Project Runway . . . Time Travel Edition

Four French Ladies All Duded Up.

I took the photo above with my Nikon D-80, a camera I love, but for which I do not have the correct sort of lens for this endeavor. My apologies for their blurry feet. You’ll have to take my word for it, their shoes are cute. Over on the left, underneath the cute slippers, the text says “Restoration 1815” Since this is FRENCH fashion, that would be the restoration of Napoleon. Over there on the right, it says “Restoration 1830”

It’s from my book “History of Fashion” which you don’t find out until you look at the interior that it’s

The History of Fashion 
In France

The book does have all the original color plates on very thick paper. They’re really, really vibrantly colored so I love looking through this book.

Anyway, in just 15 years, fashion changed pretty dramatically.

French Lady No. 1: Well, no, jeune fille. Awesome reticule but the flounces are a bit much for me. Not a complete fail. She’s rocking the colors: pink ribbon, pink hat, green gloves and yellow and green shawl. Sorry French Lady No 1. I will have to vote you off the runway for excessive use of flounces.


French Lady No. 2: Eglantine wears a more successful concoction. This is a prettier gown if you ask me. But come on. That gown makes her look pregnant. Or else she is. If she is, awesome maternity gown! If she’s not, that’s a fabric fail. The picture strongly suggests her scarf is attached to her head. A secret weapon, perhaps? It looks like a ribbon scarf but it’s really a lasso.


French Lady No. 3: Well. I say her name is Martine, and but what the F are those yellow things? I mean I know they’re bows, but to me they look like squirrels disguised as bows. If I were a guy, I’d be afraid of those bows. Nevertheless, lose the bows and I like this dress. The enormous sleeves will keep squirrel lovers at bay.

French Lady No. 4: Pink. That rocks. I used to hate pink but now I don’t. From the hem to the waist this frock is a major win. Above the belt? That’s a superhero costume. I am umbrella lady! Radioactive bullets shoot out of my sleeves! Also, how the hell can she possibly breathe with that belt so tight? That’s why she looks sad. Because she can’t breathe. She doesn’t have to be voted off the runway. She’ll fall off when the oxygen runs out. 3…2…1 Kablam!

You decide who wins

So, who wins the Time Travel Project Runway show? Opine in the comments.

About carolyn

Carolyn Jewel was born on a moonless night. That darkness was seared into her soul and she became an award winning and USA Today bestselling author of historical and paranormal romance. She has a very dusty car and a Master’s degree in English that proves useful at the oddest times. An avid fan of fine chocolate, finer heroines, Bollywood films, and heroism in all forms, she has two cats and a dog. Also a son. One of the cats is his.
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16 Responses to Project Runway . . . Time Travel Edition

  1. Grace Elliot says:

    Very amusing, chuckled out loud.
    Great post,
    Grace x

  2. Kat says:

    Great post and I agree mademoiselle #4’s outfit is runway ready, but
    In the words of Coco Channel, “before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one thing from your outfit.” Less is more, make it work!!!

  3. Isobel Carr says:

    I must vote for 1815. I’m simply not a fan of the over trimming and huge sleeves of the later gowns.

  4. I like the second 1815 outfit. IMHO the 1830’s were one of the most unfortunate fashion decades ever (the sleeves! the horror!), but all those flounces on the first 1815 dress would only work if the mademoiselle wearing it were, oh, about 5’10” and 115 lbs.

  5. Susan/DC says:

    Gown 1: I’m not a fan of flounces. When I read a romance about how the Ugly Duckling heroine turns into a swan and has the hero gobsmacked when he sees her in her new dress with flounces, I mentally remove the flounces, just as we know the hero will eventually remove the whole gown. At least the flounces on this gown are small and don’t come up to the hips, where few, if any, women need additional width (or maybe I’m just projecting here).

    Gown 2: Looking pregnant even when not is a hazard with Empire-waist dresses, and being slim doesn’t necessarily remove that risk (see Gwyneth Paltrow in “Emma”). You have to be very careful with your posture, especially when sitting, not to look as if a Blessed Event is imminent. Nonetheless, I love the look when properly carried off; the elegant lines of the Regency period look especially lovely when compared to the colors and excessive ornamentation of the later Victorian era.

    Gowns 3 and 4: I think you’d need to have a rib removed to look like that. I think later in the Victorian era women did just that, but the 1830s are a bit early for the “if you can’t alter the dress to fit you, then alter you to fit the dress” method. Loretta Chase’s “Last Night’s Scandal” has some pity and not-too-flattering comments about the fashion for huge sleeves in the 1830s.

    In the end, despite the critique, I vote for Gown 2, as it more nearly embodies the Chanel quote of less is more.

  6. Beth Elliott says:

    I vote for no 2 in the white gown. In a bad lot, it’s the best because it’s the simplest but would be better in muslin or something non-shiny.
    And her bosoms look a touch too much like the conical horrors worn by Madonna.
    well, if we look back at some of the things we wore and thought ourselves fashionable, we must be indulgent. The ‘French] watchwaord was obviously “more is more.”

  7. Elena Greene says:

    #1–way too many flounces. I think just a few around the hem is pretty but this is Too Much.

    #2 I like, despite the hint of baby bump.

    #3 I might like sans trimming.

    #4 is over-the-top enough that it’s kind of crazy fun.

    Susan/DC, I have heard that that thing about removing a rib is a myth. I don’t have a source either way but it seems to me that this would have been horrifically risky at the time. Though women *have* done stupid things in the name of fashion…

  8. Jane George says:

    Those are pleats, not flounces, lol. #1, 1815 gets my vote.

  9. Diane Gaston says:

    I’m with you, Jane George. I like #1.

  10. Susan/DC says:

    Thank you Elena, for the information on removing ribs. I went to snopes.com and you are correct (you have to go to the bottom of the article, after all the stuff about Cher). As the article points out, in an era with extremely high death rates from necessary operations, women were not lined up for cosmetic surgery.

    http://www.snopes.com/horrors/vanities/ribs.asp

  11. Carolyn says:

    Heh, thanks for the opinions!

    I think the 2nd 1815 gown is the winner.

    flounces, pleats, it’s still too frou-frou, but you’re right to point out what they’re called.

    I like her purse, though!

  12. Glossaria says:

    #4, Miss Pink, wins it for me. That flair! Those sleeves! That cunning bonnet! And WAY to accessorize, mademoiselle! #2 is my runner-up– I like the line (tho’ the skirt’s rather plain); she’s young, yes, but surely she could have chosen something with a *touch* more color?

  13. Jay says:

    How did you notice Lady 1 flounces? I can’t get past the rooster comb on her head. Total hat fail. However rooster comb aside I like her dress. The tiny waist on 4 well that just painful. I didn’t think it was possible to get a waist that small. Her dress is my winner after her ladies maid loosens the corset.

  14. librarypat says:

    I vote for French lady #2. She may look pregnant, but she can breath and is comfortable. I like the train effect of the dress and the embellishments around the bottom of the skirt above the hem. The feather headpiece and hair style isn’t too overdone. The dress is a bit long and could trip her up. I am not sure what the deal is with the green ribbon, but it matches the flowers/bows at the hemline.

    Except for the tight sleeves, Dress #1 is really the most comfortable of the group. Not too fitted, so you can breath and short enough so you don’t trip on your hem. The striped scarf and pink & green accessories just don’t do it for me. Forget the had, way to overdone. I could get used tho the horizontal pleats on the skirt.

  15. #2 gets my vote even with the “baby on board” look. It is simple and the lines are clean. That last one makes my ribs hurt!

  16. LOL Carolyn! You know I love this post 🙂 I also like #1, but that pinky-red color is great…

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