist's instinct could trim a gown 
with emerald pastes and hang real gems of the 
same in the ears, using brooch and chain, but 
you would find the green glass garniture swept 
from the proximity of the gems and used in 
some telling manner to score as trimming, not 
to compete as jewels. We have seen the skirt of 
French gowns of black tulle or net, caught up 
with great rhinestone swans, and at the same 
time a diamond chain and diamond earrings 
worn. Nothing could have been more chic. 

We recall another case of the discreet com- 



106 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

bining of gems and paste. It was at the Spring 
races, Longchamps, Paris. The decorative 
woman we have never forgotten, had marvellous 
gold-red hair, wore a costume of golden brown 
chiffon, a close toque (to show her hair) of 
brown; long topaz drops hung from her ears, 
set in hand-wrought Etruscan gold, and her shell 
lorgnettes hung from a topaz chain. Now note 
that on her toque and her girdle were buckles 
made of topaz glass, obviously not real topaz 
and because made to look like milliner's garni- 
ture and not jeweler's work, they had great style 
and were as beautiful of their kind as the real 
stones. 



PLATE XII 



107 



The portrait of an Englishwoman painted during the 
Napoleonic period. 

She wears the typical Empire gown, cloak, and bonnet. 

The original of this portrait is the same referred to else- 
where as having moistened her muslin gowns to make them 
cling to her, in Grecian folds. 

Among her admiring friends was Lord Byron. 

A descendant who allows the use of the charming por- 
trait, explains that the fair lady insisted upon being 
painted in her bonnet because her curling locks were short 
a result of typhoid fever. 



108 




Costume of Empire Period 
An English Portrait 




CHAPTER IX 

WOMAN DECORATIVE IN HER BOUDOIR 

\Y the way, do you know that boudoir 
originally meant pouting room, a place 
where the ceremonious grande dame 
of the Louis might relax and express a ruffled 
mood, if she would? Which only serves to prove 
that even the definition of words alter with fash- 
ion, for we imagine that our supinely relaxed 
modern beauty, of the country club type, has on 
the whole more self-control than she of the 
boudoir age. 

Since a boudoir is of all rooms the most per- 
sonal, we take it for granted that its decoration 
is eloquent with the individuality and taste of 
its owner. Walls, floors, woodwork, upholstery, 
hangings, cushions and objects d'art furnish 
the colour for my lady's background, and will 
naturally be a scheme calculated to set off her 
own particular type. Here we find woman 
easily made decorative in negligee or tea gown, 



ii2 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

and it makes no difference whether fashion is 
for voluminous, flowing robes, ruffled and cov- 
ered with ribbons and lace, or the other ex- 
treme, those creations of Fortuny, which cling 
to the form in long crinkled lines and shimmer 
like the skin of a snake. The Fortuny in ques- 
tion, son of the great Spanish painter, devotes 
his time to the designing of the most artistic 
and unique tea gowns offered to modern woman. 
We first saw his work in 1910 at his Paris 
atelier. His gowns, then popular with French 
women, were made in Venice, where M. Fortuny 
was at that time employing some five hundred 
women to carry out his ideas as to the dyeing of 
thin silks, the making and colouring of beads 
used as garniture, and the stenciling of designs 
in gold, silver or colour. The lines are Grecian 
and a woman in her Fortuny tea gown suggests 
a Tanagra figure, whether she goes in for the 
finely pleated sort, kept tightly twisted and 
coiled when not in use, to preserve the distin- 
guishing fine pleats, or one with smooth sur- 
face and stenciled designs. These Fortuny tea 
gowns slip over the head with no opening but 
the neck, with its silk shirring cord by means of 



DECORATIVE IN HER BOUDOIR 113 

which it can be made high or low, at will; they 
come in black, gold and the tones of old Venetian 
dyes. One could use a dozen of them and be a 
picture each time, in any setting, though for the 
epicure they are at their best when chosen with 
relation to a special background. The black 
Fortunys are extraordinarily chic and look well 
when worn with long Oriental earrings and 
neck chains of links or beads, which reach at 
least one strand of them half-way to the knees. 
The distinction which this long line of a 
chain or string of pearls gives to the figure of 
any woman is a point to dwell upon. Real pearls 
are desirable, even if one must begin with a short 
necklace ; but where it can be afforded, woman 
cannot be urged too strongly to wear a string 
extending as near to and as much below the 
waistline as possible. A long string of pearls 
gives great elegance, whether wearer is standing 
or seated. You can use your short string of 
pearls, too, but whatever your figure is, if you 
are not a young girl it will be improved by the 
long line, and if you would be decorative above 
everything, we insist that a long chain or string 
of less intrinsic value is preferable to one of 



ii 4 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

meaningless length and priceless worth. Very 
young girls look best in short necklaces; women 
whose throats are getting lined should take to 
jeweled dog-collars, in addition to their strings 
of pearls or diamond chains. The woman with 
firm throat and perfect neck was made for 
pearls. For those less blessed there are lovely 
things too, jewels to match their eyes, or to tone 
in with skin or hair; settings to carry out the 
line of profile, rings to illuminate the swift ges- 
ture or nestle into the soft, white, dimpled hand 
of inertia. Every type has its charm and fol- 
lowers, but we still say, avoid emphasising your 
lack of certain points by wearing unsuitable 
costumes and accessories, and by so doing lose 
the chance of being decorative. 

Sibyl Sanderson, the American prima donna, 
whose career was in Paris, was the most irresist- 
ibly lovely vision ever seen in a tea gown. She 
was past-mistress at the art of making herself 
decorative, and the writer recalls her as she last 
saw her in a Doucet model of chiffon, one layer 
over another of flesh, palest pink and pinkish 
mauve that melted into the creamy tones of her 
perfect neck and arms. 



DECORATIVE IN HER BOUDOIR 115 

Sibyl Sanderson was lovely as nature turned 
her out, but Paris taught her the value of that 
other beauty, the beauty which comes of art and 
attained like all art, only through conscious ef- 
fort. An artistic appearance once meant letting 
nature have its way. It has come to mean, nature 
directed and controlled by Art, and while we do 
not resort to the artificiality (in this moment) 
of hoops, crinoline, pyramids of false hair, mon- 
strous head-dresses, laced waists, low neck and 
short sleeves for all hours and all seasons, paper- 
soled shoes in snow-drifts, etc., we do insist that 
woman be bien soine hair, complexion, hands, 
feet, figure, perfection par tout. 

Woman's costumes, her jewels and all acces- 
sories complete her decorative effect, but even 
in the age of powder and patches, hair oil and 
wigs, no more time nor greater care was given 
to her grooming, and what we say applies to 
the average woman of affairs and not merely to 
the parasite type. 




CHAPTER X 

WOMAN DECORATIVE IN HER SUN-ROOM 

SUN-ROOM as the name implies, is 
a room planned to admit as much sun 
as is possible. An easy way to get the 
greatest amount of light and sun is to enclose 
a steam heated porch with glass which may be 
removed at will. Sometimes part of a conserv- 
atory is turned into a sun-room, awnings, rugs, 
chairs, tables, couches, making it a fascinating 
lounge or breakfast room, useful, too, at the tea 
hour. Often when building a house a room on 
the sunny side is given one, two, or three glass 
sides. To trick the senses, ferns and flowering 
plants, birds and fountains are used as decora- 
tions, suggesting out-of-doors. 

The woman who would add to the charm of 
her sun-room in Winter by keeping up the illu- 
sion of Summer, will wear Summer clothes when 
in it, that is, the same gowns, hats and foot-wear 
which she would select for a warm climate. To 

116 



PLATE XIII 



Portrait by Gilbert Stuart of Dona Matilda, Stough- 
ton de Jaudenes. (Metropolitan Museum.) 

We use this portrait to illustrate the period when 
woman's line was obliterated by the excessive decoration 
of her costume. 

The interest attached to this charming example of her 
time lies in colour and detail. It is as if the bewitching 
Dona Matilda were holding up her clothes with her per- 
son. Her outline is that of a ruffled canary. How diffi- 
cult for her to forget her material trappings, when they 
are so many, and yet she looks light of heart. 

For sharp contrast we suggest that our reader turn at 
once to the portrait by Sargent (Plate XV) which is dis- 
tinguished for its clean-cut outline and also the distinc- 
tion arrived at through elimination of detail in the way 
of trimming. The costume hangs on the woman, sus- 
pended by jewelled chains from her shoulders. 

The Sargent has the simplicity of the Classic Greek; 
the Gilbert Stuart portrait, the amusing fascination of 
Marie Antoinette detail. 

The gown is white satin, with small gold flowers scat- 
tered over its surface. The head-dress surmounting the 
powdered hair is of white satin with seed-pearl ornaments. 

The background is a dead-rose velvet curtain, draped to 
show blue sky, veiled by clouds. The same dead-rose 
on table and chair covering. The book on table has a 
softly toned calf cover. Gilbert Stuart was fond of 
working in this particular colour note. 



118 




Metropolitan Museum of Art 

Eighteenth Century Cos- 
tume Portrait by Gilbert 
Stewart 



DECORATIVE IN HER SUN-ROOM 121 

be exquisite, if you are young or youngish, well 
and active, you would naturally appear in the 
sun-room after eleven, in some sheer material 
of a delicate tint, made walking length, with any 
graceful Summer hat which is becoming, and 
either harmonises with colour of gown or is an 
agreeable contrast to it. By graceful hat we 
mean a hat suggesting repose, not the close, 
tailored hat of action. One woman we know 
always uses her last Summer's muslins and 
wash silks, shoes, slippers and hats in her sun- 
room during the Winter. In her wardrobe there 
are invariably a lot of sheer muslins, voiles and 
wash silks in white, mauve, greys, pinks, or deli- 
cate stripes, the outline following the fashion, 
voluminous, straight or clinging, the bodice 
tight with trimmings inset or full, beruffled, or 
kerchiefed. Her hats are always entirely black 
or entirely white, in type the variety we know as 
picturesque, made very light in weight and with 
no thought of withstanding the elements. The 
woman who knows how, can get the effect of a 
picture hat with very little outlay of money. 
It is a matter of line when on the head, that 
look of lightness and general airiness which 



122 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

gives one the feeling that the wearer has just 
blown in from the lawn ! The artist's hand can 
place a few simple loops of ribbon on a hat, 
and have success, while a stupid arrangement of 
costly feathers or flowers may result in failure. 
The effect of movement got by certain line 
manipulation, suggesting arrested motion, is of 
inestimable value, especially when your hat is 
one with any considerable width of brim. The 
hat with movement is like a free-hand sketch, 
a hat without movement like a decalcomania. 

If the owner of the sun-room is resting or 
invalided then away with out-of-door costume. 
For her a tea-gown and satin slippers are in 
order, as they would be under similar conditions 
on her furnished porch. 

If the mistress of the sun-room is young and 
athletic, one who never goes in for frou-frous, 
but wears linen skirts and blouses when pouring 
tea for her friends, let her be true to her type in 
the sun-room, but always emphasising immacu- 
late daintiness, rather than the ready-for-sport 
note. A sheer blouse and French heels on white 
pumps will transpose the plain linen skirt into 
the key of picturesque relaxation, the hall-mark 



DECORATIVE IN HER SUN-ROOM 123 

of sun-rooms. More than any other room in 
the house, the sun-room is for drifting. One 
cannot imagine writing a cheque there, or 
going over one's monthly accounts. 

We assume that the colour scheme in the sun- 
room was dictated by the owner and is there- 
fore sympathetic to her. If this be true, we can 
go farther and assume that the delicate tones of 
her porch gowns and tea gowns will harmonise. 
If her sun-room is done in yellows and orange 
and greens, nothing will look better than cream- 
white as a costume. If the walls, woodwork 
and furniture have been kept very light in tone, 
relying on the rugs and cushions and dark 
foliage of plants to give character, then a cos- 
tume of sheer material in any one of the decided 
colours in the chintz cushions, will be a welcome 
contribution to the decoration of the sun-room. 
Additional effect can be given a costume by the 
clever choice of colour and line in a work-bag. 



CHAPTER XI 

I. WOMAN DECORATIVE IN HER GARDEN 




N your garden, if you would count as 
decoration, keep to white or one col- 
our; the flowers furnish a variegated 
background against which your costume of col- 
our, grey or white stands out. The great point 
is that your outline be one with pictorial value, 
from the artist's point of view. If merely stroll- 
ing through your garden to admire it, keeping 
to the well-made paths, a fragile gown of sheer 
material and dainty shoes, with perishable hat 
or fragile sunshade, is in order. But if yours is 
the task to gather flowers, then wear stout linen 
or pretty, bright ginghams, good to the eye and 
easily laundered, while resisting the briars and 
branches. 

Smocks, those loose over-all garments of soft- 
toned linens, reaching from neck half-way to 
the knees and unbelted, are ideal for garden 

work, and to the young and slender, add a dis- 

124 



DECORATIVE IN HER GARDEN 125 

tinct charm, for one catches the movement of 
the lithe form beneath. 

You can be decorative in your garden in a 
large enveloping apron of gingham, if you are 
wise in choosing a colour which becomes you. 
One lover of flowers, who has an instinct for 
fitness and colour, may be seen on a Summer 
morning, trimming her porch-boxes in snowy 
white, shoes and all, over which she wears a 
big, encircling apron, extending from neck to 
skirt hem; deep pockets cross the entire front, 
convenient for clippers, scissors and twine. This 
apron is low-necked with shoulder straps and 
no sleeves. The woman in question is tall and 
fair, and on her soft curling hair she wears sun 
hats of peanut straw, the edges sewn over and 
over with wool to match her gingham apron, 
which is a solid pink, pale green or lavender. 

Dark women look uncommonly well in khaki 
colour, and so do some blonds. Here is a shade 
decorative against vegetation and serviceable 
above all. 

Garden costumes for actual work vary ac- 
cording to individual taste and the amount and 
character of the gardening indulged in. 



126 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

Lady de Bathe (Mrs. Langtry) owns one of 
the most charming gardens in England, though 
not as famous as some. It is attached to Regal 
Lodge, her place at Newmarket. The Blue 
Walk is something to remember, with its walls 
of blue lavender flanking the blue paving stones, 
between the cracks of which lovely bluebells 
and larkspur spring up in irrelevant, poetic 
license. 

Lady de Bathe digs and climbs and clips and 
gathers, therefore she wears easily laundered 
garments; a white linen or cotton skirt and 
blouse, a Chinese coat to the knees, of pink cot- 
ton crepe and an Isle-of-Jersey sun-bonnet, a 
poke with curtain, to protect the neck and strings 
to tie it on. So while she claims never to have 
consciously considered being a decorative note 
in her own garden, her trained instinct for cos- 
tuming herself appropriately and becomingly 
brings about the desirable decorative effect. 



II. WOMAN DECORATIVE ON THE LAWN 

When on your lawn with the unbroken sweep 
of green under foot and the background of 



PLATE XIV 



12? 



Madame Adeline Genee, the greatest living exponent 
of the art of toe dancing. She wears an early Vic- 
torian costume (1840) made for a ballet she danced in 
London several seasons ago. The writer did not see 
the costume and neglected, until too late, to ask Madame 
Genee for a description of its colouring, but judg- 
ing by what we know of 1840 colours and textures 
as described by Miss McClellan (Historic Dress in 
America) and other historians of the period as well as 
from portraits, we feel safe in stating that it may well 
have been a bonnet of pink uncut velvet, trimmed with 
silk fringe and a band of braided velvet of the same 
colour ; or perhaps a white shirred satin ; or dove-coloured 
satin with pale pink and green figured ribbon. For the 
dress, it may have been of dove-grey satin, or pink flowered 
silk with a black taffeta cape and one of black lace to 
change off with. 



128 




Victorian Period about 
1840 Mme. Adeline Genee 
in Costume 



DECORATIVE ON THE LAWN 131 

shrubs and trees, be a flower or a bunch of 
flowers in the colour of your costume. White, 
hat, shoes and all, cannot be excelled, but colour 
has charm of another sort, and turning the pages 
of memory, one realises that not a shade or ar- 
tistic combination but has scored, if the outline 
is chic. Since both outline and colour scheme 
vary with fashion we use the word chic or smart 
to imply that quality in a costume which is the 
result of restraint in the handling of line, colour 
and all details, whatever the period. 

A chic outline is very telling on the lawn; 
gown or hat must be appropriate to the occasion, 
becoming to the wearer, its lines following the 
fashion, yet adapted to type, and the colour, 
one sympathetic to the wearer. The trimming 
must accentuate the distinctive type of the gown 
or hat instead of blotting out the lines by an 
overabundance of garnittfre. The trimming 
must follow the constructive lines of gown, or 
have meaning. A buckle must buckle some- 
thing, buttons must be used where there is at 
least some semblance of an opening. Let us re- 
peat: To be chic, the trimming of a hat or 
gown must have a raison d'etre. When in doubt 



i 3 2 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

omit trimming. As in interior decoration, too 
much detail often defeats the original idea of 
a costume. An observing woman knows that few 
of her kind understand the value of restraint. 
When turned out by an artist, most women 
recognise when they look their best, but how to 
achieve it alone, is beyond them. This sort of 
knowledge comes from carefully and constantly 
comparing the gown which is a success with 
those which are failures. 

Elimination characterises the smart costume 
or hat, and the smart designer is he or she who 
can make one flower, one feather, one bow of 
ribbon, band of fur, bit of real lace or hand em- 
broidery, say a distinct something. 

It is the decorative value gained by the judi- 
cious placing of one object so that line and 
colour count to the full. As we have said in 
Interior Decoration, one pink rose in a slender 
Venetian glass vase against a green silk curtain 
may have far more decorative value than dozens 
of costly roses used without knowledge of line 
and background. So it is with ornaments on 
wearing apparel. 



DECORATIVE ON THE BEACH 133 

III. WOMAN DECORATIVE ON THE BEACH 

With a background of grey sand, steel-blue 
water and more or less blue sky, woman is given 
a tempting opportunity to figure as colour when 
by the sea. That it is gay colour or white 
which makes decorative effects on the beach, 
even the least knowing realise. Plein air ar- 
tists have stamped on our mental visions im- 
pressions of smart society disporting itself on 
the sands of Dieppe, Trouville, Brighton, and 
where not. Whatever the period, hence outline, 
white and the gay colours impress one. Most 
conspicuous is white on woman (and man) ; 
then each colour in the rainbow with its half- 
tones, figures as sweaters, veils, hats and para- 
sols; the striped marquise and gay wares of the 
venders of nosegays, balloons and lollypops. 
The artist picks out the telling notes when paint- 
ing, learn from him and figure as one of these. 

On the beach avoid being a dull note; dead 
greys and browns have no charm there. 

What is true of costuming for the beach ap- 
plies equally to costumes to be worn on the deck 
of a steamer or yacht. 




CHAPTER XII 

WOMAN AS DECORATION WHEN SKATING 

be decorative when skating, two 
things are necessary: first, know how 
to skate ; then see to it that you are cos- 
tumed with reference to appropriateness, be- 
comingness and the outline demanded by the 
fashion of the moment. 

The woman who excels in the technique of 
her art does not always excel in dressing her 
role. It is therefore with great enthusiasm that 
we record Miss Theresa Weld of Boston, holder 
of Woman's Figure Skating Championship, as 
the most chicly costumed woman on the ice of 
the Hippodrome (New York) where amateurs 
contested for the cup offered by Mr. Charles B. 
Dillingham, on March 23, 1917, when Miss 
Weld again won, this time over the men as 
well as the women. 

Miss Weld combined good work with per- 
fect form, and her edges, fronts, ins, outs, threes, 

134 



DECORATION WHEN SKATING 135 

double-threes, etc., etc., were a delight to the eye 
as she passed and repassed in her wine-coloured 
velvet, trimmed with mole-skin, a narrow band 
on the bottom of the full skirt (full to allow the 
required amount of leg action), deep cuffs, and 
a band of the same fur encircling the close vel- 
vet toque. This is reproduced as the ideal cos- 
tume because, while absolutely up-to-date in 
line, material, colour and character of fur, it 
follows the traditional idea as to what is appro- 
priate and beautiful for a skating costume, re- 
gardless of epoch. We have seen its ancestors 
in many parts of Europe, year after year. Some 
of us recall with keen pleasure, the wonderful 
skating in Vienna and Berlin on natural and ar- 
tificial ice, invariably hung with flags and gaily 
lighted by night. We can see now, those Ger- 
man girls, some of them trim and good to look 
at, in costumes of sapphire blue, deep red, or 
green velvet, fur trimmed, gliding swiftly 
across the ice, to the irresistible swing of waltz 
music and accompanied by flashing uniforms. 
In the German-speaking countries everyone 
skates: the white-bearded grandfather and the 
third generation going hand in hand on Sunday 



136 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

mornings to the nearest ice-pond. With them 
skating is a communal recreation, as beer gar- 
den concerts are. With us in America most 
sports are fashions, not traditions. The rage 
for skating during the past few seasons is the 
outcome of the exhibition skating done by pro- 
fessionals from Austria, Germany, Scandinavian 
countries and Canada, at the New York Hippo- 
drome. Those who madly danced are now as 
madly skating. And out of town the young 
women delight the eye in bright wool sweaters, 
broad, long wool scarfs and bright wool caps, 
or small, close felt hats, fascinating against the 
white background of ice and snow. The boots 
are high, reaching to top of calf, a populai 
model having a seam to the tip of the toe. 

No sport so perfectly throws into relief com 
mand of the body as does skating. Watch 
group of competitors for honours at any gather- 
ing of amateur women skaters and note how 
have command of themselves know absolutel 
what they want to do, and then are able to do ii 
One skater, in the language of the ice, can d< 
the actual work, but has no form. It may 
she lacks temperament, has no abandon, n< 



PLATE XV 



137 



A portrait by John S. Sargent. (Metropolitan Mu- 
seum, painted about 1890.) 

We have here a distinguished example of the dignity 
and beauty possible to a costume characteristic of the 
period when extreme severity as to outline and elimination 
of detail followed the elaboration of Victorian ruffles, 
ribbons and lace over hoops and bustle; curled hair and 
the obvious cameo brooch, massive bracelets and chains. 



138 




Metropolitan Museum of Art 

Late Nineteenth Century 
Costume about 1890 A 
Portrait by John S. Sargent 



DECORATION WHEN SKATING 141 

rhythm; is stiff, or, while full of life, has bad 
arms. It is as necessary that the fancy skater 
should learn the correct position of the arms as 
that the solo dancer should. Certain lines must 
be preserved, say, from fingers of right arm 
through to tip of left foot, or from tip of left 
hand through to tip of right foot. 

" Form " is the manipulation of the lines of 
the body to produce perfect balance, perfect 
freedom and, when required, perfect control in 
arrested motion. This is the mastery which pro- 
duces in free skating that " melting " of one 
figure into another which so hypnotises the on- 
looker. It is because Miss Weld has mastered 
the above qualifications that she is amateur 
champion in fancy skating. She has mastered 
her medium ; has control of every muscle in her 
body. In consequence she is decorative and de- 
lightful to watch. 

To be decorative when not on skates, whether 
walking, standing or sitting, a woman must have 
cultivated the same feeling for line, her form 
must be good. It is not enough to obey the 
A. B. C.'s of position; head up, shoulders back, 
chest out, stomach in. One must study the pos- 



142 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

sibilities of the body in acquiring and perfecting 
poses which have line, making pictures with 
one's self. 

In the Art of Interior Decoration we insist 
that every room be a beautiful composition. 
What we would now impress upon the mind of 
the reader is that she is a part of the picture 
and must compose with her setting. To do 
this she should acquire the mastery of her body, 
and then train that body until it has acquired 
" good habits " in the assuming of line, whether 
in action or repose. This can be done to an 
astonishing degree, even if one lacks the instinct. 
To be born with a sense of line is a gift, and the 
development of this sense can give artistic de- 
light to those who witness the results and thrill 
them quite as sculpture or music, or any other 
art does. 

The Greek idea of regarding the perfectly 
trained body as a beautiful temple is one to keep 
in mind, if woman would fulfil her obligation 
to be decorative. 

Form means efficiency, if properly understood 
and carried out according to the spirit, not the 
letter of the law. Form implies the human body 



DECORATION WHEN SKATING 143 

under control, ready for immediate action. The 
man or woman with form, will be the first to 
fall into action when required, because, so to 
speak, no time is lost in collecting and aiming 
the body. 

One of the great points in the teaching of the 
late Theodore Leschetizky, the world's greatest 
master in the art of piano playing, was that the 
hand should immediately assume the correct po- 
sition for the succeeding chord, the instant it 
was lifted from the keys; preparedness! 

The crack regiments of Europe, noted for 
their form, have for years been the object of 
jests in those new worlds where brawn and 
muscle, with mental acumen, have converted 
primeval forests into congested commercial cen- 
ters. But that form, so derided by the pioneer 
spirit, has proved its worth during the present 
European war. The United States and the Cen- 
tral Powers are now at war and military guards 
have been stationed at vulnerable points. Only 
to-day we saw one of Uncle Sam's soldiers, one 
of three, patrolling the front of a big armory, 
standing in an absolutely relaxed position, his 
gun held loosely in his hand, and its bayonet 



i 4 4 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

propped against the iron fence. One could not 
help thinking; no form, no preparedness, no 
efficiency. It goes without saying that prompt 
obedience cannot be looked for where there is 
lack of form, no matter how willing the spirit. 
The modern woman when on parole, walk- 
ing, dancing, driving, riding or engaged in any 
sport, to be efficient must have trained the body 
until it has form, and dress it appropriately, if 
she would be efficient as well as decorative in 
the modern sense of the term. No better illus- 
tration of our point can be found than in the 
popular sport cited at the beginning of this 
chapter. 



CHAPTER XIII 

WOMAN DECORATIVE IN HER MOTOR CAR 




T is not easy to be decorative in your 
automobile now that the manufac- 
turers are going in for gay colour 
schemes both in upholstery and outside painting. 
A putty-coloured touring car lined with red 
leather is very stunning in itself, but the woman 
who would look well when sitting in it does not 
carelessly don any bright motor coat at hand. 
She knows very well that to show up to advan- 
tage against red, and be in harmony with the 
putty-colour paint, her tweed coat should blend 
with the car, also her furs. Black is smart with 
everything, but fancy how impossible mustard, 
cerise and some shades of green would look 
against that scarlet leather! 

An orange car with black top, mud-guards 
and upholstery calls for a costume of white, 
black, brown, tawny grey, or, if one would be 
a poster, royal blue. 

145 



i 4 6 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

Some twenty-five years ago the writer watched 
the first automobile in her experience driven 
down the Champs Elysees. It seemed an un- 
canny, horseless carriage, built to carry four 
people and making a good deal of fuss about it. 

A few days later, while lunching at the Cafe 
de Reservoir, Versailles, we were told that some 
men were starting back to Paris by automobile, 
and if we went to a window giving on to the 
court, we might see the astonishing vehicle 
make its start. It was as thrilling as the first near 
view of an aeroplane, and all-excitement we 
watched the two Frenchmen getting ready for 
the drive. Their elaborate preparation to face 
the current of air to be encountered en route 
was not unlike the preparation to-day for flying. 
It was Spring June, at that but those French- 
men wearing very English tweeds and smoking 
English pipes, each drew on extra cloth trousers 
and coats and over these a complete outfit of 
leather! We saw them get into the things in 
the public courtyard, arrange huge goggles, 
draw down cloth caps, and set out at a speed of 
about fifteen miles an hour! 

The above seems incredible, now that we have 



PLATE XVI 



147 



A portrait of Mrs. Thomas Hastings of New York 
painted by the late John W. Alexander. 

We have chosen this one of the most successful por- 
traits by one of America's leading portrait painters as a 
striking example of colour scheme and interesting line. 
Also we have here a woman who carries herself with form. 
Mrs. Hastings is an accomplished horsewoman. Her fine 
physique is poised so as to give that individual movement 
which makes for type; her colour wonderful red hair 
and the complexion which goes with it are set off by a 
dull gold background; a gown in another tone of gold, 
relieved by a note or two of turquoise green ; and the same 
green appearing as a shadow on the Victory in the back- 
ground. 

We see the sitter, as she impressed an observer, trans- 
ferred to the canvas by the consummate skill of our deeply 
lamented artist. 



148 




A Modern Portrait 
By John W. Alexander 



DECORATIVE IN HER MOTOR 151 

passed through the various stages of motor car 
improvements and motor clothes creations. The 
rapid development of the automobile, with its 
windshields, limousine tops, shock absorbers, 
perfected engines and springs, has brought us 
to the point where no more preparation is needed 
for a thousand-mile run across country with an 
average speed of thirty miles an hour, than if 
we were boarding a train. One dresses for a 
motor as one would for driving in a carriage 
and those dun-colored, lineless monstrosities in- 
vented for motor use have vanished from view. 
More than this, woman to-day considers her 
decorative value against the electric blue velvet 
or lovely chintz lining of her limousine, exactly 
as she does when planning clothes for her salon. 
And why not? The manufacturers of cars are 
taking seriously their interior decoration as well 
as outside painting; and many women interior 
decorators specialise along this line and devote 
their time to inventing colour schemes calcu- 
lated to reflect the personality of the owner of 
the car. 

Special orders have raised the standard of 
the entire industry, so that at the recent New 



152 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

York automobile show, many effects in cars 
were offered to the public. Besides the putty- 
coloured roadster lined with scarlet, black lined 
with russet yellow, orange lined with black; 
there were limousines painted a delicate custard 
colour, with top and rim of wheels, chassis and 
lamps of the same Nattier Blue as the velvet 
lining, cushions and curtains. A beautiful and 
luxurious background and how easy to be deco- 
rative against it to one who knows how! 

Another popular colour scheme was a mauve 
body with top of canopy and rims of wheels 
white, the entire lining of mauve, like the body. 
Imagine your woman with a decorative instinct 
in this car. So obvious an opportunity would 
never escape her, and one can see the vision on 
a Summer day, as she appears in simple white, 
softest blue or pale pink, or better still, treating 
herself as a quaint nosegay of blush roses, for- 
get-me-nots, lilies and mignonette, with her 
chiffons and silks or sheerest of lawns. 

"But how about me?" one hears from the 
girl of the open car a racer perhaps, which she 
drives herself. You are easiest of all, we assure 
you; to begin with, your car being a racer, is 



DECORATIVE IN HER MOTOR 153 

painted and lined with durable dark colours 
battleship grey, dust colour, or some shade 
which does not show dirt and wear. The con- 
sequence is, you will be decorative in any of the 
smart coats, close hats and scarfs in brilliant and 
lovely hues, silk or wool. 



CHAPTER XIV 

HOW TO GO ABOUT PLANNING A PERIOD COSTUME 




ERE is a plan to follow when getting 
up a period costume: 

We will assume that you wish to 
wear a Spanish dress of the time of Philip IV 
(early seventeenth century). The first thing 
to give your attention to is the station in life 
which you propose to represent. Granted that 
you decide on a court costume, one of those 
made so familiar by the paintings of the great 
Velasquez, let your first step be to get a definite 
impression of the outline of such a costume. Go 
to art galleries and look at pictures, go to libra- 
ries and ask for books on costumes, with plates. 

You will observe that under the head of crino- 
line and hoop-skirt periods, there are a variety 
of outlines, markedly different. The slope of 
the hip line and the outline of the skirt is the 
infallible hall-mark of each of these periods. 

Let it be remembered that the outline of a 
154 



PLANNING A PERIOD COSTUME 155 

woman includes hair, combs, head-dress, ear- 
rings, treatment of neck, shoulders, arms, bust 
and hips ; line to the ankles and shoes ; also fan, 
handkerchief or any other article, which if a 
silhouette were made, would appear. The next 
step is to ascertain what materials were available 
at the time your costume was worn and what in 
vogue. Were velvets, satins or silks worn, or all 
three? Were materials flowered, striped, or 
plain? If striped, horizontal or perpendicular? 
For these points turn again to your art gallery, 
costume plates, or the best of historical novels. 
If you are unable to resort to the sources sug- 
gested, two courses lie open to you. Put the 
matter into the hands of an expert; there are 
many to be approached through the columns of 
first-class periodicals or newspapers (we do not 
refer to the ordinary dealer in costumes or the- 
atre accessories) ; or make the effort to consult 
some authority, in person or by letter: an actor, 
historian or librarian. It is amazing how near 
at hand help often is, if we only make our needs 
known. If the reader is young and busy, danc- 
ing and skating and sleeping, and complains, 
in her winsome way, that " days are too short 



156 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

for such work," we would remind her that as 
already stated, to carefully study the details of 
any costume, of any period, means that the mind 
and the eye are being trained to discriminate 
between the essentials and non-essentials of 
woman's costume in every-day life. The same 
young beauty may be interested to know that 
at the beginning of Geraldine Farrar's career 
the writer, visiting with her, an exhibition of 
pictures in Munich, was amazed at the then, 
very young girl's familiarity with the manner 
of artists ancient and modern, and exclaimed 
" I did not know you were so fond of pictures." 
" It's not that," Farrar said, " I get my costumes 
from them, and a great many of my poses." 

Outline and material being decided, give your 
attention to the character of the background 
against which you are to appear. If it is a ball- 
room, and the occasion a costume-ball, is it done 
in light or dark colours, and what is the pre- 
vailing tone? See to it that you settle on a col- 
our which will be either a harmonious note or an 
agreeable, hence impressive contrast, against the 
prevailing background. If you are to wear the 
costume on a stage or as a living picture against 



PLATE XVII 



157 



Portrait of Mrs. Philip M. Lydig, patron of the arts, 
exhibited in New York at Duveen Galleries during Winter 
of 1916-1917 with the Zuloaga pictures. The exhibition 
was arranged by Mrs. Lydig. 

This portrait has been chosen to illustrate two points: 
that a distinguished decorative quality is dependent upon 
line which has primarily to do with form of one's own 
physique (and not alone the cut of the costume) ; and 
the great value of knowing one's own type. 

Mrs. Lydig has been transferred to the canvas by the 
clever technique of one of the greatest modern painters, 
Ignacio Zuloaga, an artistic descendant of Velasquez. The 
delightful movement is that of the subject, in this case 
kept alive through its subtle translation into terms of art. 



158 




A Portrait of Mrs. Philip 
M. Lydig By I. Zuloago 



PLANNING A PERIOD COSTUME 161 

a background arranged with special reference 
to you, and where you are the central figure, be 
more subtle and combine colours, if you will; 
go in for interesting detail, provided always 
that you make these details have meaning. For 
example, if it be trimming, pure and simple, 
be sure that it be applied as during your chosen 
period. Trimming can be used so as to increase 
effectiveness of a costume by accentuating its 
distinctive features, and it can be misused so as 
to pervert your period, whether that be the age 
of Cleopatra, or the Winter of 1917. Details, 
such as lace, jewels, head-dresses, fans, snuff- 
boxes, work baskets and flowers must be abso- 
lutely of the period, or not at all. A few details, 
even one stunning jewel, if correct, will be far 
more convincing than any number of make- 
shifts, no matter how attractive in themselves. 
Paintings, plates and history come to our rescue 
here. If you think it dry work, try it. The 
chances are all in favour of your emerging from 
your search spell-bound by the vistas opened up 
to you; the sudden meaning acquired by many 
inanimate things, and a new pleasure added to 
all observations. 



1 62 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

That Spanish comb of great-great-grand- 
mother's is really a treasure now. The antique 
Spanish plaque you own, found to be Moorish 
lustre, and out of the attic it comes! A Spanish 
miracle cross proves the spiritual superstition 
of the race, so back to the junk-shop you go, 
hoping to acquire the one that was proffered. 

Yes, Carmen should wear a long skirt when 
she dances, Spanish pictures show them; and 
so on. 

The collecting of materials and all accessories 
to a costume, puts one in touch, not only with the 
dress, but the life of the period, and the customs 
of the times. Once steeped in the tradition of 
Spanish art and artists, how quick the connois- 
seur is to recognize Spanish influence on th< 
art of Holland, France and England. Lead youi 
expert in costumes of nations into talking of his- 
tory and we promise you pictures of dynastii 
and lands that few historical writers can match. 
This man or woman has extracted from th< 
things people wore the story of where the] 
wore them, and when, and how; for the lovei 
of colour we commend this method of studyin- 
history. 



PLANNING A PERIOD COSTUME 163 

If any one of our readers is casting about for 
a hobby and craves one with inexhaustible pos- 
sibilities, we would advise: try collecting data 
on periods in dress, as shown in the art treasures 
of the world, for of this there is verily no end. 

We warn the novice in advance that each 
detail of woman's dress has for one in pursuit 
of such data the allure of the siren. 

There is the pictured story of head-dresses 
and hats, and how the hair is worn, from Cleo- 
patra's time till ours ; the evolution of a woman's 
sleeve, its ups and downs and ins and outs as 
shown in art; the separation of the waist from 
skirt, and ever changing line of both; the neck 
of woman's gown so variously cut and trimmed 
and how the necklace changed likewise to ac- 
cord; the passing of the sandals of the Greeks 
into the poetic glove-fitting slippers of to-day. 

One sets out gaily to study costumes, full of 
the courage of ignorance, the joyous optimism 
of an enthusiast, because it is amusing and looks 
so simple with all the material, old and new, 
lying about one. 

Ah, that is the pitfall the very abundance of 
those plates in wondrous books, old coloured 



1 64 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

prints and portraits of the past. To some stu- 
dents this kaleidoscopic vision of period cos- 
tumes never falls into definite lines and colour; 
or if the types are clear, what they come from or 
merge into remains obscure. 

For the eager beginner we have tried to evolve 
out of the whole mass of data a system of origin 
and development as definite as the anatomy of 
the human body, a framework on which to 
build. If our historical outline be clear enough 
to impress the mental vision as indelibly as those 
primary maps of the earth did, then we feel 
persuaded, the textless books of wonderful and 
beguiling costume plates will serve their end 
as never before. We humbly offer what we 
hope may prove a key to the rich store- 
house. 

Simplicity, and pure line, were lost sight of 
when overabundance dulled the senses of the 
world. We could prove this, for art shows that 
the costuming of woman developed slowly, pre- 
serving, as did furniture, the same classic lines 
and general characteristics until the fifteenth 
century, the end of the Middle Ages. 

With the opening up of trade channels and 



PLANNING A PERIOD COSTUME 165 

the possibilities of easy and quick communica- 
tion between countries we find, as we did in the 
case of furniture, periods of fashion developing 
without nationality. Nations declared them- 
selves in the artistry of workmanship, as to-day, 
and in the modification and exaggeration of an 
essential detail, resulting from national or in- 
dividual temperament. 

If you ask, " Where do fashions come f rom, 
why ' periods '? " we would answer that in the 
last analysis one would probably find in the con- 
ception of every fashion some artist's brain. If 
the period is a good one, then it proves that fate 
allowed the artist to be true to his muse. If 
the fashion is a bad one the artist may have had 
to adapt his lines and colour or detail to hide a 
royal deformity, or to cater to the whim of 
some wilful beauty ignorant of our art, but rich 
and in the public eye. 

A fashion if started is a demon or a god let 
loose. As we have said, there is an interesting 
point to be observed in looking at woman as 
decoration; whether the medium be fresco, bas 
relief, sculpture, mosaic, stained glass or paint- 
ing, the decorative line, shown in costumes, 



1 66 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

presents the same recurrent types that we found 
when studying the history of furniture. 

For our present purposes it is expedient to 
confine ourselves to the observation of that ex- 
pression of civilisation which had root, so far 
as we know, in Assyria and Egypt, and spread 
like a branching vine through Byzantium, 
Greece, Rome, Gothic Europe and Europe of 
the Renaissance, on through the seventeenth, 
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, down to 
the present time. 

Costumes for woman and man are supposed 
to have had their origin in a cord tied about 
the waist, from which was suspended crude im- 
plements (used for the slaying of beasts for 
food, and in self-defence) ; trophies of war, such 
as teeth, scalps, etc. The trophies suspended, 
partly concealed the body and were for decora- 
tion, as was tattooing of the skin. Clothes were 
not the result of modesty ; modesty followed the 
partial covering of the human body. Modesty, 
or shame, was the emotion which developed 
when man, accustomed to decoration trophies 
or tattooing was deprived of all or part of such 
covering. What parts of the body require con- 



PLATE XVIII 



167 



Mrs. Langtry (Lady de Bathe) who has been one of 
the greatest beauties of modern times and a marked ex- 
ample of a woman who has always understood her own 
type, to costume it. 

She agrees that this photograph of her, in an evening 
wrap, illustrates a point she has always laid emphasis on: 
that a garment which has good lines in which one is a 
picture continues wearable even when not the dernier cri 
of fashion. 

This wrap was worn by Mrs. Langtry about two years 
ago. 



168 




Mrs. Langtry (Lady 
Bathe) in Evening Wrap 



de 



PLANNING A PERIOD COSTUME 171 

cealment, is purely a matter of the customs pre- 
vailing with a race or tribe, at a certain time, 
and under certain conditions. 

This is a theme, the detailed development of 
which lies outside the purpose of our book. It 
has delightful possibilities, however, if the plen- 
tiful data on the subject, given in scientific books, 
were to be condensed and simplified. 




CHAPTER XV 

I. THE STORY OF PERIOD COSTUMES 
A Resume 

UR present modes of dress (aside 
from the variations imposed by 
fashion) are the resultant of all 
the fashions of the last 2000 years." 

W. G. SUMNER in Folkways. 

The earliest Egytian frescoes, invaluable pre- 
historic data, show us woman as she was cos- 
tumed, housed and occupied when the painting 
was done. On those age-old walls she appears 
as man's companion, his teacher, plaything, 
slave, and ruler; in whatever role the fates 
decreed. The same frescoed walls have pictured 
records of how Egypt tilled the soil, built 
houses, worked in metals, pottery and sculpture. 
Woman is seen beside her man, who slays the 

beasts, at times from boats propelled through 

172 



STORY OF PERIOD COSTUMES 173 

reeded jungles; and hers is always that rigid 
outline, those long, quiet eyes depicted in pro- 
file, with massive head-dress, and strange up- 
standing ornaments, abnormally curled wig, 
and close, straight garments to the feet (or none 
at all), heavy collar, wristbands and anklets of 
precious metals with gems inset, or chased in 
strange designs. About her, the calm myste- 
rious poise and childlike acquiescence of those 
who know themselves to be the puppets of the 
gods. In this naivete lies one of the great 
charms of Egyptian art. 

As sculptured caryatide, we see woman of 
Egypt clad in transparent sheath-like skirt, 
nude above the waist, with the usual extinguish- 
ing head-dress and heavy collar, bracelets and 
anklets. We see her as woman, mute, law-abid- 
ing, supporting the edifice; woman with steady 
gaze and silent lips ; one wonders what was in 
the mind of that lotus eater of the Nile who 
carved his dream in stone. 

Those would reproduce Egyptian colour 
schemes for costumes, house or stage settings, 
would do well to consult the book of Egyptian 
designs, brought out in 1878 by the Ecole des 



174 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

Beaux Arts, Paris, and available in the large 
libraries. 

On the walls of the Necropolis of Memphis, 
Thi and his wife (Fifth Dynasty) appear in a 
delightful hunting scene. The man in the prow 
of his boat is about to spear an enormous beast, 
while his wife, seated in the bottom, wraps her 
arm about his leg! 

Among the earliest portraits of an Egyptian 
woman completely clothed, is that of Queen 
Taia, wife of Amenophis, Eighteenth Dynasty, 
who wears a striped gown with sleeves of the 
kimono type and a ribbon tied around her waist, 
the usual ornamental collar and bracelets 
of gold, and an elaborate head-dress with 
deep blue curtain, extending to the waist, 
behind. 

Full of illuminating suggestions is an example 
of Woman in Egyptian decoration, to be seen 
as a fresco in the Necropolis of Thebes. It 
shows the governess of a young prince (Eight- 
eenth Dynasty) holding the child on her lap. 
The feet of the little prince rest on a stool, sup- 
ported by nine crouching human beings men; 
each has a collar about his neck, to which a leash 



STORY OF PERIOD COSTUMES 175 

is attached, and all nine leashes are held in the 
hands of the child! 

The illustrations of the Egyptian funeral 
papyrus, The Book of the Dead, show woman 
in the role of wife and companion. It is the 
story of a high-born Egyptian woman, Tutu, 
wife of Ani, Royal Scribe and Scribe of the 
Sacred Revenue of all the gods of Thebes. 
Tutu, the long-eyed Egyptian woman, young 
and straight, with raven hair and active form, 
a Kemait of Amon, which means she belonged 
to the religious chapter or congregation of the 
great god of Thebes. She was what might be 
described as lady-in-waiting or honorary priest- 
ess, to the god Amon. She, too, wears the 
typical Egyptian head-dress and straight, long 
white gown, hanging in close folds to her feet. 
One vignette shows Tutu with arm about her 
husband's leg. This seems to have been a naive 
Egyptian way of expressing that eternal woman- 
liness, that tender care for those beloved, that 
quality inseparable from woman if worthy the 
name, and by reason of which with man, her 
mate, she has run the gamut of human experi- 
ence, meeting the demands of her time. There 



176 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

is no dodging the issue, woman's story recorded 
in art, shows that she has always responded to 
Fate's call; followed, led, ruled, been ruled, 
amused, instructed, sent her men into battle as 
Spartan mothers did to return with honour or 
on their shields, and when Fate so decreed, led 
them to battle, like Joan of Arc. 

II. EGYPT AND ASSYRIA 

In Egypt and Assyria the lines of the torso 
were kept straight, with no contracting of body 
at waist line. Woman was clad in a straight 
sheet-like garment, extending from waist to feet 
with only metal ornaments above; necklace, 
bracelets and armlets; or a straight dress from 
neck to meet the heavy anklets. Sandals were 
worn on the feet. The head was encased in an 
abnormally curled wig, with pendent ringlets, 
and the whole clasped by a massive head-dress, 
following the contour of head and having as 
part of it, a curtain or veil, reaching down be- 
hind, across shoulders and approaching waist 
line. The Sphinx wears a characteristic Egyp- 
tian head-dress. 



PLATE XIX 



177 



Mrs. Conde Nast, artist and patron of the arts, noted 
for her understanding of her own type and the successful 
costuming of it. 

Mrs. Nast was Miss Clarisse Coudert. Her French 
blood accounts, in part, for her innate feeling for line and 
colour. It is largely due to the keen interest and active 
services of Mrs. Nast that Vogue and Vanity Fair have 
become the popular mirrors and prophetic crystal balls of 
fashion for the American woman. 

Mrs. Nast is here shown in street costume. The photo- 
graph is by Baron de Meyer, who has made a distinguished 
art of photography. 

We are here shown the value of a carefully considered 
outline which is sharply registered on the background by 
posing figure against the light, a method for suppressing 
all details not effecting the outline. 



178 




Photograph by Baron de Meyer 

Mrs. Conde Nast in Street 
Dress 



EGYPT, BYZANTIUM, GREECE, ROME 181 



III. EGYPT, BYZANTIUM, GREECE AND ROME 

During the periods antedating Christ, when 
the Roman empire was all-powerful, the women 
of Egypt, Byzantium, Greece and Rome, wore 
gilded wigs (see Plate I, Frontispiece), ar- 
ranged in Psyche knots, and banded; sandals 
on their feet, and a one-piece garment, confined 
at the waist by a girdle, which fell in close 
folds to the feet, a style to develop later into 
the classic Greek. 

The Greek garment consisted of a great square 
of white linen, draped in the deft manner of the 
East, to adapt it to the human form, at once 
concealing and disclosing the body to a degree 
of perfection never since attained. There were 
undraped Greek garments left to hang in close, 
clinging folds, even in the classic period. It is 
this undraped and finely-pleated robe (see 
Plate XXI) hanging close to the figure, and the 
two-piece garment (see Plate IV) with its 
short tunic of the same material, extending just 
below the waist line in front, and drooping in a 
cascade of ripples at the sides, as low as the 



1 82 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

knees, that Fortuny (Paris) has reproduced in 
his tea gowns. 

An Englishwoman told us recently that her 
great-great-grandmother used to describe how 
she and others of her time (Empire Period) 
wet their clothes to make them cling to their 
forms, a la Grecque! 

The classic Greek costume was often a sleeve- 
less garment, falling in folds, and when confined 
at waist line with cord the upper part bloused 
over it; the material was draped so as to leave 
the arms free, the folds being held in place by 
ornamental clasps upon the shoulders. The fit- 
ting was practically unaided by cutting; squares 
or straight lengths of linen being adjusted to 
the human form by clever manipulation. The 
adjusting of these folds, as we have said, de- 
veloped into an art. 

The use of large squares or shawls of brill- 
iantly dyed linen, wool and later silk, is con- 
spicuous in all the examples showing woman 
as decoration. 

The long Gothic cape succeeds it, that enve- 
loping circular garment, with and without the 
hood, and clasped at the throat, in which the 



EGYPT, BYZANTIUM, GREECE, ROME 183 

Mother of God is invariably depicted. Her 
cape is the celestial royal blue. 

The stained silk gauzes, popular with Greek 
dancers, were made into garments following the 
same classic lines, and so were the gymnasium 
costumes of the young girls of Greece. Isadora 
Duncan reproduces the latter in many of her 
dances. 

In the chapter entitled " The Story of Tex- 
tiles " in The Art of Interior Decoration, we 
have given a resume of this branch of our sub- 
ject. 

The type of costume worn by woman through- 
out the entire Roman Empire during its most 
glorious period, was classic Greek, not only in 
general outline, but in detail. Note that the col- 
larless neck was cut round and a trifle low; the 
lines of gown were long and followed each 
other; the trimming followed the hem of neck 
and sleeves and skirt; the hair, while artificially 
curled and sometimes intertwined with pearls 
and other gems, after being gilded, was so ar- 
ranged as to show the contour of the head, then 
gathered into a Psyche knot. Gold bands, plain 
or jewelled, clasped and held the hair in place. 



1 84 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

In the Gold Room of the Metropolitan Mu- 
seum; in noted collections in Europe; in por- 
traits and costume plates, one sees that the ear- 
rings worn at that period were great heavy discs, 
or half discs, of gold ; large gold flowers, in the 
Etruscan style ; large rings with groups of pen- 
dants, usually three on each ring, and the drop 
earrings so much in vogue to-day. 

Necklaces were broad, like collars, round and 
made of hand-wrought links and beads, with 
pendants. These filled in the neck of the dress 
and were evidently regarded as a necessary part 
of the costume. 

The simple cord which confined the Greek 
woman's draperies at the waist, in Egypt and 
Byzantium, became a sash; a broad strip of ma- 
terial which was passed across the front of body 
at the waist, crossed behind and then brought 
tight over the hips to tie in front, low down, the 
ends hanging square to knees or below. 

In Egypt a shoulder cape, with kerchief 
effect in front, broadened behind to a square, 
and reached to the waist line. 

We would call attention to the fact that when 
the classic type of furniture and costume were 



EGYPT, BYZANTIUM, GREECE, ROME 185 

revived by Napoleon I and the Empress Jose- 
phine, it was the Egyptian version, as well as 
the Greek. One sees Egyptian and Etruscan 
styles in the straight, narrow garment of the 
First Empire reaching to ankles, with parallel 
rows of trimming at the bottom of skirt. 

The Empire style of parted hair, with cas- 
cade of curls each side, riotous curling locks 
outlining face, with one or two ringlets brought 
in front of ears, and the Psyche knot (which 
later in Victorian days lent itself to caricature, 
in a feather-duster effect at crown of head), 
were inspired by those curled and gilded crea- 
tions such as Thais wore. 

Hats, as we use the term to-day, were worn 
by the ancients. Some will remember the Greek 
hat Sibyl Sanderson wore with her classic robes 
when she sang Massenet's " Phedre," in Paris. 
It was Chinese in type. One sees this type of 
hat on Tanagra Statuettes in our museums. 

Apropos of hats, designers to-day are con- 
stantly resurrecting models found in museums, 
and some of us recognise the lines and details 
of ancient head-dresses in hats turned out by our 
most up-to-date milliners. 



1 86 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

Parasols and umbrellas were also used by 
Assyrians and Greeks. Sandals which only cov- 
ered the soles of the feet were the usual foot 
wear, but Greeks and Etruscans are shown i 
art as wearing also moccasin-like boots and 
shoes laced up the front. 

Of course, the strapped slippers of the Em- 
pire were a version of classic sandals. 

As we have said, the Greek gown and toga 
are found wherever the Roman Empire reached. 
The women of what are now France and Eng- 
land clothed themselves at that time in the same 
manner as the cultured class of Rome. Nat- 
urally the Germanic branch which broke from 
the parent stem, and drifted northward to strike 
root in unbroken forests, bordering on untried 
seas, wore skins and crudely woven gar- 
ments, few and strongly made, but often pic- 
turesque. 

Though but slightly reminiscent of the tra- 
ditional costume, we know that the women of 
the third and fourth centuries wore a short, 
one-piece garment, with large earrings, heavy 
metal armlets above the elbow and at wrists. 
The chain about the waist, from which hung a 



: ; 



PLATE XX 



187 



Mrs. Conde Nast in an evening gown. Here again is 
a costume the beauty of which evades the dictum of fashion 
in the narrow sense of the term. 

This picture has the distinction of a well-posed and 
finely executed old master and because possessing beauty 
of a traditional sort will continue to give pleasure long 
after the costume has perished. 



188 




Mrs. Conde Nast in Even- 
ing Dress 



EGYPT, BYZANTIUM, GREECE, ROME 191 

knife, for protection and domestic purposes, is 
descendent from the savage's cord and ancestor 
to that lovely bauble, the chatelaine of later 
days, with its attached fan, snuff-box and jew- 
elled watch. 




CHAPTER XVI 

DEVELOPMENT OF GOTHIC COSTUME 

[O the Romans, all who were not of 
Rome and her Empire, were foreign- 
ers, outsiders, people with a strange 
viewpoint, so they were given a name to indicate 
this; they were called "barbarians." 

Conspicuous among those tribes of barbarians, 
moved by human lust for gain to descend upon 
the Roman Empire and eventually bring about 
its fall, was the tribe of Goths, and in the course 
of centuries " Gothic " has become a generic 
term, implying that which is not Roman. We 
speak of Gothic architecture, Gothic art, Gothic 
costumes, when we mean, strictly speaking, the 
characteristic architecture, art and costuming 
of the late Middle Ages (twelfth to fifteenth 
centuries). 

But we find the so-called Gothic outline in 
costume as early as the fourth century. Over 

the undraped, one-piece robe of classic type, a 

192 



GOTHIC COSTUME 193 

second garment is now worn, cut with straight 
lines. It usually fastens behind, and the un- 
corseted figure is outlined. The neck is still col- 
larless and cut round, the space filled in with a 
necklace. The sleeves of the tunic appear to be 
the logical evolution of the folds of the toga, 
which fall over the arms when bent. They 
cling to the outline of the shoulder, broadening 
at the hand into what is called " angel " sleeves ; 
in art, the traditional angel wears them. 

Roman-Christian women wore their hair 
parted, no Psyche knot, and interesting, large 
earrings. The gowns were not draped, but were 
in one piece and with no fulness. A tunic, fol- 
lowing lines of the form, reached below the 
knees and was belted. This garment was 
trimmed with bands from shoulders to hem of 
tunic and kept the same width throughout, if 
narrow; but if wide, the bands broadened to 
the hem. The neck continued to be cut round, 
and filled in with a necklace. 

The cape, fastening on shoulders or chest, 
remnant of the Greek toga, was worn, and veils 
of various materials were the usual head cov- 
erings. 



194 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

Between the fifth and tenth centuries there 
are examples of the overgarment or tunic hav- 
ing a broad stomacher of some contrasting ma- 
terial, held in place with a cord, which is tied 
behind, brought around to the front, knotted 
and allowed to hang to bottom of skirt. 

Byzantine art between 800 and 1000 A. D. 
still shows women wearing tunics, but hanging 
straight from neck to hem of skirt, fastened on 
shoulders and opened at sides to show gown be- 
neath ; close sleeves with trimming at the wrists, 
often large, roughly cut jewels forming a border 
on tunic, and the hair worn in long braids on 
each side of the face; the coil of hair, which was 
wrapped with pearls or other beads, was parted 
and used to frame the face. 

This fashion was carried to excess by the 
Franks. We see some of their women between 
400 and 600 A. D. wearing these heavy, rope- 
like braids to the hem of the skirt in front. 

In the fourteenth century the Gothic cos- 
tume was perhaps at its most beautiful stage. 
The long robe, the upper part following the 
lines of the figure, with long close sleeves half 
covering hands, or flowing sleeves, that touched 



GOTHIC COSTUME 195 

the floor. About the waist was worn a silk cord 
or jewelled girdle, finely wrought and swung 
low on hips; from the end of which was sus- 
pended the money bag, fan and keys. 

The girdle begins now to play an important 
part as decoration. This theme, the evolution 
of the girdle, may be indefinitely enlarged upon 
but we must not dwell upon it here. 

In some cases we see that the tunic opened in 
the front and that the large, square, shawl-like 
outer garment of Greece now became the long 
circular cape, clasped on the chest (one or two 
clasps), made so familiar by the art of the 
Gothic and Renaissance periods. Turn to the 
illuminated manuscrips of those periods, to 
paintings, on wood, frescoes, stained glass, 
stucco, carved wood, and stone, and you will 
find the Mother of God invariably costumed 
in the simple one-piece robe and circular clasped 
cape. 

In most of the sacred art of the tenth, 
eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth and 
fifteenth centuries, the Virgin and other saints 
are depicted in the current costume of woman. 
The Virgin was the most frequent subject of 



196 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

artists in every medium, during the ages when 
the Church dominated the State in Europe. 

The refurnishing of the Virgin's wardrobe 
has long been and still is, a pious task and one 
clamoured for by adherents to the churches in 
which the Virgin's image is displayed to wor- 
shippers. We regret to say, for aesthetic reasons, 
that there is no effort made on the part of 
modern devotees to perpetuate the beautiful 
mediaeval type of costume. 

In some old paintings which come under the 
head of Folk Art, the Holy Family appears in 
national costume. The writer recalls a bit of 
eighteenth century painting, showing St. Anne 
holding the Virgin as child. St. Anne wears 
the bizarre fete attire of a Spanish peasant; a 
gigantic head-dress and veil, large earrings, 
wide stiff skirts, showing gay flowers on a back- 
ground of gold. The skirt is rather short, to 
display wide trousers below it. Her sleeves 
have filmy frills of deep white lace executed 
with skill. 

To return to the girdle, as we have said, it 
slipped from its position at the waist line, when 
it confined the classic folds, and was allowed 



PLATE XXI 



197 



Mrs. Conde Nast in a garden costume. She wears a 
sun-hat and carries a flower-basket, which are decorative as 
well as useful. 

We have chosen this photograph as an example of a 
costume made exquisitely artistic by being kept simple in 
line and free from an excess of trimming. 

This costume is so decorative that it gives distinction 
and interest to the least pretentious of gardens. 



198 




Mrs. Conde Nast in Gar- 
den Costume 



GOTHIC COSTUME 201 

hang loosely about the hips, clasped low in 
front. From this clasp a chain extended, to 
which were attached the housewife's keys or 
purse and the dame of fashion's fan. In fact 
one can tell, to a certain extent, the woman's 
class and period by carefully inspecting her 
chatelaine. 

The absence of waist line, and the long, 
straight effect produced in the body of gown by 
wearing the girdle swung about the hips, gives 
it the so-called Moyen Age silhouette, revived 
by the fashion of to-day. 

In the thirteenth century the round collar- 
less neck, low enough to admit a necklace of 
links or beads, persists. A new note is the outer 
sleeve laced across an inner sleeve of white. 

Let us remember that the costume of the 
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries was dis- 
tinguished by a quality of beautiful, sweeping 
line, massed colour, detail with raison d'etre, 
which produced dignity with graceful move- 
ment, found nowhere to-day, unless it be on the 
Wagnerian stage or in the boudoir of a woman 
who still takes time, in our age of hurry, to wear 
her negligee beautifully. 



202 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

In the fourteenth century the round neck 
continued, but one sees low necks too, which left 
the shoulders exposed (our 1830 style). 

Another new note is the tunic grown into a 
garment reaching to the feet, a one-piece " prin- 
cess " gown, with belt or girdle. Sometimes a 
Juliet cap was worn to merely cover the crown 
of head, with hair parted and flowing, while on 
matrons we see head coverings with sides turned 
up, like ecclesiastical caps, and floating veils 
falling to the waist. 

Notice that through all the peiods that we 
have named, which means until the fourteenth 
century, the line of shoulder remains normal 
and beautiful, sloping and melting into folds of 
robe or line of sleeve. We see now for the first 
time an inclination to tamper with the shoulder 
line. An inoffensive scallop appears, or some 
other decoration, as cap to sleeve. No harm 
done yet! 

The fifteenth century shows another style, 
a long sleeveless over-garment, reaching to the 
floor, fastened on shoulders and swinging 
loose, to show at sides the undergown. It 
suggests a priest's robe. Here we discover 



GOTHIC COSTUME 203 

one more of the Moyen Age styles revived 
to-day. 

The fourteenth century gowns, with necks 
cut out round, to admit a necklace with pend- 
ants, are still popular. The gowns are long on 
the ground, and the most beautiful of the char- 
acteristic head-dresses the long, pointed one, 
with veil covering it, and floating down from 
point of cap to hem of flowing skirt behind, con- 
tinues the movement of costume the long lines 
which follow one another. 

When correctly posed, this pointed head-dress 
is a delight to the eye. We recently saw a photo- 
graph of some fair young women in this type of 
Mediaeval or Gothic costume worn by them at 
a costume ball. Failing to realise that the pose 
of any head-dress (this means hats as well) is 
all-important, they had placed the quaint, long, 
pointed caps on the very tops of their heads, 
like fools' caps! 

The angle at which this head-dress is worn is 
half the battle. 

The importance of every woman's cultivating 
an eye for line cannot be overstated. 

In the fifteenth century we first see puffs at 



204 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

the elbow, otherwise the outlines of gown are 
the same. The garment in one piece, the body 
of it outlining the form, its skirts sweeping the 
ground ; a girdle about the hips, and long, close 
or flowing sleeves, wide at the hem. 

Despite the fourteenth century innovation of 
necks cut low and off the shoulders (berated by 
the Church), most necks in the fifteenth cen- 
tury are still cut round at the throat, and the 
necklace worn instead of collar. Some of the 
gowns cut low off the shoulders are filled in 
with a puffed tucker of muslin. The pointed 
cap with a floating veil is still seen. 

Notice that the restraint in line, colour and 
detail, gradually disappears, with the abnormal 
circulation of wealth, in those departments of 
Church and State to which the current of ma- 
terial things was diverted. We now see hu- 
manity tricked out in rich attire and staggering 
to its doom through general debaucheries. 

Rich brocades, once from Damascus, are now 
made in Venice; and so are wonderful satins, 
velvets and silks, with jewels many and mas- 
sive. 

Sometimes a broad jewelled band crossed the 



GOTHIC COSTUME 205 

breast from shoulder diagonally to under arm, 
at waist. 

The development of the petticoat begins now. 
At first we get only a glimpse of it, when our 
lady of the pointed cap lifts her long skirts, 
lined with another shade. It is of a rich con- 
trasting colour and is gradually elaborated. 

The waist -line, when indicated, is high. 

A new note is the hair, with throat and neck 
completely concealed by a white veil, a style 
we associate with nuns and certain folk cos- 
tumes. As fashion it had a passing vogue. 

Originally, the habit of covering woman's 
hair indicated modesty (an idea held among the 
Folk), and the gradual shrinking of the dimen- 
sions of her coif, records the progress of the 
peasant woman's emancipation, in certain coun- 
tries. This is especially conspicuous in Brit- 
tany, as M. Anatol Le Braz, the eminent Breton 
scholar, remarked recently to the writer. 

Note the silk bag, quite modern, on the arm ; 
also the jewelled line of chain hanging from 
girdle down the middle of front, to hem of 
skirt, both for use and ornament. 

To us of a practical era, a mysterious charm 



206 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

attaches to the long-pointed shoes worn at this 
period. 

In the fifteenth century, the marked division 
of costume into waist and skirt begins, the waist 
line more and more pinched in, the skirt 
more and more full, the sleeves and neck more 
elaborately trimmed, the head-dresses multi- 
plied in size, elaborateness and variety. Tex- 
tiles developed with wealth and ostenta- 
tion. 

In the sixteenth century the neck was usually 
cut out and worn low on the shoulders, some- 
times filled in, but we see also high necks ; necks 
with small ruffs and necks with large ruffs; ruffs 
turned down, forming stiff linen-cape collars, 
trimmed with lace, close to the throat or flaring 
from neck to show the throat. 

The hair is parted and worn low in a snood, 
or by young women, flowing. The ears are 
covered with the hair. 

The Virgin in Art 

When writing of the Gothic period in The 
Art of Interior Decoration, we have said ". . . 
Gothic art proceeds from the Christian Church 



PLATE XXII 



207 



Mrs. Conde Nast wearing one of the famous Fortuny 
tea gowns. 

This one has no tunic but is finely pleated, in the For- 
tuny manner, and falls in long lines, closely following the 
figure, to the floor. 

Observe the decorative value of the long string of beads. 



208 




Mrs. Conde Nast in a For- 
tuny Tea Gown 



GOTHIC COSTUME 211 

and stretches like a canopy over western Europe 
during the late Middle Ages. It was in the 
churches and monasteries that Christian Art, 
driven from pillar to post by wars, was obliged 
to take refuge, and there produced that mar- 
vellous development known as the Gothic style, 
of the Church, for the Church and by the 
Church, perfected in countless Gothic cathe- 
drals, crystallised glorias, lifting their manifold 
spires to heaven; ethereal monuments of an in- 
trepid Faith which gave material form to its 
adoration, its fasting and prayer, in an unriv- 
alled art. ..." 

" Crystallised glorias " (hymns to the Virgin) 
is as concise a defining of the nature and spirit 
of this highest type of mediaeval art perfected 
in France as we can find. Here we have de- 
ified woman inspiring an art miraculously 
decorative. 

Chartres Cathedral and Rheims (before the 
German invasion in 1914) with Mont Saint 
Michel, are distinguished examples. 

If the readers would put to the test our claim 
that woman as decoration is a beguiling theme 
worthy of days passed in the broad highways of 



212 WOMAN AS DECORATION . 

I 

art, and many an hour in cross-roads and un- 
beaten paths, we would recommend to them the 
fascinations of a marvellous story-teller, one 
who, knowing all there is to know of his subject, 
has had the genius to weave the innumerable and 
perplexing threads into a tapestry of words, 
where the main ideas take their places in the 
foreground, standing out clearly defined against 
the deftly woven, intelligible but unobtruding 
background. The author is Henry Adams, the 
book, The Cathedrals of Mont St. Michel and 
Chartres. He tells you in striking language, 
how woman was translated into pure decoration 
in the Middle Ages, woman as the Virgin 
Mother of God, the manifestation of Deity 
which took precedence over all others during 
the twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth centuries; 
and if you will follow him to the Chartres 
Cathedral (particularly if you have been there 
already), and will stand facing the great East 
Window, where in stained glass of the ancient 
jewelled sort, woman, as Mother of God, is en- 
throned above all, he will tell you how, out of 
the chaos of warring religious orders, the 
priestly schools of Abelard, St. Francis of 



GOTHIC COSTUME 213 

Assisi and others, there emerged the form of 
the Virgin. 

To woman, as mother of God and man, the 
instrument of reproduction, of tender care, of 
motherhood, the disputatious, groping mind of 
man agreed to bow, silenced and awed by the 
mystery of her calling. 

In view of the recent enrolling of woman- 
hood in the stupendous business of the war now 
waging in Europe, and the demands upon her to 
help in arming her men or nursing back to life 
the shattered remains of fair youth, which so 
bravely went forth, the thought comes that 
woman will play a large part in the art to arise 
from the ashes of to-day. Woman as- woman 
ready to supplement man, pouring into life's 
caldron the best of herself, unstinted, unmeas- 
ured; woman capable of serving beyond her 
strength, rising to her greatest height, bending, 
but not breaking to the end, if only assured 
she is needed. 




CHAPTER XVII 

THE RENAISSANCE 
Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries 

|HE marked departure is necks cut 
square, if low, and elaborate jewelled 
chains draped from shoulders, out- 
lining neck of gown and describing a festoon on 
front of waist, which is soon to become inde- 
pendent of skirt to develop on its own account. 

As in the fifteenth century, when necks were 
cut low off the shoulders, they were on occasions 
filled in with tuckers. 

The skirt now registers a new characteristic; 
it parts at the waist line over a petticoat, and 
the opening is decorated by the ornamental, 
heavy chain which hangs from girdle to hem of 
gown. 

One sees the hair still worn coiled low in the 
neck, concealing the ears and held in a snood 
or iii Italy cut " Florentine " fashion with fringe 

on brow. 

214 



THE RENAISSANCE 215 

Observe How the wealth of the Roman Em- 
pire, through its new trade channels opening 
up with the East (the result of the crusades) led 
to the importation of rich and many-coloured 
Oriental stuffs; the same wealth ultimately es- 
tablished looms in Italy for making silks and 
velvets, to decorate man and his home. There 
was no longer simplicity in line and colour 
scheme; gorgeous apparel fills the frames of the 
Renaissance and makes amusing reading for 
those who consult old documents. The clothes 
of man, like his over-ornate furniture, show a 
debauched and vulgar taste. Instead of the 
lines which follow one another, solid colours, 
and trimmings kept to hem of neck and sleeve 
and skirt, great designs, in satins and velvet bro- 
cades, distort the lines and proportions of man 
and woman. 

The good Gothic lines lived on in the cos- 
tumes of priests and nuns. 

Jewelry ceased to be decoration with mean- 
ing; lace and fringe, tassels and embroidery, 
with colour combinations to rival the African 
parrots, disfigured man and woman alike. 

During November of 1916, New York was 



216 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

so fortunate as to see, at the American Art Gal- 
leries, the great collection of late Gothic and 
early Renaissance furniture and other art treas- 
ures, brought together in the restored Davanzati 
Palace of Florence, Italy. The collection was 
sold at auction, and is now scattered. Of course 
those who saw it in its natural setting in Flor- 
ence, were most fortunate of all. But with some 
knowledge and imagination, at the sight of 
those wonderful things, hand-made all of them, 
the most casual among those who crowded 
the galleries for days, must have gleaned a vivid 
impression of how woman of the Early Renais- 
sance lived, in her kitchen, dining-room, bed- 
room and reception-rooms. They displayed her 
cooking utensils, her chairs and tables, her silver, 
glass and earthenware, her bed, linen, satin 
damask, lace and drawn work; the cushions she 
rested against; portraits in their gorgeous Flor- 
entine frames, showing us how those early 
Italians dressed; the colored terra cottas, un- 
speakably beautiful presentments of the Virgin 
and Child, moulded and painted by great artists 
under that same exaltation of Faith which 
brought into being the sister arts of the time, 



PLATE XXIII 



217 



Mrs. Vernon Castle who set to-day's fashion in out- 
line of costume and short hair for the young woman 
of America. For this reason and because Mrs. Castle has 
form to a superlative degree (correct carriage of the body) 
and the clothes sense (knowledge of what she can wear 
and how to wear it) we have selected her to illustrate 
several types of costumes, characteristic of 1916 and 1917. 

Another reason for asking Mrs. Castle to illustrate 
our text is, that what Mrs. Castle's professional dancing 
has done to develop and perfect her natural instinct for 
line, the normal exercise of going about one's tasks and 
diversions can do for any young woman, provided she 
keep in mind correct carriage of body when in action or 
repose. Here we see Mrs. Castle in ball costume. 



218 




Mrs. Fernon Castle in Ball 
Costume 



THE RENAISSANCE 221 

imbuing them with something truly divine. 
There is no disputing that quality which radi- 
ates from the face of both the Mother and the 
Child. One all but kneels before it. Their ex- 
pression is not of this world. 

That is woman as the Mother of God in art. 
Woman as the mother of man, who looked on 
these inspired works of art, lived for the most 
part in small houses built of wood with thatched 
roofs, unpaved streets, dirty interiors, which 
were cleaned but once a week on Saturdays! 
The men of the aristocracy hunted and engaged 
in commerce, and the general rank and file gave 
themselves over to the gaining of money to in- 
crease their power. It sounds not unlike New 
York to-day. 

Gradually the cities grew large and rich. 
People changed from simple sober living to 
elaborate and less temperate ways, and the great 
families, with their proportionately increased 
wealth gained through trade, built beautiful pal- 
aces and built them well. The gorgeous colour- 
ing of the frescoed walls shows Byzantine in- 
fluence. In The Art of Interior Decoration we 
have described at length the house furnishing 



222 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

of that time. Against this background moved 
woman, man's mate; note her colour scheme 
and then her role. (We quote from Jahn Rus- 
coni in Les Arts, Paris, August, 1911.) 

" Donna Francesca dei Albizzi's cloak of 
black cloth ornamented on a yellow back- 
ground with birds, parrots, butterflies, pink 
and red roses, and a few other red and green 
figures ; dragons, letters and trees in yellow and 
black, and again other figures made of white 
cloth with red and black stripes." 

Extravagance ran high not only in dress, 
but in everything, laws were made to regulate 
the amount spent on all forms of entertain- 
ment, even on funerals, and the cook who was 
to prepare a wedding feast had to submit his 
menu for approval to the city authorities. 
More than this, only two hundred guests could 
be asked to a wedding, and the number of 
presents which the bride was allowed to re- 
ceive was limited by law. But wealth and 
fashion ran away with laws; the same old story. 

As the tide of the Renaissance rose and 
swept over Europe (the awakening began in 
Italy), the woman of the gorgeous cloak and 



THE RENAISSANCE 223 

her contemporaries, according to tKe vivid de- 
scription of the last quoted author, were " sub- 
ject to their husbands' tyranny, not even know- 
ing how to read in many cases, occupied with 
their household duties, in which they were 
assisted by rough and uncouth slaves, with no 
other mission in life than to give birth to a 
numerous posterity. . . . This life ruined 
them, and their beauty quickly faded away; 
no wonder, then, that they summoned art to 
the aid of nature. The custom was so com- 
mon and the art so perfect that even a painter 
like Taddeo Gaddi acknowledged that the 
Florentine women were the best painters in 
the world! . . . Considering the mental 
status of the women, it is easy to imagine to 
what excesses they were given in the matter of 
dress." The above assertions relate to the aver- 
age woman, not the great exceptions. 

The marriage coffers of woman of the Ren- 
aissance in themselves give an idea of her 
luxurious tastes. They were about six feet 
long, three feet high, and two and a half feet 
deep. Some had domed covers opening on 
hinges the whole was carved, gilded and 



224 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

painted, the background of reds and blues 
throwing the gold into relief. Scenes taken 
from mythology were done in what was known 
as " pastille," composition work raised and 
painted on a gold background. On one fif- 
teenth century marriage coffer, Bacchus and 
Ariadne were shown in their triumphal car 
drawn by winged griffins, a young Bacchante 
driving them on. Another coffer decorated in 
the same manner had as decoration " The Rape 
of Proserpine." 

Women rocked their infants in sumptuous 
carved and emblazoned walnut cradles, and 
crimson satin damask covered their beds and 
cushions. This blaze of gold and silver, crim- 
son and blue we find as the wake of Byzantine 
trade, via Constantinople, Venice, Rome, Flor- 
ence on to France, Spain, Germany, Holland, 
Flanders and England. Carved wood, crimson, 
green and blue velvets, satin damask, tapestries, 
gold and silver fringe and lace. Against all 
this moved woman, costumed sumptuously. 

Gradually the line of woman's (and man's) 
neck is lost in a ruff, her sweeping locks, 
instead of parted on her brow, entwined with 



THE RENAISSANCE 225 

pearls or other gems to frame her face and 
make long lines down the length of her robe, 
are huddled under grotesque head-dresses, 
monstrous creations, rising and spreading until 
they become caricatures, defying art. 

In some sixteenth century Italian portraits 
we see the ruff flaring from a neck cut out 
square and low in front, then rising behind to 
form a head covering. 

The last half of the sixteenth century is 
marked by gowns cut high in the neck with 
a close collar, and the appearance of a 
small ruff encircling the throat. This ruff 
almost at once increased to absurd dimen- 
sions. 

The tightly laced long-pointed bodice now 
appears, with and without padded hips. (The 
superlative degree of this type is to be seen 
in portraits by Velasquez (see Plate IX). 

Long pointed toes to the shoes give way to 
broad, square ones. 

Another sixteenth century departure is the 
absurdly small hat, placed as if by the wind, 
at a careless angle on the hair, which is curled 
and piled high. 



226 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

Also we see hats of normal size with many 
plumes, on both men and women. 

Notice the sleeves: some are still flowing, 
with tight undersleeves, others slashed to show 
full white sleeve beneath. But most important 
of all is that the general license, moral and ar- 
tistic, lays its ruthless hand on woman's beau- 
tiful, sweeping shoulder line and distorts it. 
Anne of Cleves, or the progressive artist who 
painted her, shows in a portrait the Queen's 
flowing sleeves with mediaeval lines, clasped 
by a broad band between elbow and shoulder^ 
and then pushed up until the sleeve forms an 
ugly puff. A monstrous fashion, this, and one 
soon to appear in a thousand mad forms. Its 
first vicious departure is that small puffy, sense- 
lessly insinuated line between arm-hole and top 
of sleeve in garments for men as well as women. 

Skirts button from point of basque to feet 
just before we see them, in the seventeenth 
century, parting down the front and separating 
to show a petticoat. In Queen Elizabeth's 
time the acme of this style was reached by 
Spanish women as we see in Velasquez's por- 
traits. Gradually the overskirt is looped back, 



PLATE XXIV 



227 



Mrs. Vernon Castle in Winter afternoon costume, one 
which is so suited to her type and at the same time con- 
servative as to outline and detail, that it would have charm 
whether in style or not. 



228 




Victor Georg Chicago 

Mrs. Vernon Castle in Af- 
ternoon Costume Winter 



THE RENAISSANCE 231 

(at first only a few inches), and tied with 
narrow ribbons. 

The second quarter of the seventeenth cen- 
tury shows the waist line drawn in and bodice 
with skirts a few inches in depth. These 
skirts are the hall-mark of a basque. 

Very short, full coats flaring from under 
arms now appear. 

After the skirt has been pushed back and 
held with ribbons, we find gradually all ful- 
ness of upper skirt pushed to hips to form 
paniers, and across the back to form a bustle 
effect, until we have the Marie Antoinette 
type, late eighteenth century. Far more grace- 
ful and seduisant than the costume of Queen 
Elizabeth's time. 

The figures presented by Marie Antoinette 
and her court, powdered wigs and patches, 
paniers and enormous hats, surmounting the 
horsehair erections, heavy with powder and 
grease, lace, ribbon flowers and jewels, are 
quaint, delightful and diverting, but not to be 
compared with the Greek or mediaeval lines 
in woman's costume. 

Extremely extended skirts gave way to an 



2 3 2 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

interlude of full skirts, but flowing lines in the 
eighteenth century English portraits. 

The Directoire reaction towards simplicity 
was influenced by English fashion. 

Empire formality under classic influence 
came next. Then Victorian hoops which were 
succeeded by the Victorian bustles, pantalets, 
black velvet at throat and wrists, and lockets. 




CHAPTER XVIII 

EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 

eighteenth century is unique by 
reason of scientific discoveries, me- 
chanical inventions and chemical 
achievements, coupled with the gigantic po- 
litical upheaval of the French Revolution. 

It is unique, distinguished and enormously 
fruitful. For example, the modern frenzy for 
chintz, which has made our homes burst into 
bloom in endless variety, had its origin in the 
eighteenth century looms at Jouy, near Ver- 
sailles, under the direction of Oberkampf. 

Before 1760 silks and velvets decorated man 
and his home. Royal patronage co-operating 
with the influence of such great decorators as 
Percier and Fontaine gave the creating of beau- 
tiful stuffs to the silk factories of Lyons. 

Printed linens and painted wall papers ap- 
peared in France simultaneously, and for the 
same reason. The Revolution set mass-taste 

233 



234 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

(which is often stronger than individual in- 
clination), toward unostentatious, inexpensive 
materials for house furnishing and wearing 
apparel. 

The Revolution had driven out royalty and 
the high aristocracy who, with changed names 
lived in seclusion. Society, therefore, to meet 
the mass-desire, was driven to simple ways 
of living. Men gave up their silks and velvets 
and frills, lace and jewels for cloth, linen, and 
sombre neck-cloths. The women did the same; 
they wore muslin gowns and their own hair, 
and went to great length in the affectation of 
simplicity and patriotic fervour. 

We hear that, apropos of America having at 
this moment entered the great struggle with 
the Central Powers, simplicity is decreed as 
smart for the coming season, and that those 
who costume themselves extravagantly, furnish 
their homes ostentatiously or allow their tables 
to be lavish, will be frowned upon as bad 
form and unpatriotic. 

These reactions are inevitable, and come 
about with the regularity of tides in this world 
of perpetual repetition. 



EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 235 

The belles of the Directorate shook their 
heads and bobbed their pretty locks at the 
artificiality Marie Antoinette et cie had prac- 
tised. I fear they called it sinful art to deftly 
place a patch upon the face, or make a head- 
dress in the image of a man-of-war. 

Mme. de StaeFs familiar head-dress, twisted 
and wrapped around her head a la Turque, is 
said to have had its origin in the improvisation 
of the court hairdresser. Desperately groping 
for another version of the top-heavy erection, 
to humour the lovely queen, he seized upon a 
piece of fine lace and muslin hanging on a 
chair at hand, and twisting it, wrapped the 
thing about the towering wig. As it happened, 
the chiffon was my lady's chemise! 

We begin the eighteenth century with a full 
petticoat, trimmed with rows of ruffles or 
bands; an overskirt looped back into paniers 
to form the bustle effect; the natural hair pow- 
dered; and head-dress of lace, standing out 
stiffly in front and drooping in a curtain behind. 

It was not until the whim of Marie An- 
toinette decreed it so, that the enormous pow- 
dered wigs appeared. 



236 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

Viennese temperament alone accounts for the 
moods of this lovely tragic queen, who played 
at making butter, in a cap and apron, over 
simple muslin frocks, but outdid her artificial 
age in love of artifice (not Art) in dress. 

This gay and dainty puppet of relentless Fate 
propelled by varying moods must needs lose 
her lovely head at last, as symbol of her time. 



PLATE XXV 



237 



Mrs. Vernon Castle in a summer afternoon costume 
appropriate for city or country and so adapted to the 
wearer's type that she is a picture, whether in action; 
seated on her own porch; having tea at the country club; 
or in the Winter sun-parlour. 



238 




Mrs. Vernon Castle in Af- 
ternoon Costume Summer 




CHAPTER XIX 

WOMAN IN THE VICTORIAN PERIOD 

JHE first seventy years of the nine- 
teenth century seem to us of 1917 
absolutely incredible in regard to 
dress. How our great-great-grandmothers ever 
got about on foot, in a carriage or stage-coach, 
moved in a crowd or even sat in any measure 
of serenity at home, is a mystery to us of an 
age when comfort, convenience, fitness and chic 
have at last come to terms. For a vivid pic- 
ture of how our American society looked be- 
tween 1800 and 1870, read Miss Elizabeth 
McClellan's Historic Dress in America, pub- 
lished in 1910 by George W. Jacobs & Co., of 
Philadelphia. The book is fascinating and it 
not only amuses and informs, but increases one's 
self-respect, if a woman, for modern woman 
dressed in accordance with her role. 
We can see extravagant wives point out with 

glee to tyrant mates how, in the span of years 

241 



242 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

between 1800 and 1870 our maternal forebears 
made money fly, even in the Quaker City. 
Fancy paying in Philadelphia at that time, 
$1500 for a lace scarf, $400 for a shawl, $100 
for the average gown of silk, and $50 for a 
French bonnet! Miss McClellan, quoting from 
Mrs. Roger Pryof's Memoirs, tells how she, 
Mrs. Pryor, as a young girl in Washington, 
was awakened at midnight by a note from the 
daughter of her French milliner to say that a 
box of bonnets had arrived from Paris. Mamma 
had not yet unpacked them and if she would 
come at once, she might have her pick of the 
treasures, and Mamma not know until too late 
to interfere. And this was only back in the 
o's, we should say. 

Then think of the hoops, and wigs and ab- 
surdly furbished head-dresses ; paper-soled shoes, 
some intended only to sit in; bonnets enormous; 
laces of cobweb; shawls from India by camel 
and sailing craft; rouge, too, and hair grease, 
patches and powder; laced waists and cramped 
feet; low necks and short sleeves for children 
in school-rooms. 

Man was then still decorative here and in 



THE VICTORIAN PERIOD 243 

western Europe. To-day he is not decorative, 
unless in sports clothes or military uniform; 
woman's garments furnish all the colour. 
Whistler circumvented this fact when painting 
Theodore Duret (Metropolitan Museum) in 
sombre black broadcloth, modern evening at- 
tire, by flinging over the arm of Duret, the 
delicate pink taffeta and chiffon cloak of a 
woman, and in M. Duret's hand he places a 
closed fan of pomegranate red. 




CHAPTER XX 

SEX IN COSTUMING 

IUROPEAN dress " is the term ac- 
cepted to imply the costume of man 
and woman which is entirely cos- 
mopolitan, decrying continuity of types (of 
costume) and thoroughly plastic in the hands 
of fashion 

To-day, we say parrot-like, that certain ma- 
terials, lines and colours are masculine or fem- 
inine. They are so merely by association. The 
modern costuming of man the world over, if 
he appear in European dress (we except court 
regalia), is confined to cloth, linen or cotton, 
in black, white and inconspicuous colours; a 
prescribed and simple type of neckwear, foot- 
wear, hat, stick, and hair cut. 

The progenitor of the garments of modern 
men was the Lutheran-Puritan-Revolutionary 
garb, the hall-mark of democracy. 

It is true that when silk was first introduced 
244 



SEX IN COSTUMING 245 

into Europe, from the Orient, the Greeks and 
early Romans considered it too effeminate for 
man's use, but this had to do with the doctrine 
of austere denial for the good of the state. To 
wear the costume of indolence implied inac- 
tivity and induced it. As a matter of fact, 
some of the master spirits of Greece did wear 
silks. 

In Ancient Egypt, Assyria, Media, Persia 
and the Far East, men and women wore the 
same materials, as in China and Japan to- 
day. Egyptian men and their contemporaries 
throughout Byzantium, wore gowns, in outline 
identical with those of the women. Among the 
Turks, trousers were always considered as ap- 
propriate for women as for men, and both men 
and women wore over the trousers, a long gar- 
ment not unlike those of the women in the 
Gothic period. 

Thais wore a gilded wig, but so did the men 
she knew, and they added gilded false 
beards. 

Assyrian kings wore earrings, bracelets and 
wonderful clasps with chains, by which the 
folds of their draped garment, cut like the 



246 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

woman's, might be caught up and held securely, 
leaving feet, arms and hands free for action. 

When the genius of the Byzantine, Greek 
and Venetian manufacturers of silks and vel- 
vets, rich in texture and ablaze with colour, 
were offered for sale to the Romans, whose 
passion for display had increased with their 
fortunes, and consequent lives of dissipation, 
we find there was no distinction made between 
the materials used by man and woman. 

It is no exaggeration to say that the Renais- 
sance spells brocade. Great designs and small 
ones sprawled over the figures of man and 
woman alike. 

Lace was as much his as hers to use for wide, 
elaborate collars and cuffs. Embroidery be- 
longed to both, and the men (like the women) 
of Germany, France, Italy and England wore 
many plumes on their big straw hats and metal 
helmets. The intercommunication between the 
Orient and all of the countries of the Western 
Hemisphere, and the abundance and variety 
of human trappings bewildered and vitiated 
taste. 

Unfortunately the change in line of costume 



PLATE XXVI 



247 



Mrs. Vernon Castle costumed a la guerre for a walk 
in the country. 

The cap is after one worn by her aviator husband. 

This is one of the costumes there are many being 
worn by women engaged in war work under the head of 
messengers, chauffeurs, etc. 

The shoes are most decidedly not for service, but they 
will be replaced when the time is at hand, for others of 
stout leather with heavy soles and flat heels. 



248 




Mrs. Vernon Castle Cos- 
tumed a la Guerre for a Walk 



SEX IN COSTUMING 251 

has not moved parallel to the line in furniture. 
The revival of classic interior decoration in 
Italy, Spain, France, Germany, England, etc., 
did not at once revive the classic lines in 
woman's clothes. 



CHAPTER XXI 

LINE AND COLOUR OF COSTUMES IN HUNGARY 




JHE idea that man decorative, by rea- 
son of colour or line in costume, is 
of necessity either masquerading or 
effeminate, proceeds chiefly from the conven- 
tional nineteenth and twentieth century point of 
view in America and western Europe. But even 
in those parts of the world we are accustomed 
to colour in the uniforms of army and navy, the 
crimson " hood " of the university doctor, and 
red sash of the French Legion of Honour. We 
accept colour as a dignified attribute of man's 
attire in the cases cited, and we do not forget 
that our early nineteenth century American 
masculine forebears wore bright blue or vivid 
green coats, silver and brass buttons and red or 
yellow waistcoats. The gentleman sportsman 
of the early nineteenth century hunted in 
bright blue tailed coats with brass buttons, 
scarlet waistcoat, tight breeches and top hat! 

252 



COSTUMES IN HUNGARY 253 

We refer to the same class of man who to-day 
wears rough, natural coloured tweeds, leather 
coat and close cap that his prey may not see 
him. 

In a sense, colour is a sign of virility when 
used by man. We have the North American 
Indian with his gay feathers, blankets and war 
paint, and the European peasant in his gala 
costume. In many cases colour is as much his 
as his woman's. Some years ago, when collect- 
ing data concerning national characteristics as 
expressed in the art of the Slavs, Magyars and 
Czechs, the writer studied these peoples in 
their native settings. We went first to Hungary 
and were disappointed to find Buda Pest far too 
cosmopolitan to be of value for the study of 
national costume, music or drama. The domi- 
nating and most artistic element in Hungary 
is the Magyar, and we were there to study him. 
But even the Gypsies who played the Magyar 
music in our hotel orchestra, wore the black 
evening dress of western Europe and patent 
leather shoes, and the music they played was 
from the most modern operettas. It was not 
until a world-famous Hungarian violinist 



254 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

arrived to give concerts in Buda Pest that the 
national spirit of the Gypsies was stirred to 
play the Magyar airs in his honour. (Gypsies 
take on the spirit of any adopted land). We 
then realised what they could make of the 
Recockzy march and other folk music. 

The experience of that evening spurred us 
to penetrate into southern Hungary, the heart 
of Magyar land, armed with letters of introduc- 
tion, from one of the ministers of education, to 
mayors of the peasant villages. 

It was impossible to get on without an in- 
terpreter, as usually even the mayors knew only 
the Magyar language not a word of German. 
That was the perfect region for getting at 
Magyar character expressed in the colour 
and line of costume, manner of living, point 
of view, folk song and dance. It is all still 
vividly clear to our mind's eye. We saw the 
first Magyar costumes in a village not far from 
Buda Pest. To make the few miles quickly, 
we had taken an electric trolley, vastly superior 
to anything in New York at the time of which 
we speak; and were let off in the centre of a 
group of small, low thatched cottages, white- 



COSTUMES IN HUNGARY 255 

washed, and having a broad band of one, two 
or three colours, extending from the ground to 
about three feet above it, and completely encir- 
cling the house. The favourite combination 
seemed to be blue and red, in parallel stripes. 
Near one of these houses we saw a very old 
woman with a long lashed whip in her hand, 
guarding two or three dark, curly, long-legged 
Hungarian pigs. She wore high boots, many 
short skirts, a shawl and a head-kerchief. Pres- 
ently two other figures caught our eye: a man 
in a long cape to the tops of his boots, made 
of sheepskin, the wool inside, the outside deco- 
rated with bright-coloured wools, outlining 
crude designs. The black fur collar was the 
skin of a small black lamb, legs and tail show- 
ing, as when stripped off the little animal. 
The man wore a cone-shaped hat of black lamb 
and his hair reached to his shoulders. He 
smoked a very long-stemmed pipe with a china 
bowl, as he strolled along. Behind him a 
woman walked, bowed by the weight of an 
immense sack. She wore boots to the knees, 
many full short skirts, and a yellow and red 
silk head-kerchief. By her head-covering we 



256 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

knew her to be a married woman. They were 
a farmer and his wife! Among the Magyars 
the man is very decidedly the peacock; the 
woman is the pack-horse. On market days he 
lounges in the sunshine, wrapped in his long 
sheepskin cape, and smokes, while she plies the 
trade. In the farmers' homes of southern Hun- 
gary where we passed some time, we, as Ameri- 
cans, sat at table with the men of the house, 
while wife and daughter served. There was 
one large dish of food in the centre, into which 
every one dipped! The women of the peasant 
class never sit at table with their men; they 
serve them and eat afterwards, and they always 
address them in the second person as, "Will 
your graciousness have a cup of coffee? " Also 
they always walk behind the men. At country 
dances we have seen young girls in bright, very 
full skirts, with many ribbons braided into the 
hair, cluster shyly at a short distance from 
the dancing platform in the fair grounds, wait- 
ing to be beckoned or whistled to by one of 
the sturdy youths with skin-tight trousers, 
tucked into high boots, who by right of might, 
has stationed himself on the platform. When 



PLATE XXVII 



257 



Mrs. Vernon Castle in one of her dancing costumes. 

She was snapped by the camera as she sprang into a pose 
of mere joyous abandon at the conclusion of a long series 
of more or less exacting poses. 

Mrs. Castle assures us that to repeat the effect pro- 
duced here, in which camera, lucky chance and favourable 
wind combined, would be well-nigh impossible. 



258 







; 



Mrs. Vernon Castle 
A Fantasy 



COSTUMES IN HUNGARY 261 

they have danced, generally a czardas, the girl 
goes back to the group of women, leaving the 
man on the platform in command of the situa- 
tion! Yet already in 1897 women were being 
admitted to the University of Buda Pest. There 
in Hungary one could see woman run the whole 
gamut of her development, from man's slave 
to man's equal. 

We found the national colour scheme to 
have the same violent contrasts which char- 
acterise the folk music and the folk poetry of 
the Magyars. 

Primitive man has no use for half-tones. It 
was the same with the Russian peasants and 
with the Poles. Our first morning in Krakau 
a great clattering of wheels and horses' hoofs 
on the cobbled court of our hotel, accompanied 
by the cracking of a whip and voices, drew 
us to our window. At first we thought a 
strolling circus had arrived, but no, that man 
with the red crown to his black fur cap, a 
peacock's feather fastened to it by a fantastic 
brooch, was just an ordinary farmer in Sunday 
garb. In the neighbourhood of Krakau the 
young men wear frock coats of white cloth, 



262 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

over bright red, short tight coats, and their 
light-coloured skin-tight trousers, worn inside 
knee boots, are embroidered in black down the 
fronts. 

One afternoon we were the guests of a Polish 
painter, who had married a pretty peasant, 
his model. He was a gentleman by birth and 
breeding, had studied art in Paris and spoke 
French, German and English. His wife, a 
child of the soil, knew only the dialect of her 
own province, but with the sensitive response 
of a Pole, eagerly waited to have translated 
to her what the Americans were saying of life 
among women in their country. She served us 
with tea and liquor, the red heels of her high 
boots clicking on the wooden floor as she 
moved about. As colour and as line, of a kind, 
that young Polish woman was a feast to the 
eye; full scarlet skirt, standing out over many 
petticoats and reaching only to the tops of her 
knee boots, full white bodice, a sleeveless jacket 
to the waist line, made of brightly coloured 
cretonne, outlined with coloured beads; a bright 
yellow head-kerchief bound her soft brown 
hair; her eyes were brown, and her skin like 



COSTUMES IN HUNGARY 263 

a yellow peach. On her neck hung strings of 
coral and amber beads. There was indeed a 
decorative woman! As for her background, 
it was simple enough to throw into relief the 
brilliant vision that she was. Not, however, 
a scheme of interior decoration to copy! The 
walls were whitewashed; a large stove of 
masonry was built into one corner, and four 
beds and a cradle stood on the other side of 
the room, over which hung in a row five vir- 
gins, the central one being the Black Virgin 
beloved by the Poles. The legend is that the 
original was painted during the life of the 
Virgin, on a panel of dark wood. Here, too, 
was the marriage chest, decorated with a crude 
design in bright colours. The children, three 
or four of them, ran about in the national cos- 
tume, miniatures of their mother, but barefoot. 
It was the same in Hungary, when we were 
taken by the mayor of a Magyar town to visit 
the characteristic farmhouse of a highly pros- 
perous farmer, said to be worth two hundred 
thousand dollars. The table was laid in the 
end of a room having four beds in it On 
inquiring later, we were told that they were 



264 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

not ordinarily used by the family, but were 
heaped with the reserve bedding. In other 
words, they were recognised by the natives as 
indicating a degree of affluence, and were a 
bit of ostentation, not the overcrowding of 
necessity. 




CHAPTER XXII 

STUDYING LINE AND COLOUR IN RUSSIA 

X)M Hungary we continued our 
quest of line and colour of folk cos- 
tume into Russia. 
Strangely enough, Russia throws off the im- 
perial yoke of autocracy, declaring for demo- 
cratic principles, at the very moment we under- 
take to put into words the vivid picturesqueness 
resulting largely from the causes of this as- 
tounding revolution. Have you been in Rus- 
sia? Have you seen with your own eyes any 
phase of the violent contrasts which at last 
have caused the worm to turn? Our object 
being to study national characteristics as ex- 
pressed in folk costume, folk song, folk dance, 
traditional customs and fetes, we consulted 
students of these subjects, whom we chanced to 
meet in London, Paris, Vienna and Buda Pest, 
with the result that we turned our faces toward 
southern or " Little " Russia, as the part least 

affected by cosmopolitan influences. 

265 



266 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

Kiev was our headquarters, and it is well 
to say at once that we found what we sought, 
ample opportunity to observe the genuine Rus- 
sian, the sturdy, dogged, plodding son of toil, 
who, more than any other European peasant 
seems a part of the soil, which in sullen 
persistency he tills. We knew already the 
Russians of Petrograd and Moscow; one 
meets them in Paris, London, Vienna, at 
German and Austrian Cures and on the 
Riviera. They are everywhere and always 
distinctive by reason of their Slav tempera- 
ment; a magnetic race quality which is Asiatic 
in its essence. We recognise it, we are stirred 
by it, we are drawn to it in their literature, 
their music, their painting and in the Russian 
people themselves. The quality is an integral 
part of Russian nature; polishing merely in- 
creases its attraction as with a gem. One 
instance of this is the folk melody as treated 
by Tschaikowsky compared with its simple 
form as sung or danced by the peasant. 

Some of the Russian women of the fashion- 
able world are very decorative. Our first im- 
pression of this type was in Paris, at the Russian 



PLATE XXVIII 



267 



A skating costume worn by Miss Weld of Boston, 
holder of the Woman's Figure Skating Championship. 

This photograph was taken in New York on March 23, 
1917, when amateurs contested for the cup and Miss 
Weld won this time over the men. 

The costume of wine-coloured velvet trimmed with 
moleskin, a small close toque to match, was one of the 
most appropriate and attractive models of 1916-1917. 



268 





Courtesy of New York Herald 

Modern Skating Costume 
79/7 Winner of Amateur 
Championship of Fancy Skat- 
ing 



LINE AND COLOUR IN RUSSIA 271 

Church on Christmas (or was it some other 
holy day?) when to the amazement of the un- 
initiated the Russian women of the aristocracy 
appeared at the morning service hatless and 
in full evening dress, wearing jewels as if for 
a function at some secular court. Their mascu- 
line escorts appeared in full regalia, the light 
of the altar candles adding mystery to the glit- 
ter of gold lace and jewels. Those occasions 
are picturesque in the extreme. 

The congregation stands, as in the Jewish syna- 
gogues, and those of highest rank are nearest 
the altar, invariably ablaze with gold, silver 
and precious stones, while on occasions the 
priest wears cloth of gold. 

In Paris this background and the whole 
ccene was accepted as a part of the pageant 
of that city, but in Kiev it was different. There 
we got the other side of the picture; the man 
and the woman who are really Russia, the ele- 
ment that finds an outlet in the folk music, 
for its age-old rebellious submission. One 
hears the soul of the Russian pulsating in the 
continued reiteration of the same theme; it is 
like the endless treadmill of a life without 



272 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

vistas. We were looking at the Russia of 
Maxim Gorky, the Russia that made Tolstoy 
a reformer; that has now forced its Czar to 
abdicate. 

We reached Kiev just before the Easter of 
the Greek Church, the season when the pil- 
grims, often as many as fifty thousand of them, 
tramp over the frozen roads from all parts of 
the empire to expiate their sins, kneeling at 
the shrine of one of their mummied, sainted 
bishops. 

The men and women alike, clad in grimy 
sheepskin coats, moved like cattle in strag- 
gling droves, over the roads which lead to 
Kiev. From a distance one cannot tell man 
from woman, but as they come closer, one 
sees that the woman has a bright kerchief tied 
round her head, and red or blue peasant em- 
broidery dribbles below her sheepskin coat. 
She is as stocky as a Shetland pony and her 
face is weather-beaten, with high cheekbones 
and brown eyes. The man wears a black 
astrachan conical cap and his hair is long and 
bushy, from rubbing bear grease into it. He 
walks with a crooked staff, biblical in style, 



LINE AND COLOUR IN RUSSIA 273 

and carries his worldly goods in a small bundle 
flung over his shoulder. The woman carries 
her own small burden. As they shuffle past, 
a stench arises from the human herd. It comes 
from the sheepskin, which is worked in, slept 
in, and, what is more, often inherited from a 
parent who had also worn it as his winter hide. 
Added to the smell of the sheepskin is that of 
an unwashed human, and the reek of stale 
food, for the poorest of the Russian peasants 
have no chimneys to their houses. They can- 
not afford to let the costly heat escape. 

Kiev, the holy city and capital of Ancient 
Russia, climbs from its ancestral beginnings, 
on the banks of the River Dneiper, up the 
steep sides and over the summit of a command- 
ing hilltop, crowned by an immense gold cross, 
illumined with electricity by night, to flash its 
message of hope to foot-sore pilgrims. The 
driver of our drosky drove us over the rough 
cobbles so rapidly, despite the hill, that we 
were almost overturned. It is the manner of 
Russian drosky drivers. The cathedral, our 
goal, was snowy-white, with frescoes on the 
outer walls, onion-shaped domes of bronze 



274 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

turned green; or gold, or blue with stars of 
gold. 

We entered and found the body of the 
church well filled by peasants, women and 
men in sheepskin. One poor doe-eyed creature 
crouched to press his forehead twenty times at 
least on the stone floor of the church. Eagerly, 
like a flock of sheep, they all pushed forward 
to where a richly-robed priest held a cross of 
gold for each to kiss, taking their proffered 
kopeks. 

The setting sun streamed through the an- 
cient stained glass, dyeing their dirty sheep- 
skin crimson, and purple, and green, until they 
looked like illuminations in old missals. To 
the eye and the mind of western Europe it 
was all incomprehensible. Yet those were 
the people of Russia who are to-day her mass 
of armed defenders; the element that has 
been counted on from the first by Russia and 
her allies stood penniless before an altar 
laid over with gold and silver and precious 
stones. Just before we got to Kiev, one of 
those men in sheepskins with uncut hair and 
dogged expression, who had a sense of values 



LINE AND COLOUR IN RUSSIA 275 

in human existence, broke into the church and 
stole jeweled chalices from the altar. They 
were traced to a pawnshop in a distant city 
and brought back. It was a common thing to 
see men halt in the street and stand uncovered, 
while a pitiful funeral cortege passed. A 
wooly, half-starved, often lame horse, was 
harnessed with rope to a simple four-wheeled 
farm wagon, a long-haired peasant at his 
head, women and children holding to the sides 
of the cart as they stumbled along in grief, and 
inside a rough wooden coffin covered with a 
black pall, on which was sewn the Greek cross, 
in white. Heartless, hopeless, weary and 
underfed, those peasants were taking their 
dead to be blessed for a price, by the priest in 
cloth of gold, without whose blessing there 
could be no burial. 



CHAPTER XXIII 

MARK TWAIN'S LOVE OF COLOUR IN ALL 
COSTUMING 




HE public thinks of Mark Twain as 
being the apostle of white during the 
last years of his life, but those who 
knew him well recall his delightfully original 
way of expressing an intense love for bright 
colours. This brings to mind a week-end at 
Mark Twain's beautiful Italian villa in Read- 
ing, Connecticut, when, one night during din- 
ner, he held forth on the compelling fascination 
of colours and the American Indian's superior 
judgment in wearing them. After a lengthy 
elaboration not to say exaggeration of his 
theme, he ended by declaring in uncompromis- 
ing terms, that colour, and plenty of it, crimson 
and yellow and blue, wrapped around man, 
as well as woman, was an obligation shirked 
by humanity. It was all put as only Mark 
Twain could have put it, with that serious vein 

showing through broad humour. This quality 

276 



PLATE XXIX 



277 



One of the 1917 silhouettes. 

Naturally, since woman to-day dresses for her occupa- 
tion work or play the characteristic silhouettes are 
many. 

This one is reproduced to illustrate our point that out- 
line can be affected by the smallest detail. 

The sketch is by Elisabeth Searcy. 



278 




Drawn from Life by Elisabeth Searcy 

A Modern Silhouette 
Tailor-made 



COLOUR IN ALL COSTUMING 281 

combined with an unmatched originality, made 
every moment passed in his company a memory 
to treasure. It was not alone his theme, but 
how he dealt with it, that fascinated one. 

Mark Twain was elemental and at the same 
time a great artist, the embodiment of ex- 
treme contradictions, and his flair for gay 
colour was one proof of his elemental strain. 
We laughed that night as he made word pic- 
tures of how men and women should dress. 
Next morning, toward noon, on looking out 
of a window, we saw standing in the middle 
of the driveway a figure wrapped in crimson 
silk, his white hair flying in the wind, while 
smoke from a pipe encircled his head. Yes, 
it was Mark Twain, who in the midst of his 
writing, had been suddenly struck with the 
thought that the road needed mending, and 
had gone out to have another look at it! It 
was a blustering day in Spring, and cold, so 
one of the household was sent to persuade 
him to come in. We can see him now, return- 
ing reluctantly, wind-blown and vehement, 
gesticulating, and stopping every few steps to 
express his opinion of the men who had made 



282 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

that road! The flaming red silk robe he wore 
was one his daughter had brought him from 
Liberty's, in London, and he adored it. Still 
wrapped in it, and seemingly unconscious of 
his unusual appearance, he joined us on the 
balcony, to resume a conversation of the night 
before. 

The red-robed figure seated itself in a wicker 
chair and berated the idea that mortal man 
ever could be generous, act without selfish 
motives. With the greatest reverence in his 
tone, sitting there in his whimsical costume of 
bright red silk, at high noon, an immaculate 
French butler waiting at the door to announce 
lunch, Mark Twain concluded an analysis of 
modern religion with " why the God / be- 
lieve in is too busy spinning spheres to have 
time to listen to human prayers." 

How often his words have been in our mind 
since war has shaken our planet. 




CHAPTER XXIV 

THE ARTIST AND HIS COSTUME 

|HE world has the habit of deriding 
that which it does not understand. 
It is the most primitive way of bol- 
stering one's limitations. How often the 
woman or man with a God-given sense of the 
beautiful, the fitting, harmony between costume 
and setting, is described as poseur or poseuse 
by those who lack the same instinct. In a 
sense, of course, everything man does, beyond 
obeying the rudimentary instincts of the sav- 
age, is an affectation, and it is not possible to 
claim that even our contemporary costuming 
of man or woman always has raison d'etre. 

We accept as the natural, unaffected raiment 
for woman and man that which custom has 
taught us to recognise as appropriate, with or 
without reason for being. For example, the 
tall, shiny, inflexible silk hat of man, and the 
tortuous high French heels of woman are in 
themselves neither beautiful, fitting, nor made 

283 



284 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

to meet the special demands of any setting or 
circumstance. Both hat and heels are fashions, 
unbeautiful and uncomfortable, but to the eye 
of man to-day serve as insignia of formal dress, 
decreed by society. 

The artist nature has always assumed poetic 
license in the matter of dress, and as a rule 
defied custom, to follow an inborn feeling for 
beauty. That much-maligned short velvet coat 
and soft loose tie of the painter or writer, 
happen to have a most decided ralson d'etre; 
they represent comfort, convenience, and in the 
case of the velvet coat, satisfy a sensitiveness 
to texture, incomprehensible to other natures. 
As for the long hair of some artists, it can be 
a pose, but it has in many cases been absorption 
in work, or poverty the actual lack of money 
for the conventional haircut. In cities we con- 
sider long hair on a man as effeminate, an in- 
dication of physical weakness, but the Russian 
peasant, most sturdy of individuals, wears his 
hair long, and so do many others among ex- 
tremely primitive masculine types, who live 
their lives beyond the reach of Fashion and 
barbers. 



THE ARTIST AND HIS COSTUME 285 

The short hair of the sincere woman artist 
is to save time at the toilette. 

There is always a limited number of men 
and women who, in ordinary acts of life, re- 
spond to texture, colour or line, as others do to 
music or scenery, and to be at their best in 
life, must dress their parts as they feel them, 

Japanese actors who play the parts of women, 
dress like women off the stage, and live the 
lives of women as nearly as possible, in order 
to acquire the feeling for women's garments; 
they train their bodies to the proper feminine 
carriage, counting upon this to perfect their 
interpretations. 

The woman who rides, hunts, shoots, fishes, 
sails her own boat, paddles, golfs and plays 
tennis, is very apt to look more at home in 
habit, tweeds and flannels, than she does in 
strictly feminine attire; the muscles she has 
acquired in legs and arms, from violent exercise, 
give an actual, not an assumed, stride and a 
swing to the upper body. In sports clothes, 
or severely tailored costume, this woman is at 
her best. Most trying for her will be demi- 
toilette (house gowns). She is beautiful at 



286 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

night because a certain balance, dignity and 
grace are lent her by the decolletage and train 
of a dinner or ball gown. English women who 
are devotees of sport, demonstrate the above 
fact over and over again. 

While on the subject of responsiveness to 
texture and colour we would remind the reader 
that Richard Wagner hung the room in which 
he worked at his operas with bright silks, for 
the art stimulus he got from colour, and it is 
a well-known fact that he derived great pleas- 
ure from wearing dressing gowns and other 
garments made from rich materials. 

Clyde Fitch, our American playwright, when 
in his home, often wore velvet or brocaded 
silks. They were more sympathetic to his 
artist nature, more in accord with his fond- 
ness for wearing jewelled studs, buttons, scarf- 
pins. In his town and country houses the main 
scheme, leading features and every smallest de- 
tail were the result of Clyde Fitch's personal 
taste and effort, and he, more than most men 
and women, appreciated what a blot an inartis- 
tic human being can be on a room which of it- 
self is a work of art. 



PLATE XXX 



287 



Souvenirs of an artist designer's unique establishment, 
in spirit and accomplishment vrai Parisienne. Notice the 
long cape in the style of 1825. 

Tappe himself will tell you that all periods have had 
their beautiful lines and colours ; their interesting details ; 
that to find beauty one must first have the feeling for it; 
that if one is not born with this subtle instinct, there are 
manifold opportunities for cultivating it. 

His claim is the same as that made in our Art of Interior 
Decoration; the connoisseur is one who has passed through 
the schooling to be acquired only by contact with master- 
pieces, those treasures sifted by time and preserved for 
our education, in great art collections. 

Tappe emphasises the necessity of knowing the back- 
ground for a costume before planning it ; the value of line 
in the physique beneath the materials; the interest to be 
woven into a woman's costume when her type is recog- 
nised, and the modern insistence on appropriateness that 
is, the simple gown and close hat for the car, vivid colours 
for field sports or beach ; a large fan for the woman who 
is mistress of sweeping lines, etc., etc. 

Tappe is absolutely French in his insistence upon the 
possible eloquence of line; a single flower well poised 
and the chic which is dependent upon how a hat or gown 
is put on. We have heard him say : " No, I will not claim 
the hat in that photograph, though I made it, because it is 
mal pose/' 




Sketched for "Woman as Decoration" by Thelma Cudlipp 

Tappe's Creations 



THE ARTIST AND HIS COSTUME 291 

In England, and far more so in America, 
men are put down as effeminate who wear 
jewelry to any marked extent. But no less a 
person than King Edward VII always wore 
a chain bangle on his arm, and one might cite 
countless men of the Continent as thoroughly 
masculine Spaniards in particular who wear 
as many jewelled rings as women. Apropos of 
this, a famous topaz, worn as a ring for years 
by a distinguished Spaniard was recently in- 
herited by a relation in America a woman. 
The stone was of such importance as a gem, 
that a record was kept of its passing from 
France into America. As a man's ring it was 
impressive and the setting such as to do it 
honour, but being a man's ring, it was too heavy 
for a woman's use. A pendant was made of 
the stone and a setting given it which turned 
out to be too trifling in character. The con- 
sequence was, the stone lost in value as a 
Rubens' canvas would, if placed in an art 
nouveau frame. 

Whether it is a precious stone, a valued paint- 
ing or a woman's costume the effect produced 
depends upon the character of its setting. 




CHAPTER XXV 

IDIOSYNCRASIES IN COSTUME 

.SHIONS in dress as in manners, 
religion, art, literature and drama, 
are all powerful because they seize 
upon the public mind. 

The Chelsea group of revolutionary artists 
in New York doubtless see, perhaps but 
dimly, the same star that led Goethe and Schil- 
ler on, in the storm and stress period of their 
time. We smile now as we recall how Schiller 
stood on the street corners of Leipzig, wear- 
ing a dressing-gown by day to defy custom; 
but the youth of Athens did the same in the 
last days of Greece. In fact then the darlings 
of the gilded world struck attitudes of abandon 
in order to look like the Spartans. They re- 
fused to cut their hair and they would not wash 
their hands, and even boasted of their ragged 
clothes after fist fights in the streets. Yes, the 

gentlemen did this. 

292 



IDIOSYNCRASIES IN COSTUME 293 

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries there 
was a cult that wore furs in Summer and thin 
clothes in Winter, to prove that love made 
them strong enough to resist the elements! 
You will recall the Euphuists of England, the 
Precieuses of France and the Illuminati of the 
eighteenth century, as well as Les Merveilleux 
and Les Encroyables. The rich during the 
Renaissance were great and wise collectors but 
some followed the fashion for collecting manu- 
scripts even when unable to read them. It is 
interesting to find that in the fourth and fifth 
centuries it was fashionable to be literary. 
Those with means for existence without labour, 
wrote for their own edification, copying the 
style of the ancient poets and philosophers. 

As early as the fifteenth and sixteenth cen- 
turies Venetian women were shown the Paris 
fashions each Ascension Day on life-size dolls, 
displayed by an enterprising importer. 

It is true that fashions come and go, not 
only in dress, but how one should sit, stand, 
and walk; how use the hands and feet and eyes. 
To squint was once deemed a modest act. 
Women of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries 



2 9 4 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

stood with their abdomens out, and so did some 
in 1916! There are also fashions in singing 
and speaking. 

The poses in portraits express much. Com- 
pare the exactly prim Copley miss, with a 
recent portrait by Cecilia Beaux of a young 
girl seated, with dainty satin-covered feet out- 
stretched to full extent of the limbs, in casual 
impertinence, our age! 

To return to the sixteenth century, it is 
worthy of note that some Venetian belles wore 
patines that is, shoes with blocks of wood, 
sometimes two feet high, fastened to the soles. 
They could not move without a maid each 
side! As it was an age when elemental pas- 
sions were " good form," jealous husbands are 
blamed for these! 

In the seventeenth century the idle dancing 
youth of to-day had his prototype in the Cava- 
lier Servente, who hovered at his lady's side, 
affecting extravagant and effeminate manners. 

The corrupt morals of the sixteenth century 
followed in the wake of social intercourse by 
travel, literature, art and styles for costumes. 

Mme. Recamier, the exquisite embodiment 



IDIOSYNCRASIES IN COSTUME 295 

of the Directoire style as depicted by David in 
his famous portrait of her, scandalised London 
by appearing in public, clad in transparent 
Greek draperies and scarfs. Later Mme. 
Jerome Bonaparte, a Baltimore belle, quite 
upset Philadelphia by repeating Mme. Re- 
camier's experiment in that city of brotherly 
love! We are also told on good authority 
that one could have held Madame's wedding 
gown in the palm of the hand. 

Victorian hoops for public conveyances, 
paper-soled slippers in snow-drifts, wigs im- 
mense and heavy with powder, hair-oil and fur- 
belows, hour-glass waist lines producing the 
" vapours " fortunately are no more. 

Taken by and large, we of the year 1917 
seem to have reached the point where woman's 
psychology demands of dress fitness for each 
occasion, that she may give herself to her task 
without a material handicap. May the good 
work in this direction continue, as the pano- 
rama of costumes for women moves on down 
the ages that are to come. 




CHAPTER XXVI 

NATIONALITY IN COSTUME 

|HEN seen in perspective, the cos- 
tumes of various periods, as well as 
the architecture, interior decoration 
and furnishings of the homes of men appear 
as distinct types, though to the man or woman 
of any particular period the variations of the 
type are bewildering and misleading. It is the 
same in physical types; when visiting for the 
first time a foreign land one is immediately 
struck by a national cast of feature, English, 
French, American, Russian, etc. But if we 
remain in the country for any length of time, 
the differences between individuals impress us 
and we lose track of those features and char- 
acteristics the nation possesses in common. To- 
day, if asked what outline, materials and colour 
schemes characterise our fashions, some would 
say that almost anything in the way of line, 

materials and colour were worn. There is, 

296 



PLATE XXXI 



297 



Costume of a Red Cross Nurse, worn while working in 
a French war hospital, by Miss Elsie de Wolfe, of New 
York. An example of woman costumed so as to be most 
efficient for the work in hand. 

Miss de Wolfe's name has become synonymous with 
interior decoration, throughout the length and breadth of 
our land, but she established a reputation as one of the 
best-dressed women in America, long before she left the 
stage to professionally decorate homes. She has done an 
immeasurable amount toward moulding the good taste 
of America in several fields. At present her energies are 
in part devoted to disseminating information concerning 
a cure for burns, one of the many discoveries resulting 
from the exigencies of the present devastating war. 




Miss Elsie de Wolfe in 
Costume of Red Cross Nurse 



NATIONALITY IN COSTUME 301 

however, always an epoch type, and while more 
than ever before the law of appropriateness 
has dictated a certain silhouette for each occa- 
sion, each occupation, when recorded in cos- 
tume books of the future we will be recognised 
as a distinct phase; as distinct as the Gothic, 
Elizabethan, Empire or Victorian period. 

As we have said, in studying the history of 
woman decorative, one finds two widely sep- 
arated aspects of the subject, which must be 
considered in turn. There is the classifying 
of woman's apparel which comes under the 
head of European dress, woman's costume 
affected by cosmopolitan influences; costumes 
worn by that part of humanity which is in 
close intercommunication and reflecting the 
ebb and flow of currents political, geograph- 
ical and artistic. Then we have quite another 
field for study, that of national costumes, by 
which we mean costumes peculiar to some 
one nation and worn by its men and women 
century after century. 

It is interesting as well as depressing for 
the student of national characteristics to see 
the picturesque distinguishing lines and colours 






302 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

gradually disappear as railroads, steamboats 
and electric trolleys penetrate remote districts. 
With any influx of curious strangers there 
comes in time, often all too quickly, a regret- 
table self-consciousness, which is followed at 
first by an awkward imitation of the cosmo- 
politan garb. 

We recall our experience in Hungary. Hav- 
ing been advised to visit the peasant villages 
and farms lying out on the piistas (plains of 
southern Hungary) if we would see the veri- 
table national costumes, we set out hopefully 
with letters of introduction from a minister 
of education in Buda Pest, directed to mayors 
of Magyar villages. One of these planned a 
visit to a local celebrity, a Magyar farmer, 
very old, very prosperous, rich in herds of 
horses, sheep and magnificent Hungarian oxen, 
large, white and with almost straight, spread- 
ing horns, like the oxen of the ancient Greeks. 
There we met a man of the old school, nearly 
eighty, who had never in his life slept under 
cover, his duty being to guard his flocks and 
herds by night as well as day, though he had 
amassed what was for his station in life, a 



NATIONALITY IN COSTUME 303 

great fortune. He had never been seen in any- 
thing but the national costume, the same as 
worn in his part of the world for several hun- 
dred years. And so we went to see him in his 
home. We were all expectation! You can 
imagine our disappointment, when, upon ar- 
rival, we found our host awaiting us, pain- 
fully attired in the ordinary dark cloth coat 
and trousers of the modern farmer the world 
over. He had donned the ugly things in our 
honour, taking an hour to make his toilet, as 
we were secretly informed by one of the house- 
hold. We tell this to show how one must per- 
severe in the pursuit of artistic data. This was 
the same occasion cited in The Art of In- 
terior Decoration, when the highly decorative 
peasant tableware was banished by the women 
in the house, to make room, again in our 
honour, for plain white ironstone china. 

The feeling for line accredited to the French 
woman is equally the birthright of the Magyar 
woman and man. One sees it in the dash of 
the court beauty who can carry off a mass of 
jewels, barbaric in splendour, where the average 
European or American would feel a Christmas 



3 o 4 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

tree in the same. And no man in Europe wears 
his uniform as the Hungarian officer of hus- 
sars does; the astrachan-trimmed short coat, 
slung over one shoulder, cap trimmed with fur, 
on the side of his head, and skin-tight trousers 
inside of faultless, spurred boots reaching to 
the knees. One can go so far as to say there 
is something decorative in the very tempera- 
ment of Hungarian women, a fiery abandon, 
which makes line in a subtle way quite apart 
from the line of costume. This quality is also 
possessed by the Spanish woman, and developed 
to a remarkable degree in the professional 
Spanish dancer. The Gipsy woman has it 
too, she brought it with her from Asia, as the 
Magyar's forebears did. 

Speaking of the Magyar, nothing so per- 
fectly expresses the national temperament as 
the czardas that peasant dance which begins 
with calm, stately repression, and ends in a 
mad ecstasy of expression, the rapid crescendo, 
the whirl, ending when the man seizes his 
partner and flings her high in the air. Watch 
the flash of the eyes and see that this is gen- 
uine temperament, not acting, but something 



NATIONALITY IN COSTUME 305 

inherent in the blood. The crude colour of the 
national costume and the sharp contrast in the 
folk music are equally expressions of national 
character, the various art expressions of which 
open up countless enticing vistas. 

The contemplation of some of these vistas 
leads one to the conclusion that woman deco- 
rative is so, either as an artist (that is, in the 
mastery of the science of line and colour, more 
or less under the control of passing fashion), 
or in the abandonment to the impulse of an 
untutored, unconscious, child of nature. Both 
can be beautiful; the art which is so great as 
to conceal conscious effort by creating the 
illusion of spontaneity, and the natural uncon- 
scious grace of the human being in youth or in 
the primitive state. 




CHAPTER XXVII 

MODELS 

N historical interest attaches to fash- 
ions in women's costuming, which the 
practised eye is quick to distinguish, 
but not always that of the novice. Of course 
the most casual and indifferent of mortals 
recognises the fact when woman's hat follows 
the lines of the French officer's cap, or her 
coat reproduces the Cossack's, with even a feint 
at his cartridge belt; but such echoes of the 
war are too obvious to call for comment. 

It is one of the missions of art to make 
subtle the obvious, and a distinguished example 
of this, which will illustrate our theme, his- 
tory mirrored by dress, was seen recently. One 
of the most famous among the great couturieres 
of Paris, who has opened a New York branch 
within two years, having just arrived with her 
Spring and Summer models, was showing them 

to an appreciative woman, a patron of many 

306 



PLATE XXXII 



307 



Madame Geraldine Farrar as Carmen. 

In each of the three presentations of Madame Farrar 
we have given her in character, as suggestions for stage 
costumes or costume balls. (By courtesy of Vanity Fair.) 




6. -5 

$S 

ll 



MODELS 311 

years. It is not an exaggeration to say that in 
all that procession of costumes for cool days 
or hot, ball-room, salon, boudoir or lawn, not 
one was banal, not one false in line or its colour- 
scheme. Whether the style was Classic Greek, 
Mediaeval or Empire (these prevail), one felt 
the result, first of an artist's instinct, then a 
deep knowledge of the pictorial records of 
periods in dress, and to crown all, that con- 
viction of the real artist, which gives both 
courage and discretion in moulding textiles, 
the output of modern genius, to the purest 
classic lines. For example, one reads in every 
current fashion sheet that beads are in vogue 
as garniture for dresses. So they are, but note 
how your French woman treats them. Whether 
they are of jet, steel, pearl or crystal, she 
presses them into service as so much colour, 
massing them so that one is conscious only of 
a shimmering, clinging, wrapped-toga effect, 
a la Grecque, beneath the skirt and bodice of 
which every line and curve of the woman's 
form is seen. Evidently some, at least, are to 
be gleaming Tanagras. Even a dark-blue 
serge, for the motor, shopping or train, had 



3 i2 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

from hips to the bust parallel lines of very 
small tube-like jet beads, sewn so close to- 
gether that the effect was that of a shirt of 
mail. 

The use of notes of vivid colour caught the 
eye. In one case, on a black satin afternoon 
gown, a tiny nosegay of forget-me-not blue, 
rose-pink and jessamine-white, was made to 
decorate the one large patch-pocket on the 
skirt and a lapel of the sleeveless satin coat. 
Again on a dinner-dress of black Chantilly 
lace, over white chiffon (Empire lines), a very 
small, deep pinkish-red rose had a white rose- 
bud bound close to it with a bit of blue ribbon. 
This was placed under the bertha of cobweb 
lace, and demurely in the middle of the short- 
waisted bodice. Again a robe d'interior of 
white satin charmeuse, had a sleeveless coat 
of blue, reaching to knees, and a dashing bias 
sash of pinkish-red, twice round the waist, with 
its long ends reaching to skirt hem and heavily 
weighted. 

Not at once, but only gradually, did it dawn 
upon us that most of the gowns bore, in some 
shade or form, the tricolour of France! 




CHAPTER XXVIII 

WOMAN COSTUMED FOR HER WAR JOB 

VERY now and then a sex war is 



predicted, and sometimes started, 
usually by woman, though some pre- 
dicted that when the present European war is 
over and the men come home to their civilian 
tasks, now being carried on by women, man is 
going to take the initiative, in the sex conflict. 
We doubt it. Without deliberate design to 
prove this point, that a complete collabora- 
tion of the sexes has always made the wheels 
of the universe revolve, many of the illustrations 
studied showed woman with man as decoration, 
in Ancient Egypt, Greece, and during later 
periods. 

The Legend of Life tells us that man can 
not live alone, hence woman; and the Pageant 
of Life shows that she has played opposite 
with consistency and success throughout the 
ages. 

The Sunday issue of the Philadelphia Public 

313 



3 H WOMAN AS DECORATION 

Ledger for March 25, 1917, has a headline, 
" Trousers vs. Skirts," and, continues Margaret 
Davies, the author of the article: 

" This war will change all things for Euro- 
pean women. Military service, of a sort, has 
come for them in both France and England, 
where they are replacing men employed in 
clerical and other non-combatant departments, 
including motor driving. The moment this 
was decided upon in England, it was found 
that 30,000 men would be released for actual 
fighting, with prospects of the release of more 
than 200,000 more. What the French demand 
will be is not known as I write, but it will 
equal that of England. 

" How will these women dress? Will they 
be given military uniforms short of skirt or 
even skirtless? Of course they won't; but the 
world on this side of the ocean would not gasp 
should this be done. War industry already 
has worked a revolution. 

" Study the pictures which accompany this 
article. They are a new kind of women's 
' fashion pictures ' ; they are photographs of 
women dressed as European circumstances now 
compel them to dress. Note the trousers, like 
a Turkish woman's, of the French girl muni- 



COSTUMED FOR HER WAR JOB 315 

tions workers. Thousands of girls here in 
France are working in such trousers. Note the 
smart liveries of the girls who have taken the 
places of male carriage starters, mechanics and 
elevator operators, at a great London shop. 
They are very natty, aren't they? Almost like 
costumes from a comic opera. Well, they are 
not operatic costumes. They are every-day 
working liveries. Girls wear them in the most 
mixed London crowds wear them because the 
man-shortage makes it necessary for these girls 
to do work which skirts do not fit. All French 
trams and buses have * conductresses.' 

" The coming of women cabmen in London 
is inevitable indeed, it already has begun. In 
Paris they have been established sparsely for 
some time and have done well, but they have 
not been used on taxis, only on the horse cabs. 

" I have spent most of my time in Paris for 
some months now, and have ridden behind 
women drivers frequently. They drive care- 
fully and well and are much kinder to their 
horses than the old, red-faced, brutal French 
cochers are. I like them. They have a won- 
derful command of language, not always en- 
tirely or even partially polite, but they are 
accommodating and less greedy for tips than 
male drivers. 

" At Self ridge's great store the largest and 



3i6 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

most progressive in London, operated on Chi- 
cago lines skirtless maidens are not rare 
enough to attract undue attention. The first to 
be seen there, indeed, is not in the store at 
all, but on the sidewalk, outside of it, engaged 
in the gentle art of directing customers to and 
from their cars and cabs and incidentally keep- 
ing the chauffeurs in order. 

"An extremely pretty girl she is, too, with 
her frock-coat coming to her knees, her top- 
boots coming to the coat, and now and then, 
when the wind blows, a glimpse of loose 
knickers. She tells me that she's never had 
a man stare at her since she appeared in the 
new livery, although women have been curious 
about it and even critical of it. Women have 
done all the staring to which she has been 
subjected. 

"Within the store, many girls engaged in 
various special employments, are dressed con- 
veniently for their work, in perfectly frank 
trousers. Among these are the girls who 
operate the elevators. There is no compromise 
about it. These girls wear absolutely trousers 
every working hour of every working day in 
a great public store, in a great crowded city, 
rubbing elbows (even touching trousered knees, 
inevitably) with hundreds of men daily. 

" And they like it. They work better in the 



PLATE XXXIII 



317 



Madame Geraldine Farrar. The value of line was 
admirably illustrated in the opera " Madame Butterfly " 
as seen this winter at the Metropolitan Opera House. 
Have you chanced to ask yourself why the outline of 
the individual members of the chorus was so lacking 
in charm, and Madame Farrar's so delightful? The 
great point is that in putting on her kimono, Madame 
Farrar kept in mind the characteristic silhouette of the 
Japanese woman as shown in Japanese art; then she made 
a picture of herself, and one in harmony with her Japanese 
setting. Which brings us back to the keynote of our book 
Woman as Decoration beautiful Line. 








Sketched for "Woman as Decoration" by Thelma Cudlipp 

Mme. Geraldine Farrar in 
Japanese Costume as Ma- 
dame Butterfly 



COSTUMED FOR HER WAR JOB 321 

new uniforms than they used to in skirts and 
are less weary at each day's end. And no- 
body worries them at all. There has not been 
the faintest suspicion of an insult or an advance 
from any one of the thousands of men and 
boys of all classes whom they have ridden with 
upon their ' lifts,' sometimes in dense crowds, 
sometimes in an involuntary tete-a-tete. 

" Other employments which girls follow and 
dress for bifurcatedly in this great and pro- 
gressive store are more astonishing than the 
operation of elevators. A charming young 
plumber had made no compromise whatever 
with tradition. She was in overalls like boy 
plumbers wear, except that her trousers were 
not tight, but they were well fitted. A little 
cap of the same material as the suit, com- 
pleted her jaunty and attractive costume. And 
cap and suit were professionally stained, too, 
with oil and things like that, while her small 
hands showed the grime of an honest day's 
competent, hard work. 

" The coming summer will see an immense 
amount of England's farming done by women 
and, I think, well done. Organisations already 
are under way whereby women propose to help 
decrease the food shortage by intelligent in- 
crease of the chicken and egg supply, and this 
is being so well planned that undoubtedly it 



322 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

will succeed. Eggs and chickens will be cheap 
in England ere the summer ends. 

" I have met three ex-stenographers who now 
are at hard work, two of them in munition 
factories (making military engines of death) 
and one of them on a farm. I asked them how 
they liked the change. 

" ' I should hate to have to go back to work 
in the old long skirts,' one replied. ' I should 
hate to go back to the old days of relying upon 
some one else for everything that really mat- 
ters. But well, I wish the war would end 
and I hope the casualty lists of fine young men 
will not grow longer, day by day, as Spring 
approaches, although everybody says they will.' 

"Mrs. John Bull takes girls in pantaloons 
quite calmly and approvingly, now that she 
has learned that if there are enough of them, 
dad and the boys will pay no more attention to 
them in trousers than they would pay to them 
in skirts." 

We have preferred to quote the exact word- 
ing of the original article, for the reason that 
while the facts are familiar to most of us, the 
manner of putting them could not, to our mind, 
be more graphic. Some day, when the Wateaus 
of the future are painting the court ladies who 



COSTUMED FOR HER WAR JOB 323 

again dance pavanes in sunlit glades, wearing 
wigs and crinoline, such data will amuse. 

That the women of Finland make worthy 
members of their parliament does not prove 
anything outside of Finland. That the exi- 
gencies of the present hour in England have 
made women equal to every task of men so far 
entrusted to them, proves much for England. 
Women, like men, have untold, untried abilities 
within them, women and men alike are mar- 
vellous under fire capable of development in 
every direction. What human nature has done 
it can do again, and infinitely more under the 
pressure of necessity which opens up brain 
cells, steels the heart, hardens the muscles, and 
like magic fire, licks up the dross of humanity, 
aimlessly floating on the surface of life, await- 
ing a leader to melt and mould it at Fate's will 
into clearly defined personalities, ready to serve. 
This point has been magnificently proved by 
the war now waging in Europe. 

Let us repeat; that from the beginning 
the story of woman's costuming proves her 
many-sidedness, the inexhaustible stock of her 
latent qualities which, like man's, await the call 
of the hour. 




IN CONCLUSION 

[HE foregoing chapters have aimed at 
showing the decorative value of 
woman's costume as seen in the art 
of Egypt, Greece, Gothic Europe, Europe of 
the Renaissance and during the seventeenth, 
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. To prove 
the point that woman is a telling note in the in- 
terior decoration of to-day, the vital spark in 
any setting, we have not dwelt upon the fash- 
ions so much as decorative line, colour-scheme 
and fitness for the occasion. 

It is costume associated with caste which 
interests us more than folk costume. We have 
shown that it is the modern insistence on 
efficiency that has led to appropriate dress 
for work and recreation, and that our idea of 
the chic and the beautiful in costume is 
based on appropriateness. Also we have shown 
that line in costumes is in part the result of 

324 



IN CONCLUSION 325 

one's " form " the absolute control of the body, 
its " carriage," poise of the head, action of 
legs, arms, hands and feet, and that form 
means successful effort in any direction, because 
through it the mind may control the physical 
medium. 

It is the woman who knows what she should 
wear, what she can wear and how to wear it, 
who is most efficient in whatever she gives her 
mind to. She it is who will expend the least 
time, strength and money on her appearance, 
and be the first to report for duty in connection 
with the next obligation in the business of life. 

Therefore let us keep in mind a few rules 
for the perfect costuming of woman: 

Appropriateness for each occasion so as to 
get efficiency, or be as decorative as possible. 

Outline. Fashion in silhouette adapted to 
your own type. 

Background. Your setting. 

Colour scheme. Fashionable colours chosen 
and combined to express your personality as 
well as to harmonise with the tone of setting, or, 
if preferred, to be an agreeable contrast to it. 

Detail. Trimming with raison d'etre, not 
meaningless superfluities. 



326 WOMAN AS DECORATION 

It is, of course, understood that the attain- 
ment of beauty in the costuming of woman is 
our aim when stating and applying the fore- 
going principles. 

The art of interior decoration and the art 
of costuming woman are occasionally centred 
in the same individual, but not often. Some 
of the most perfectly dressed women, models 
for their less gifted sisters, are not only igno- 
rant as to the art of setting their stage, but 
oblivious of the fact that it may need setting. 

Remember, that while an inartistic room, 
confused as to line and colour-scheme can abso- 
lutely destroy the effect of a perfect gown, an 
inartistic, though costly gown ran likewise be 
a blot on a perfect room. 



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