Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Katharina von Westphalen’s riding habit, ca.1810

Wonderful Christmas holidays helped me to gain strength and begin the long-awaited project - a new chic riding habit to the “200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo”. Of course, there is still plenty of time before , but I can’t wait, especially when there is a long free week)

The dark blue velvet Katharina von Westphalen’s riding habit is one of the most elegant empire gown I ever see. 

I’d found some information about the painter and the picture itself:
"Fréderique-Catherine de Wurtemberg (1782-1835), reine de Westphalie" in front of the castle Wilhemshôhe, by  Antoine-Jean Gros, Baron (1771-1835).  There was no clear dating,  but we can see the similar gown on the painting of  1819 “Embarquement de la Duchesse d'Angoulême à Pauillac” by Antoine-Jean Gros. So it should be the end of 1810s, I think. 
The military-inspired spencer show much taste and originality: it trimmed with golden cords, covered with ermine fur and has a wide belt with jeweled buckle decorated with golden and silver braids.  The habit skirt has a train with ermine fur and rich gold embroidery on the hem that ensured the legs were completely covered when riding side saddle.
The cap is also composed of velvet. It pays homage to male costume, but just as well adds decidedly feminine with silver and gold embroidery in the form of a crown and plume.

I'd supposed to create an exact copy of this incredible dress, but then change my mined and finally it'll change the color. 

The pattern is ready, now it is time to start the spencer)
In the following weeks I’ll have a fascinating job
with the fur (never before worked with it, so it would be fun), braiding cords and (!) many-many-many square inches of gold embroidery.

So, let the project begin, and I'll share the few years)