Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Lace Neckline

When I was taking my 19th Century class and my Modern art class at BYU, I thought it was fun to look at the styles of clothes that women were wearing in art. There are so many fun details that you can see in the beautiful textiles that are depicted in 19th century, in particular. One style that always caught my eye were high lace necklines. This only really caught my eye cause I thought it was funny that I owned a shirt very similar to it and that the style was kinda popular now, and you can see in the photo below that I am wearing it.  IMG_2228 Alfred Stevens in one of my favorite artists of the 19th century. He paints beautiful images of women and his depiction of textiles is dazzling.Alfred Stevens painting The Reader, C.1860 . This beautiful woman sitting reading her book dawns an intricate lace neckline with the beautiful puff sleeve.  7e1ae67492b5653b6de7d0b842dfc273--alfred-stevens-woman-reading You can see how much current fashion has drawn from these old styles, especially when you compare Stevens' painting, La Femme la Harpe, with this Rebecca Taylor shirt. La-Femme-la-Harpe-Alfred-Stevens-oil-painting-1 217100b101_milk_lifestyle Or, look at these two artworks from the early 1900s. Women Walking on the Beach  and  Clotilde en la playa by Joaquin Soralla. The style of painting here is different, and there is gap in time between this painting and the one made by Alfred Stevens, but there is still this similar lace neckline style.  'Paseo a Orillas del Mar'Joaquin_Sorolla_-_Clotilde_en_la_playa You can still see a similarity between my blouse and the style of neckline the dresses have in Soralla's paintings. Facetune_27-06-2018-21-08-58Facetune_27-06-2018-21-18-52 It is so interesting to see how styles are constantly repeated and remade over time. We can all see that happening with the repetition of Mom jeans from the 90s, and it is fun to see that fashion pulls influence from all the way back to the 19th century. I love fashion and the way it is constantly revamping the old, and then also creating new beautiful styles as well. xoxo Caroline

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Clogs // Sabots


Recently, I have started to wear these cute swedish hasbeens that I purchased when they had a sale (if you ever want swedish hasbeens, I recommend checking out their direct website instead of shopping through anthro or free people), and when I started wearing them I started to wonder what the origins of clogs are. I could easily guess that they would be something more Northern Europe, and figured it was Dutch, but I wasn’t sure. So I started to research them and was pleased with what I found.


  So --- this cute shoe that I am wearing in these photos didn’t look this way when it first started out (as you probably figured), and was covered entirely in wood instead of the comfortable leather I have now. Clogs started to be worn by men and women in the 1300s (wow!) and appears that clogs originated in Holland (so I was right!), but you can never be totally certain if that is the truth when you are getting information from the 1300s.

painted clog.jpg

Anyways, these shoes that I now wear because they are cute and super comfortable, were originally used by peasants. They were affordable to make, durable, comfortable, and kept your feet protected from various types of weather. Clogs also originally were painted with beautiful designs that were unique to the village they came from (as you can see above), and they were eventually used throughout Europe within the working classes. Even though they were rather convenient shoes, the wealthier people in society would not wear them because they were associated with the lower class - that part is funny when you realize that the clogs I am wearing in this photo are marketed at 239 dollars.

wooden shoes boucher

I have two paintings to share from France before and during the French Revolution that show a depiction of clogs in art. In the first painting, by Francois Boucher, The Wooden Shoes - Les sabots (1768). This scene depicts two lovers sitting in the forest and the man’s wooden clogs are shown in the foreground. This painting is before the French Revolution,  and the artist was often commissioned by the King of France. Boucher was known for idealizing pastoral landscapes and people of the lower classes. In this picture, you can tell that the man is from the working class because he wears clogs, but it is harder to discern the women's social status, though it seems to be above his due to her fine clothing. The way the couple is pictured idealizes the working class as well. It makes it seem like they have time to sit in the forest relaxing and eating berries - it is no wonder that Marie Antoinette had an idealized view of peasant life... Anyways, the clogs are used in this image to help aid the viewer in discerning status, but are just part of the story.

sans cullotte clogs

While in this painting, Idealized sans-culotte (1792) by Louis-Léopold Boilly, the clogs have a bigger message to send. In this painting, you are shown a man standing tall representing the important sans-culotte movement of the French Revolution. In this movement, the men chose to wear trousers instead of the fashionable silk culottes (I am actually wearing silk pants in the picture of myself, so I guess I am blending two ideas in one photo) in a statement representing a desire for  social equality, economic equality, and popular democracy. Members of the sans-culotte movement were the face of the French Revolution and often took part in the military aspects of the revolution. Clogs were part of the sans-culotte uniform and were called sabots.

Side note: “Allegedly derived from sabot, sabotage described the actions of disgruntled workers who willfully damaged workplace machinery by throwing their sabots into the works” (according to wikipedia, so the credibility isn't amazing)

Anyways, this man is part of the French Revolution and Boilly depicts him in a way to represent the poor quality of life of the French working class. The clogs themselves help Boilly show his views because the clogs symbolize being poor and part of the working class. The clogs here are more of a political statement that is important for the French Revolution at the time.


So, there ya have it. This is a small part of the history of Clogs. When I was starting to write this post, I was definitely expecting to focus more on the Northern Europe part of clog history, but I guess it just turned into mini discussion of clogs being used in France and I am happy with what I learned.  Are there any other items of clothing you have been interested in learning about? I am already starting a post on mules because those shows are everywhere in art history!

 P.S. If you know me, you know I LOOVVVVEEE tigers. Like, the only real thing on my bucket list is to touch a tiger. They are the most beautiful animals alive IMO, and I love wearing anything with a tiger on it. These silk J.Crew tiger pants are my favorite pants that I own, and basically any item that I own with a tiger on it is a major favorite. Actually while writing this post - I am wearing a tiger shirt that I got from Brandy Melville.

So there ya go. If you see any cute tiger stuff - LEMME KNOW, haha cause I am always down to add more to my collection.



Tuesday, June 12, 2018


I have always been fascinated by the history of textiles. I think it is interesting to see how different textiles have developed, and I love looking at the different ways fabric has been used in fashion and for utility purposes.  Linen has been around basically since the beginning of time. Ancient Egyptians used it to wrap up the bodies of their dead before putting them in the tomb and preserved pieces of linen from 1213 BC were discovered in 1881 in a Pharaoh's tomb. Anyways, linen obviously has a long and rich history, but today I am just going to focus on the 17th century.

haarlem linen.jpg

Ever since I took my Northern Baroque class at BYU, I had a different perspective on linen fabric. This is because we talked about linen fields in the painting above, View of Haarlem from the Dunes at Overveen (1670), by Jacob van Ruisdael. I thought it was an interesting painting because the bleaching of linen in the image was symbolic to the artist. The bleaching represented the religious cleansing of the Dutch Republic at the time. The fabric is showing the cleansing power of God as the light from the heavens washes down on it and rids it of its impurities. There is also the image of a church in the background, which furthers this idea. You might already know this, but fabric often has interesting symbolism in art.

vermeer linen.jpg

Another piece of art from this time period that shows linen (or at least is thought to be linen) is Vermeer’s painting, Young Woman with a Water Jug (1665). This painting shows a woman with a linen veil, another image that uses linen to symbolize purity. The veil of linen protects this woman's purity as it covers her face. Side note: I love looking at the colors in Dutch art, especially art by Vermeer. It is really interesting to look at the beautiful blues and yellows that Vermeer pairs together.  Linen was an important textile for the Dutch Republic and was often traded with other countries around them. The city of Haarlem for example (which is shown in the first artwork I shared), was such an important area for linen processing, that countries would often send their linen to Haarlem to be bleached - here is an excerpt I found on this topic:

“Haarlem’s linen industry benefited from experienced linen weavers who migrated from the Southern Netherlands during the Dutch Revolt. Haarlem’s hold on linen production, however, was due more to its success in linen bleaching and finishing. Not only was locally produced linen finished in Haarlem, but linen merchants from other areas of Europe sent their products to Haarlem for bleaching and finishing. As linen production moved to more rural areas as producers sought to decrease costs in the second half of the seventeenth century, Haarlem’s industry went into decline.”

So, kinda sad that the linen industry declined in Haarlem at one point, but it is interesting how they became such a powerhouse for the fabric during the rise of the Dutch Republic. If you don't know much about the Dutch Republic, you should learn more here (I know, I know, it is a wikipedia link... but sometimes that is a great place for summaries). The Dutch Republic is so interesting to read about - you would be amazed at how much more influential women were in the Dutch Republic society, and Dutch Republic's relationship with Japan is also fascinating to me.


Now, this is only a tiny part of the history of linen, but knowing it, is really interesting me. In the artworks I have shared, you can see way this simple fabric affected the Dutch. In the photos of me that I am sharing today, I am wearing two linen pieces. My cardigan is made of 100% linen, and the blouse I am wearing is a viscose and linen blend. I love these two pieces because they are neutral and lightweight in the hot summer. When I wear any of my linen clothing, I love thinking of the long rich history that this fabric holds.  

When I was taking these photos, the wind was suuuuper annoying, so you can see how my hair does not want to stay in place - so don’t pay attention to that and enjoy the clothes, haha. I hope you enjoyed this tiny excerpt on linen. I know there is much more to talk about concerning this fabric, but I don’t want to be long-winded here and maybe I will discuss it another time. 

So, when you wear your linen pieces this summer in order to stay cool, I hope you think of rich history of that fabric you are adorning yourself with. What are some fabrics that you love wearing? Is there anything that you love about linen? I would love to hear!




This is probably the one hundredth time that I have decided to create a blog and if this one doesn’t stick, I don’t think I will do one again, haha! Anyways, I have decided to dedicate this blog to the mixing of art history and fashion. Since I finished my bachelors degree in art history last year, I have really missed researching about art. So I have decided to incorporate that into my blog. I want this site to be informative and inspiring. I want to research about fashion history and then share what I have learned in relation to trends or pieces in my wardrobe that I love. I will also be sharing images of artwork, often, that relates to what I am discussing and sharing some background on that as well. What I post will not just be things I find off of wikipedia, I plan to read and research for each informative post that I make, and provide a works cited for people who want to learn more. I think it will be a really fun experience!
  To start out, I am just going to introduce myself and share an artist that inspire me. When it comes to me, I am Caroline Ferrell (pic of me above in front of a beautiful Clyfford Still painting at the LACMA), a graduate in Art History and Curatorial Studies from Brigham Young University. I currently live in Utah Valley with my husband, Michael, and our dog, Sasha. My husband currently works for an awesome tech company here and I am currently just working on this blog! Currently, we are planning our trip to Europe. We are going to France, Germany, and Austria in the end of September. I  am really excited to see the art in Paris, and we are gonna be there for part of Paris Fashion Week! This is gonna be Michael’s first trip to Europe, so I hope it will be absolutely amazing and I am sure it will. Honestly, if I could live in Europe… I would in a heartbeat! IMG_0516 I think who is inspires me is constantly changing. At the moment, I really love the work of Sonia Delaunay. Above, you can see a photo of me in front of one her piece, Portuguese Market (1915) at the MoMa. I was really excited to finally see her in NYC when I was there for grant research trip! Sonia is a talented artist and fashion designer. She was one of the first women to meld together the worlds of fashion and art and created some of the coolest pieces. She was so talented and her love for color is something that I really admire. sonia.jpg That’s kind of all you need to know about me at this point, and I imagine that more will be shared in the future! I know that there are A LOT of blogs out there, and I hope that it will be fun for you to read one that has a little bit more to offer than what I am wearing and eating each day… haha. Not that those are bad, cause I love those blogs! xoxo Caroline Chic Historique