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Spring by Sir John Lavery

Spring is in the air! Along with pollen, dust, and musking fumes of amorous wildlife. . . More importantly it is time for the next crop of fashion trends and my twice annual shopping “spree.” Today, I unearth my signature Spring/Summer scent (Victoria’s Secret Bombshell, for the curious-minded), slowly phase my Fall “work face” into my interpretation of Ruffian’s ready-to-wear runway show make-up, begin my search for a canvas or woven purse (in either peach, yellow, violet or white), and perhaps purchase an outfit and accessory or two that is a la mode. . . . Why the quizzical look? How do you, usher in the Spring season? Below, I critiqued the incoming spring fashion trends for 2014 and how I might interpret with a Victorian twist.

Spring 2014 Trends

International Geographic: International inspirations abound! The Muse seems to dominate from African prints, draping, and styling. However, every populous continent is represented with the designers’ global interpretation.

My Perspective: I am not going to fib, I do not care for batik prints or simple geometric patterns (save for the polka dot). I much prefer the small prints or highly complex and detailed designs. I am a bit gaudy to that end. Victorians were no strangers to outside influences. The Far East held many women in awe with their scenic silk print designs on vibrant backdrops. The Russians also evoked elaborate embroidery and extensively ornamented frocks. If I dip into this trend this year, it will not be in the tribal vein.

Oxford: The famous cotton dress shirt is making a comeback, albeit in a more stylishly scandalous way. The runways show the shirt unbuttoned to the naval and tucked into a flowing skirt, or slightly elongated and worn as a micro-mini dress. Some designers displayed models having the first button completed and rest of the shirt opened up on the bottom to reveal . . . well everything between said button and top of the bottoms.

My Perspective: I do like a collared shirt. It lends formality, a dash of pretentiousness, and slight air of authority. I might follow this trend as it is the most professional and easiest to intermingle with my current wardrobe. The Victorians were known for their high ruff collars, but they were beginning to don detachable large lace lapel collars in various decades of the 19th century. I think the best Victorian interpretation of this business casual attire is modeled by the Gibson Girl and her shirtwaist.

Art Pop: Popular artists and their works are being displayed on dresses all over the runways, from Star Wars to Picasso; designers are turning toward famous painters of yesteryears to infuse and continue their cultural phenomenon.

My Perspective: Meh, too graphic and a bit ostentatious for my liking. However, if a designer ever prints Las Meninas on silk, I might reconsider. This is decidedly a modern trend. It is far too edgy and blatant for the 19th century; although, I am not entirely sure if their technology would be able to handle screen printing such elaborate scenes on to silk (there is an experiment, I would throw my hat in for). Victorians could not conceive wearing such bold details; although they were not afraid of some wild print and color pairings.

Metal: Golds and silvers for day wear! More silver than gold, this year.

My Perspective: I am all for this trend! This would mesh well with the pieces already in my closet. I lean more toward gold; since I feel silver can wash me out. Metallic hues show up in the 19th century as well, but it was definitely a faux pas to donned the effect before sunset. The metallic threads were best viewed as enchantments under flickering candlelight and hazy gas lamps. Often times, metallics were brought out for costume balls. One did not see them regularly at evening events. Back in the day, Royal Brides married in silver; hence Princess Charlotte’s wedding dress at left from 1816.

Sporty: It happens often enough that is almost a non-trend. Supposedly, this year more glamorous fashion brands are turning out sport infused styles in decidedly luxurious materials and fabrics. But of course.

My Perspective: Again, meh. Not a huge fanatic of the athletic wear-look. It is far too casual for my style. I am more uptight, remember? But casual often equates with comfort, so I can understand its appeal. The Victorians had their own “athletic” attire, which Moderns balk at by its sheer rigidity and purposely uncomfortable constraints. Yet, these wardrobes were actually a departure from a Victorian woman’s normal day wear. Anyone for a game of tennis??

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